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• Participating in community affairs

and local organizations

• Contacting public officials

• Giving money to a candidate or party

• Helping form a political group or or-

ganization

• Attending political meetings, and

belonging to a political club.

Verba and Nie came up with six differ-

ent kinds of citizens, which ranged from

complete activists to complete inactiv-

ists. Between these groups were cam-

paigners, communalists, contacters, and

voting specialists. Only about 11% of the

American population could be classified

as complete activists, with voting being

the most commonly reported type of

participation. The most common form of

political participation, with about 72%

of the interviewees reporting voting

regularly in presidential elections. Curi-

ously, the actual percentage of eligible

voters who actually vote is considerably

lower, seldom climbingmuch above 50%

in any given presidential election.

Voting and elections in the United

States are a very visible part of the po-

litical process. Americans vote more

often and for more offices than do the

citizens of any other democracy. We

elect a President and Vice-President

team, Senators, Representatives, Gover-

nors, members of state Congresses, and

an assortment of other state and local

officials. Although a large number of

government officials are appointed, not

elected, most of our most prominent

political leaders are elected.

Americans vote for so many officials

on many different levels of govern-

ment, they cannot keep up with all the

campaigns and elections, so they don't

know who to vote for, and as a result,

don't vote. Americans vote for more

public officials and hold more elections

by far than any other modern democ-

racy. In most states, general elections

are held every year or two, as well as

primary elections and special elections

on local matters.

I have often used the quote, “Get into

Politics or Get Out of Business!” If you

think that politics has no impact on

your business. Think again. No matter

the industry, politics has an impact and

play on your business.

I subscribe to the theory that you must

be actively involved in the political pro-

cess to earn the right to complain about

what your elected officials are doing or

how they have voted on an issue. Don’t

complain if you didn’t vote. I don’t have

much tolerance or patience for that.

If you don’t vote, don’t complain! That

is an earned right.

The question might be then, “What can I

do?” Howcan I get involved? Atwhat level

can I participate and howdo I go about it?

There are a myriad of ways to get your

voice heard.

1. Call members of congress.

2. Write letters to members of Con-

gress, state legislators, government

officials and letters to the editor in

your local newspapers.

3. Online activism, in chat rooms and

forums. Start your own web site. E-

mail articles to friends.

4. Help groups and campaigns.

5. Call radio talk shows and let your

voice be heard.

When given the opportunity to partici-

pate in a discussion at any level, follow

these guidelines:

1. Pace yourself, be patient but consis-

tent and firm.

2. Never state facts without sources.

Use credible sources.

3. Never exaggerate or misrepresent

facts.

4. Never resort to the sleazy tactics

used by the opposition.

5. Never start or enter a debate with-

out knowledge of the issue.

6. Never retreat when you know you

are right. Finish with a firm state-

ment and display confidence.

7. Never allow the opposition to draw

you off subject.

8. Never under estimate the power of

a lie or propaganda; don't let it go

unanswered. Don't assume people

won't believe it.

9. Never act, talk or conduct yourself in

a manner that diminishes or brings

disrespect to the cause.

The bottom line — Get in the game!

Don’t sit on the sidelines when you can

have/play such a vital role in the policy

making process. It impacts your busi-

ness more than you know.

Voting and elections in the United States are a very visible part of the political

process.Americans vote more often and for more offices than do the citizens of

any other democracy . . . Although a large number of government officials are ap-

pointed, not elected, most of our most prominent political leaders are elected.