If you’re like me, you’re perpetually frustrated by the political system. It’s rigged, the media are rigged, everything is stacked against you. You feel helpless. As a citizen, you only get one vote, but what good does that do? And so you ask yourself what you can do to make a difference.
You could run for office, but who in their right mind would ever run for office and subject himself to that kind of scrutiny?
You could start a blog, and maybe help sway a few undecided minds, but blogging takes work and constant attention, and you might not have the time nor the interest.
The most feasible way you can make a difference is to be the person people go to for political advice. That’s sort of where I find myself. In order to be that person, you have to stay informed on current events. You have to be able to wade through (and guide others through) the morass of mainstream media misinformation. You have to be able to decipher political jargon. And it helps if you know your history, too.
You probably won’t be the person people to go to for political advice if you’re a loudmouth jerk who constantly spouts off and comes across as a know-it-all. You have to be able to articulate your ideas calmly and logically. As for me, I actually rarely engage others in political talk. I let them come to me. This includes family, friends, co-workers, etc. I let them come to me and I try to answer their questions as honestly as I can.
A typical exchange will go like this:
“Do you think Trump is going to win?”
“But the polls all say Hillary is winning.”
“The polls are meant to depress you. I ignore them until just a few days before Election Day.”
“I sure hope you’re right.”
“I know I’m right. Just trust your instincts. What do you personally see and hear?”
Often, that’s the extent of a political conversation. And I may not even be in a position to change someone’s point of view. Sometimes it’s just about restoring confidence in someone who’s been watching the mainstream press and had his or her confidence shaken.
That’s what you can do. Be the best informed person you know. Be the person people trust to help them sort out fact from fiction. But don’t abuse people’s trust. You can’t just make things up to try and sound smart. You have to know what you’re talking about and be right. And so you have to keep yourself informed and know where to go for accurate information. It’s a position of responsibility more than anything.