This thing called Democracy — What is it?

The beauty of the job was that I got to be at the frontline of democracy-in-action, fielding any and all topics while being an expert in none.

It was an awesome responsibility for a high schooler who was inspired by the veneer of democracy even though she wasn’t old enough to legally participate* in one (* vote). Indeed, my slight insecurity at my political incompetence was quickly assuaged by the fact that most callers didn’t care* ( *didn’t care to know*) who was at the end of the other line. Sometimes, people just want to be heard and heard they are on a daily basis by 535 Senate and House of Representative offices — though chances are most of the listeners are high school to grad school-aged interns.

So… If Congress’ daily constituent feedback comes mostly through the grapevine, what DO they do on a daily basis?

When I went to Washington D.C. four years after this internship, I discovered that Congress does do stuff. The best metaphor I can think of to describe an outsider’s impression of the nation’s capitol is that it’s a huge alphabet soup, and new bills (named by a combo of letters and numbers) materialize frequently. In fact, D.C. is an incredibly small city where everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows everything about S. 207, or H.R. 127, or whatever the latest bill is. In D.C., it doesn’t matter if you work for a nonprofit or as the director at the White House, everyone is connected to everyone by a network of listservs so news about America’s laws and their impact travel fast.

  • Voting does matter
  • The personal is political
  • Never take stability and sanity for granted — these are collectively achieved and must be maintained, again and again
  • Stability, in all shapes and forms, is in itself is yet another privilege that is unequally distributed

Specifically, what are Americans’ civic engagement preferences in 2017? How do we modernize democratic channels for the 21st century?

My friends and I created a survey to learn more, and I’d love to get your input on this.

https://berkeley.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_899qXmdV6G2xKkJ

Please fill out this~*anonymous survey*~ on this topic, then subscribe to hear about the results if you like!

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