Ten things you can do to change the world this week
Appeal Internet editor
Election time comes around every two years, and with it comes the inevitable flood of negative ads.
Those ads work, in part, by making some of you so disgusted with the entire process that you stay home instead of casting your votes. That leaves the process wide open to the hardcore partisans, the base as they are called, to swing the elections their way. The extremes win, and the middle gets the shaft.
I’m sorry to start this off on such a bad note, because this is a time when all of us have the power to change the world. Don’t buy into all that negativity. We really do have great power, all of us, together.
But how, you ask, can you make a difference? Here are 10 things you can do this week:
1. Vote. Back in 1789, there were 38,818 wide-eyed idealists living in a backward part of the planet known as America who changed the way most of the world picks its leaders. They cast ballots to make a tall man from Virginia named George Washington the first elected president of any country in the world. The voters made up only about 1 percent of the population at the time, but it was the first step toward what we have today. Your vote counts, and it’s important that you cast it.
There are many close races across the country, some of which could be decided by one vote. You don’t want to wake up the day after the election to find out that your one vote could have changed the outcome.
2. Vote, even if you don’t like the candidates. The No. 1 complaint I hear is that all the candidates are corrupt, evil people, and that there isn’t anyone to vote for.
Hogwash. I don’t believe that every one of these candidates is bad. Pick the lesser of two evils if you have to. Vote for none of the above, or vote for the independent candidates.
When this election is over, political consultants will sit down and go over the results, looking for trends to follow for the next election. If they see surges of votes for independent candidates, that will encourage more of them to run and maybe win. Be a part of that trend.
3. Call 10 friends and get them to vote. Here is an academic exercise for you. Ask someone what the most effective form of advertising is. Most of them will say television, and you can then chuckle and tell them they are wrong. Word of mouth is the most effective advertising. One suggestion from a friend has more impact than a thousand commercials. It’s powerful. Use that power. Talk to your friends, family, co-workers, and get them to vote.
4. Get those friends to call 10 friends. Spread the goodness like a virus. I don’t think most people really understand the power of networking. Take a look at the MySpace Web site sometime. This site went from nothing to one of the biggest sites on the Internet in two years, and it’s all due to social networking. In fact, this leads us to:
5. Use MySpace and other online networks to get others to vote. The Internet makes it easy to connect with people all over the country. This is especially true for younger people. I have a young co-worker who told me the other day that she doesn’t know anyone (except me) who doesn’t have a MySpace page. Tap into your network and you can change the world.
6. Go to the polls together and make an event of it. Friends don’t let friends vote alone. Voting doesn’t have to be a lonely business. Take your friends to polls and have lunch together afterward. You are, after all, changing the world.
7. Donate. It’s late in the cycle to give money to candidates, but they can always use the help. Support good people, and they will support you.
8. Volunteer. Candidates and parties need you to help get voters to the polls. That could mean calling voters, going door to door or helping to drive those who can’t get there any other way. Help out where you can.
9. Get informed. With the Internet, there is no excuse for not knowing what is going on in the world. Pay attention to the issues that matter most to you, and pass along that knowledge to your friends.
10. Run for office. If you are disappointed in the quality of candidates, then run for office yourself. It’s not too early to think about the next election. Please step up and run. Where would we be if a farmer from Virginia hadn’t come forward to lead this nation? It might be a stretch to think you are the next George Washington, but you have the power to continue what he started. Use that power.
• Kirk Caraway is editor of nevadapolitics.com, and also writes a blog on national issues at kirkcaraway.com.