A Practical Analysis of the Young Person’s Significance in the Battle for Liberty
“We in America do not have government by the majority — we have government by the majority who participate… All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
This chilling quote reminds us that, if we wish to see traditional constitutional and biblical values upheld in the government, then we must participate.
Last week, we dispelled several common fallacies regarding young people’s cultural effectiveness, and laid the groundwork for why you must participate in the fight for liberty. This week, I’d like to share several tips on how to participate. As I mentioned in my last post, you can start making a difference right now, right where you are! You don’t have to be a politician to advance the glorious cause of liberty. I hope these ideas will help show you that none of the fallacies I mentioned in my last post can really keep you from affecting the culture for Christ.
So, here are some tips on ways to take action in your area! These things are not always easy, but they are simple and effective.
No. 1: Lobby Your Legislators
You may be thinking, “Hold the phone there! That’s a little much!” I admit, this can be a frightening prospect, but this is one of the coolest things about young activists! Not only can we talk to ADULT legislators, but we actually hold an influence with them that most other age groups do not enjoy. When a young person calls a legislator’s office, makes an appointment to visit them, and then walks into their office and clearly, respectfully, and maturely communicates what they are concerned about, the legislator will listen. This kind of scenario is such a rarity that it is generally greeted with the utmost interest by legislators.
I can personally attest to the potency of young activists. As a homeschooled high schooler myself, I have been to the Oklahoma State Capitol several times with my family as part of Capitol Day with Oklahoma Christian Home Educators Consociation (OCHEC). It is a great way to meet your legislators and simply make the home education voice heard. This year, OCHEC enlisted quite a few “Minutemen” — homeschoolers who each took packets of information on homeschooling to several legislators and discussed various home education issues with them. I was part of this group, and it was during this experience that I was able to meet both my state representative (James Leewright) and state senator, as well as two other Representatives. I had also called to make appointments with several other legislators, most of whom I was able to meet. After talking to Rep. Leewright, he asked me if I had any other appointments. I told him I was free for a couple hours, so he invited me to accompany him while he lobbied a bill he was introducing to several other legislators. Because of his generosity, I was able to meet several more legislators. Altogether, I was able to meet around twenty legislators, several of whom I was able to talk to about issues that are important to me, including the Speaker of the House and the minority floor leader. Nearly all of them expressed interest in me as a young person, and all of them were cordial and friendly. (If you’re not homeschooled, don’t worry; there are many other opportunities for involvement outside of the homeschooling world. This is only one of my experiences.) If you will make the effort to respectfully voice your concerns, they will listen with interest.
No. 2: Lobby Your Friends
Do you have any friends who are young voters? It is hard to overstate the need for young voters to hear conservative views. You can share your opinions on the subject of government and good candidates in a friend-to-friend format. I’m not sure how you girls would present the subject to your friends, but for me, as a guy, it might go something like this: “Hey man, do you know who you’re going to vote for?” Make it open-ended; allow them conversational room to voice their opinions. Then you can make suggestions as you feel appropriate.
I am seventeen. For the past several years, I have had quite a few good friends who were older than me, and who are now voting age. I’ve had some great political discussions with several of them. Don’t neglect the importance of influencing your fellow young people — statistics show that young voters vote more liberally than any other age group. The more you can share with them, the better.
No. 3: Write Letters
The second means by which we can make a difference is that of writing. Maybe you feel that speaking is not your strong point, and you can better communicate your position on paper (I totally understand! My mouth has an uncanny way of getting me in trouble!). This is a very helpful, because, after all, you can write to anybody about anything, and you can take all the time you want to draft and refine your message.
Let us suppose, for instance, that your state’s governor has a bill you support waiting on his/her desk for approval. You can’t simply go meet your governor and talk to him/her about it, but you can send a letter or an email asking for his/her support. In less than an hour, presto! You’ve lobbied for your position without having ever left your house!
Another avenue for literary activism is the newspaper. You may be thinking, “The newspaper? Only old people read the newspaper!” That may be true, but at the end of the day, your message will impact people regardless of age. There may be an older person out there who begins reading your article simply out of interest in you. They may think, “Huh, a young person who is actually doing something real! Isn’t that nice!” You immediately have a receptive audience for your views. Their interest in you as a person will make them open to your views.
In addition, with the advent of social media, you can inform a large group of people of an issue in a matter of minutes. You can rally support for a bill, a candidate, a state question, or any number of other things that are important to you.
No. 4: Campaign
Every election, candidates are busy campaigning for their potential constituents’ votes. Their various campaign efforts might include putting up campaign signs, walking from door to door in your district’s neighborhoods to talk to voters, putting out door hangers, speaking at rallies, attending “meet the candidates” events, and so on. Obviously, the candidates can’t do all this alone, but it all needs to get done if they hope to get elected.
For instance, let’s suppose that there is a man by the name of Constitutional Conservative running for the office of state representative in your district. You attend a “meet the candidates” event, where you are able to speak with Mr. Conservative and discover that his values really are in accordance with his name. So, what can you do to help Mr. Conservative clinch the nomination, even if you’re unable to vote? First, get some campaign signs from him, and make sure you know the rules for putting out campaign signs in your district. Go around town and place his signs at strategic locations where you have received permission to place them. Next, you can volunteer to put out door hangers. I recently did this, and had a great time. When you do this, you can stop at the various houses and talk to the voters. You can ask them what issues are important to them and then you can tell them why you think Mr. Conservative is the best man for the job: his many years of experience running a small business and community service make him the most acquainted with the needs of his potential constituents, etc. He may even need your help with something as simple as setting up chairs at one of his rallies.
No. 5: Be Involved With Your Political Party
Just this last weekend, Julia (my sister) and I volunteered our time helping run our district’s Republican Party booth at the local fair. This is a great way to connect with your neighbors, hear their views on the various issues, and encourage them to vote for conservative candidates (provided, of course, you have conservative candidates to vote for). We passed out fliers and signs for the candidates, and also took voter registration forms. We even experienced a great huzzah moment when, to our delight, two ladies, who had been Democrats since they originally registered, changed their party affiliation to Republican!
No. 6: Pray
Lastly, but certainly not least, YOU MUST PRAY! Prayer is the most powerful engine for the revival of our culture and the reformation of the Government. (Romans 13:1-8, 1 Timothy 2:1-2).
These things may be uncomfortable for you at first, but I think you’ll find, as you do them more, that you will become more confident in doing them. Remember, relationship is everything, and the more you make contact with your elected officials, the more they will be inclined to listen to you.