It is one thing to sit around and pontificate about the wrongs of government and society, tossing about complaints and concepts for change. It is another to actively begin to take some steps to help change occur. I am fully aware that the changes I’ve already proposed, as well as the ones the will be forthcoming, will require a large base of support for them ever to be realized. Obviously, with several hundred million eligible voters in this country and only a very, very, very small fraction of them even aware of these essays, building a large base of support seems an insurmountable task. And yet as I muse about the electronic bazaar that has become the place for sharing thoughts with people you’ll never meet, I find many voices that seem similar to mine. When I engage in actual conversation with people and politics or social issues come up, I’m often hearing the same complaints. This leads me to believe that there really are millions who are ready for a change, but maybe just don’t know what to do. In is in that spirit then, that I offer you some concrete steps you can take today that will begin building that support for change.

The first, most important and most effective step you can take is also the easiest one of all. Simply update your voter registration in your county without listing a political party affiliation. Look for a box that states, “I decline to state a political party,” or one that states, “Other:________,” and fill in “Non-Affiliated” or “Non-Partisan.” Do not write “Independent” because that is an actual party. By re-registering yourself in this way, the ranks of the divisive political parties will begin to shrink. Slowly at first, yes, but shrinking all the same. As more and more people recognize this tactic, it will reduce the power and influence of the corrupt organizations that are our current major parties.

Of course, several hundred individuals renouncing party affiliations still isn’t going to be noticed in the grand scheme of things, so step two becomes the next most important part of the process. In order for step one to be effective, we would need many people to re-register. This is where you begin to really make a difference. Step two requires that you inform people of step one. Before you start putting up your hands and backing away, take a deep breath and hear me out. I’m not suggesting that you go out of your way in every conversation you have with people and tell them to re-register as non-affiliated. Rather, when the proper conversation occurs you can offer that you felt as they did and decided to re-register yourself in order to let the politicians know that you no longer supported their actions. Tell them that such an action, multiplied many times over, could result in more candidates to vote for who are not tied to the major parties misguided and divisive party platforms, therefore being more responsive to using common sense. Tell them how simple it is to re-register (you can even e-mail them this article if you want), then tell them to tell someone else when they get a chance. Use your best judgment on when and how often you want to “spread the word,” but keep in mind that zealots aren’t often looked upon too kindly. If you do you part and tell a few friends who end up agreeing with you, they’ll tell a few and so on. If millions of people believe that passing along an e-mail chain will bring good luck, they should see they value in this too.

These first few steps are ones that everyone can take and they will make a difference. But each step from here will require more active levels of involvement. In previous essays I’ve stated that we must find and support a better class of politicians who believe in the common good over the party ideologies. This is a two-pronged problem, and the question for both is the same: How? In our current system of political gamesmanship, it is nearly impossible to find someone both willing to undertake the task while at the same time financially secure enough to withstand the rigors of a lengthy and expensive campaign. Where do you find someone who would stand for common sense government? How can you support that person and make it possible for them to run for election? How can you help their election succeed? There are simple answers to each of these questions, followed, of course, by many a million particulars. I’ll give you the middle ground and let you work it from there.

Where do you find someone to stand for common sense principles? If you’ve ever had a political conversation with someone that didn’t turn into a name-calling, divisive endeavor, you’ve just met two possible candidates: you and the other person. Now I know that everyone isn’t going to jump up and run for office, but my point is that the people who care about the things you do and are frustrated with the government like you are- these are the people who could be running for office. Common People with Common Sense. Or maybe you could decide to hold a meeting somewhere in your town, asking people to drop by for a few hours of civil conversation. After many of these meetings, someone will likely emerge as a potential candidate for something and before you know it, you’re on the road to change. I admit that this will take some courage from the person doing the organizing. You could easily post an advertisement on the internet or on a community bulletin or in an inexpensive newspaper, in case you didn’t want to invite people you were close too. (I know that our egos prevent us from “acting out of the norm” and this surely would be that, so inviting unknown people may make things flow more freely for everyone.) If only one in every 10 or 20 people who read this would try something like this out, I bet you’d be surprised at how things can move along.

How can you support that person and make it possible for them to run for election? How can you help their election succeed? Once you’ve begun meeting with your fellow citizens and talking about the things that are important to you all, common sense principles of government and society, you’ll find someone to stand up for your collective desires and run for a political office. Whether this is a local, state, or national office is not really relevant here, with the exception that for each higher level of government, a higher level of effort will be required. You must now come together to support your candidate. The high cost of running a campaign is a major deterrent to most candidates. It would be naïve to ignore that fact. However, if we learned nothing from the last election cycle, we learned that new technology and creative ideas are just as, if not more effective, than the major parties reliance on TV and radio advertising. The open nature of the internet provides a fertile ground for spreading ideas and promoting candidates. The personal computer makes the printing of campaign material both readily available and inexpensive when delegated among many people. Rely on the power of your visibility for the media to notice you and make yourself know to them by writing press releases and getting on radio talk shows to talk about your common sense candidate. Write letters to people in the community. I’m not sure what all of the campaign finance laws are, and you’d probably have to know what kind of restrictions there are, but if all of these tasks are parceled out amongst your group, as your group grows larger, the costs can be spread out more and more. The financial costs can thus be borne, but an even bigger cost is that of time.

In order for change to occur, you must be willing to give up some of your time. This is perhaps even harder for us to part with than our money. Our time is precious as our society leaves us with so little in which to truly enjoy. But if you ever want to change that very fact, you must find a way to offer up even more of your time today. The trick here is all in your perception. If you enjoy spending time with people who are fun and friendly and like to be active in change, you may not find it so hard to attend rallies and participate in sign making events. If you are more solitary, you might enjoy printing leaflets and bumper stickers at home with your computer, dropping them off for disbursal and sending out e-mails. With enough people getting involved, this could be as little as an hour or two a month or as much as several times a week. Not a lot of time when you think about it and the eventual pay-off would make it worth the while.

Whether or not you agree with all of my positions, if you at least agree that this government is not doing the right thing for the people, if you feel that things coming out of our capitols are not grounded in common sense, if you are tired of being bamboozled by your elected officials, and if you feel as if your voice is lost amid the corporate largess and special interests, then only by joining in the steps I’ve outlined above can you hope to make a difference. I know that everyone can and should re-register to vote as a non-affiliated voter and should encourage others to do the same. I hope that others will go further and begin to meet and promote good people. I hope you all will begin to involve yourselves in our future and not just complain as you ride along.