Beyond voting, what are important ways citizens participate in conventional democratic politics?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Citizens can also run for offices or participate in campaigns. Starting at a very local level and running for council positions in small towns or school board positions in local townships are both ways citizens can get directly involved with influencing a community. Often these positions do not require great funds to run campaigns, but they certainly demand commitment. Once elected, citizens on boards or councils can establish themselves as players in the democratic decision making processes by voicing opinions, new perspectives, and concerns. Furthermore, participating in a group like this gives the opportunity to field the opinions of the people and practice representation. When the values of a community do not necessarily match a representative's it is the duty of the representative to act and decide according to the will of the people, not themselves.  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that starting on localized levels of community action and civic action can help to enhance participation in conventional democratic politics.  This might involve going to Town Hall or municipality meetings and paying attention to the actions of those in the position of power and even speaking out in public comment sessions.  At the same time, I think that being able to organize on these local levels in terms of advocating for policies that serve the public good is another way participation in conventional democratic politics can be furthered.  Additionally, I think that sitting in on school board meetings and actively taking a role in the issues that impact your community can be a way to fulfill the civic duty and responsibilities that underscore a great democracy.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Well, aside of voting we also have the right to manifest our opinions through rallies, we can organize marches in favor or against something, we can protest, we can go on strike, and we can unify groups to fight against injustice. We have the right to become members of organizations that support or is against an idea, a law, or a project. We also have the right to voice our opinions so that it may influence a voting process, and we can be a part of forums to express ideas and propose projects. In all, politics are the processes that allow us to put democracy at work, and these are some ways to do that.

 

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kybucks | eNotes Newbie

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Serve on  juries; serve in the armed forces; pay taxes; follow laws; become involved in community

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