I have had the opportunity to volunteer in a campaign again. The mayoral election for Rockford is coming up and I have been canvassing for Tom McNamara, the Democratic candidate.
This is the second time I have given my time to a political campaign. Although I am only a teenager, I think I have had some meaningful experiences.
But what do these experiences mean? How is knocking on doors helping someone like me? The youth are the future. Everybody knows this, yet our nation’s government has seemed to have forgotten the important needs and wants of young people. We, the youth, as a demographic, need to start becoming more politically active and making our voices heard. And although I am guilty of this myself, we need to stop arguing amongst ourselves, hidden behind our laptops and on Facebook. Sharing things and spreading information is great, don’t get me wrong, but when we actually go out into the streets as a unit and fight for what we believe in, then we can affect change.
It all starts with grassroots campaigning and local activism. Going from door to door. Getting into contact with your local officials. Making phone calls. Writing letters. Protesting injustice. Doing these things may not seem like a lot in the beginning, but when the movement begins to grow and take shape, our voices can be heard.
I want to share what I have been doing with my time in campaign work. The gentleman I worked with today explained it in a few simple steps. If you are ever working on a campaign, you need to start building lists of people you need to establish contact with. This means researching their voting history, party identification and any other information relevant to a campaign. Next, you start going to the streets and actually getting into contact with the voters. When you are first starting out, you want to target people who are on the fence or undecided on who to vote for in whatever election is currently happening. The hope is to persuade those folks to vote for the candidate you are advocating for. Finally, you encourage people to get out and vote. This means making sure all of the constituents are still in support of your candidate and telling them to go to polling places to cast their ballot on election day.
The political work I have done has truly been eye-opening for me. I have interacted with friendly, enthusiastic people and those who are not interested in the election process at all. It gives me a genuine feel for how the political process works for us all. I want to go into this field when I am older and hope to make a name for myself. This is simply a step in that direction.
Lastly, I want to share my feelings on why being politically active is important. Many people nowadays are unhappy with how the country is being run, especially with Agent Orange at the helm. What I want people to know is that you can be proactive and have your voice be heard. I am a fifteen year old brown kid living in Rockford, Illinois and I try to get my voice out there. You can, too.