Most Americans are bored with politics. I guess I can't blame them. After all, we've had a succession of such lousy politicians it's no wonder the voter turnout for the last presidential election was the lowest since the 1920's. But while I don't blame the average American for his apathy, I can't help but blame the electorate for delivering us one dead duck after another. What sort of standard, if any, do we hold our elected officials? Does honesty matter? Integrity? Intelligence? Vision? Sometimes it seems like a good head of hair is all that matters. (when was the last time we had a bald president?)

I don't want to turn this into a rant, but it's going to be hard not to.

I'm an equal opportunity basher, however. I can find just about as many faults on the right as I can on the left. It's been said that the Democrats want to get into your wallet, and the Republicans want to get into your bedroom. To me, taking people's money is just as bad as telling them how to behave. I must admit that if I have to choose between the two, the Republicans have the higher ground.

What we need are leaders. People with vision. People with ideas. The problem is, it's hard to convey your vision when you're working with a media intent on feeding the public little soundbites. I don't like long-winded politicians any more than you do, but that's only because most pontificating politicians will go on for hours saying what could be said in just a few sentences. I'll vote for the person who cuts through the crap and says it how it is, who isn't afraid to go out on a limb, who has intelligent ideas, and could give a damn if they say something that infuriates 17.6% of the electorate.

I have a pet peeve - actually I have lots of political peeves - and it's this: Why do they tell me I'm throwing my vote away when I vote for the Libertarians??? Damn, that pisses me off! So all of you who've latched on to that kind of BULLSHIT listen here:

YOU NEVER THROW YOUR VOTE AWAY. How can you possibly be "throwing your vote away" when you're voting for who you actually believe in? First of all, you are throwing your vote away if you cast your ballot for someone not because he best represents your viewpoint but because he has a "better" chance of winning. The very concept of voting is to vote for the person you actually agree with! Secondly, you only have one vote, for crissakes! When was the last time one vote changed an election? Thirdly - and I can only say this for myself - but I'd feel bad if I didn't vote for who I feel has the best ideas, but instead voted for my "second-best" choice. How asinine! Besides, how the hell are we EVER gonna get rid of all those nincompoops in the Capital City if we keep voting for their ilk!

I want to get more involved in the fight in my state , I was wondering how to go about it Mike

There are just so many things that can be done. A further walk through Web Station # 19 will reveal many of them. The easiest is informed voting, listen to what your candidates are saying, research the issues and candidates. Write to your local news paper at least once a month.
write to your officials on state and national levels. Write to the President at the White House Don't let the politicians forget they work for us!!! If you have money search out your favorite causes and donate something, if you have no money donate your time...
That is where Protesting comes in. Attend protests, Organize protests remember it is not only a right but a duty as an informed citizen to inform those around you.

On Protests and protesting

-Plan ahead
-Get the media's attention
-Expect to deal with law enforcement
-Follow the rules of protesting

1. Get Organized
Put up flyers on college campuses if they are near. Maybe use statistics of non-violent drug offenders to show the appalling number of people in jail for the wrong reasons. Talk to your friends and neighbors.
Read the local paper, send letters to the editor to invite like-minded people to your events.
Be consistent in protesting. If you cannot handle once a week, try once a month.
Make posters with short, but sensible slogans.
Stay educated on latest legislative developments & information.

2. Plan ahead
Find a place that is high profile (e.g. lots traffic, pedestrians).
Become familiar with the city's rules pertaining to noise and crowds.
Send out press releases to announce the event to local papers, radio shows, local news
Get informative flyers from organizations like NORML, MPP, & the Lindesmith Institute

3. Law Enforcement AKA "the Man"
Read police conduct manual, find out what they can and cannot do to you.
Always have a pen & paper ready to record the officer's names and
write down their actions & words as a precaution for evidence in court.
ALWAYS! Be as courteous as possible to officers so they have no other reason to cite or arrest you.
If you are arrested, do not resist. Go limp & make them carry you. Makes for great photo op and press. Also goes to show the public how very strongly you feel for the cause.

4. Opposition
. Sometimes, you will have people in your faces. When this happens, just smile and continue holding your sign. Just think of it as a tactic that makes you stronger. It may hurt you inside, but to show these folks that it affects you would be letting them win.

5. How to survive activism:
Remember: Thank you's go a long way. Compliment your fellow protesters.
Learn from each other.
Try not to fight within the group, esp in front of passers-by.
Take action, but remember to take breaks, do other things besides activism once in awhile.

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