You don't have to vote, but you do have to do something

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| March 16 2016,

00:30 am


In my very short voting history, nothing has made me prouder than helping put the first black president of the United States in office. But I didn’t vote for him because he was black. I voted for him because I truly believed in his platform. Given all the candidates put in front of me, both republican and democrat, I felt that Barack Obama was speaking my language the best. He met me where I was already at (on social media) he talked about justice for all people — not just the majority. In short, he gave me hope. But not everyone feels that way and that’s understandable. It’s nearly impossible for one single candidate to speak for the millions of voices in this country, but it is their job to try. Another Super Tuesday has come and of course that means social media is filled with passionate individuals urging you to exercise your right to vote. And although I happen to think you should too (watching Selma alone made me feel guilty for not voting in anything other than the primaries and presidential election), you definitely don’t have to. But you do have to do something. We all take up space in this country, and even if you absolutely despise politics, chances are that you have feelings about the way this country is run or the laws that are passed by states and Congress. At first glance, it might seem like the easiest way to have your opinion heard is to vote in every election you can. But that isn’t the only option, despite what Bernie Bros might say on Twitter. So hear are four ways to make your voice heard, even if you don’t plan on voting in the presidential election (or any election).

1. Go to your local city council meetings

Does your city keep approving unnecessary buildings without any solutions to things such as traffic flow or parking? Do you have an idea that you want to bounce off of others? If so, attending your city council meetings at least semi-regularly might be the right choice for you. Most meetings are open to the public and listed on the city’s homepage online. All you have to do is show up. Even if you don’t have anything to contribute to the meeting, by showing up and paying attention you’ll learn things about your city and the way government works that you didn’t before

2. If you’re a parent, get involved at your child’s school

If you find yourself wanting to do more than volunteer to make baked goods for your child’s class, it might be time to get involved in other ways. See if your child’s school has a parent teacher organization or a board that you can serve or volunteer on. If you like planning events, serve on the committee that plans school events. Get involved in ways that you are passionate about

3. Volunteer for a cause that matters to you

Money is great, but the most valuable thing we have is time. What negative thing do you feel is plaguing your city? Find a nonprofit in your area that speaks to that issue and carve out a few hours a month to volunteer there. You’ll make friends, feel good and be making a difference sans the politics

4. Run for office

So if you’re one of those people with no interest in government, this one probably isn’t for you. But if you’re not voting because you don’t think any of the candidates are good enough, why not become the candidate that is? If you feel as if the officials your city or state continues to elect aren’t doing their jobs well enough, run against them in the next election (just make sure to educate yourself on the issues and how things work first). Every elected official got their start somehow and chances are, if you disagree with how they’re running things, there are other people that feel the same. Network. Tap into those groups and create a platform that you feel will spark real change in your community
You’re not a bad person just because you don’t want to vote, but you can’t complain about the way things are if you do nothing to change them. One person can make a difference and you can be that person. There are plenty of ways to get involved, you’ve just got to be willing to put in the work.Do you plan on voting in the primaries this year? Tell me why or why not in the comments below.

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