17 Ways to Participate in Government


17 Ways to Participate in Government

In this article, you will learn about one of the most important rights of citizenship. This is the right to participate in governing our nation. The class will discuss the different ways you can get involved. 

It will also suggest things to think about when deciding whether or not to participate. By the time you finish the lesson, you should know the difference between a citizen and a non-citizen. You must also be able to argue your views on whether and to what extent a citizen should participate in government.

Many citizens do not participate in government. They do not vote or participate in most of the other ways you just discussed. However, some people believe that citizens have a responsibility to participate.

Deciding whether to participate and how much time to dedicate to participating is important. To make good decisions, you have to think about several things. Some of them are:

The purpose of our government

How important your rights are to you

How satisfied are you with the way the government is working

An example can help. Imagine that you have hired a company to fix your bicycle. Before you hire them, you'll want to make sure they can fix the bikes. So you'll want to make sure they did what you hired them to do. Suppose the company has done a good job. 

So you wouldn't bother checking them if your sister's bike needed repairs a few weeks later.

Let's say the company did a terrible job with your bike. So you might want to replace them or keep an even closer eye on them when your sister's bike needs repairs.

The same goes for the government. We need to be sure that the people we "hire" (choose) can do the job we're hiring them to do. Once we get the job, we need to keep an eye on them to make sure they're doing that job. If they do a good job, we might not be watching them closely. If they do a poor job, we can keep an eye on them and even decide to replace them. Participation in government is in our interest. The amount of time we spend engaging will likely depend on how well we think our elected officials are doing.

Hopefully, we will spend less time than if we were worried that someone is violating our rights. If we are satisfied with the government, we can vote and do little else. However, if we are not satisfied, we will probably take other measures.

There are several ways people participate in the governance process:

Through voting in elections People vote for the leaders of their choice to represent them. Their representatives make decisions on behalf of their people

People participate in the government process by being interested in how government works and criticizing it when necessary.

People express their views in various ways and make governments understand what action they need to take.

Another form of popular participation is organizing into social movements that seek to challenge the government and its functioning. Minority community members can participate in this way.

Ways to Participate in Government

17 Ways to Participate in Government

Ways citizens can follow:

1.   Examine information in newspapers, magazines and reference books and determine their accuracy

2.   Vote locally, regionally and nationally

3.   Participate in political discussions

4.   Try to convince someone to vote in a certain way

5.   Sign the petition

6.   Like a button or put a sticker on a car

7.   Write letters to elected officials

8.   Donating money to a party or a politician

9.   Attend meetings to get information, discuss issues or provide support

10. Campaign for a candidate

11. Room for special interest orders

12. Demonstrate through demonstrations, boycotts, sit-ins or other forms of protest

13. Serve as a lawyer

14. Participating in elections

15. Held in public hands

16. Serving the country through war or other service

17. Disobey the law and think about the consequences to prove that the law or policy is wrong.


Some New Forms of Citizen Participation

1. Citizens organize (breast cancer survivors, environmentalists or similar) to defend and influence public policy.

2. Create a coalition of citizens who initiate, propose or speak about various new laws. This is important because what many councils and local authorities consider to be the most important can be very important to citizens who may be interested in various issues that are not being spoken by the government.

The type of citizen participation in local government has its own potential, so it can trigger changes in local affairs. For example, public demonstrations can be organized based on the intentions of citizens, through the invitation of one or more political parties or trade unions, or thanks to the efforts of citizens, political party’s government, trade unions and others in the public sector.

In addition, poor communication and relations with local government officials, on the basis of which the authorities change their decisions, happen every day in different places (streets, markets, cafes, hotels, neighborhoods, etc.)

3. The Internet has become a tool of communication between citizens and different levels of government, or serves as a meeting place between citizens to discuss various issues. This increases access to information that has a "democratic impact" - politics and citizens often mobilize them to take action.

4. To participate in the development of their country, citizens and other actors create public spaces to discuss common projects (through participation and implementation). 

This last type of citizen participation will be the main topic of this article, because it reflects the motivation of citizens and allows dialogue with many actors in the community.


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