(NC) Many of us are increasingly dismayed by the erosion of democracy. Sometimes, we don’t realize what has happened until it’s too late and that’s a little like closing the barn door after the cows have escaped.
Sometimes it can feel that we have little power, and perhaps on a large scale, that is true. But where citizens can truly have an impact is at the grassroots level, when voting for local representatives.
Yet turnout at municipal elections is rarely above 50 per cent, much lower than at provincial or federal levels. So here are some ways to get involved and make a difference:
- Find out who your local alder(wo)man or councillor is and find out how to get in touch with them.
- Attend local council meetings in order to know what decisions are being made. You can have an impact because these actions usually affect you directly.
- Join a local community group — there are many that advocate everything from saving green spaces to feeding the hungry. Then push local politicians to support your work.
- During an election year (municipal elections are held every four years in the fall) get involved in a campaign and support a candidate whose ideas align with yours. You will get to know the issues, and your neighbours, as you go door-to-door.
- Subscribe to several newspapers or online publications; this supports journalism, which is important to democracy and keeps you informed.
- Vote. This is a privilege that not everyone in the world enjoys. Don’t waste your voice as every vote counts. And finally, stay involved when the election is over.