• Participating in community affairs
and local organizations
• Contacting public officials
• Giving money to a candidate or party
• Helping form a political group or or-
• 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
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
1. Pace yourself, be patient but consis-
tent and firm.
2. Never state facts without sources.
Use credible sources.
3. Never exaggerate or misrepresent
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.