The Importance of Blue State Advocacy
Activism matters — everywhere
The Progressive Teen Staff Writer
AS A NATIVE OF CONNECTICUT, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people ask me why I get engaged in an already liberal community. In my town of West Hartford, nearly 72% of our votes went to Hillary Clinton during this past presidential election cycle, and this trend displays consistency in practically every type of election we hold. Many trust the fact that we are a blue state and will most probably always be a blue state.
Both of our U.S. Senators and our U.S. members of Congress hold strong to their Democratic values. Perhaps it’s true that we can sit back and let our liberal views be represented in Washington. However, the root of advocacy is work on specific issues affecting not only aspects of the country as a whole, but issues that can drastically change our human rights. These issues include women’s reproductive rights, the minimum wage, the quality of children’s education, economic development as a whole, etc. The course of people’s lives can be determined when our legislation votes one way or the other. International relations and complications display as flashy issues on the news that are of course vital to be addressed. However, when speaking with a typical working-class American, one thing will always remain certain: they are concerned with foundational issues — issues that have always existed, and will most likely exist in the long-term.
The majority of people in our society are apolitical: more than half of those eligible to vote decide not to; many don’t send their concerns to our representatives on the local and state fronts through letters; most people don’t spend their time working for nonprofits or on issue advocacy; there is even a great number of people who don’t understand how our government and policy operates at all. For these reasons, it’s difficult to have an ideal democratic society in terms of the true representation of every single American person. Additionally, it puts more responsibility upon those who do wish to get involved. We are the “abnormal” — those who spend their time on causes that others don’t think they have a say in. We are the ones essentially doing what we think is right for those around us. Hence, in every single state, whether it is blue, red, or purple, advocacy is always essential.
Now you may be wondering what high school students could possibly do to affect our government. After joining the High School Democrats of America myself, I realized that we are part of the change. Not only are we one of the most prominent groups of our party, but we are one of the most influential.
The people you see attending marches, organizing advocacy events, interning and volunteering on campaigns, registering voters, speaking out for those around us, and more? Those are the High School Democrats of America. We are on the ground running at every single advocacy event in the country. It’s an understatement to call us the “future” of politics, when in fact, we are the hidden politics of today. Taking full advantage of our democratic society is one of the most simple things a citizen can do. In fact, I firmly believe it’s a responsibility. It takes less than 5 minutes to register to voter, perhaps 15–20 minutes to write a letter (maybe more to add a little pizazz), 10 minutes to send an email to a campaign you’re interested in helping, and maybe an hour or two to organize a local canvassing event. Change is happening everywhere, and it is performed by people of all ages. For this reason, people in every single state should get engaged, regardless of how liberal or how conservative your state is. Issues and specific policies are the core of our government, and it’s our job to protect the values for the common good.