Week 2: Understanding Government

Week 2: Understanding Government

10/3/16

Week 2: Understanding Government 

Whether you read the news every morning, or rarely give it a thought, it is not too late to make your voice heard.  At CARE Action! we firmly believe that a voice raised is never a voice wasted. With election season in full swing, we want to maximize the political engagement necessary to global progress. Our #50ways50days campaign is doing just that. Each week we’re bringing you seven ways to engage, united around a common theme. 

This week’s theme? Understanding Government 

One thing that we can all agree on is that government is complicated. But by reading up on the basics, you can make a more informed decision when the election comes around. Here’s how to do it. 

  1. Learn about the platforms of your senators and representatives up for re-election: All 435 House seats and 34 Senate seats are up for re-election. This is your chance to make sure your voice is heard in Washington, and so it is imperative that you make an informed decision. Go to the candidates’ websites and read about what they will prioritize if elected. 
  2. Research the candidates’ records of promoting human rights and humanitarian causes: If the candidate has already served in Congress, did they support the Global Food Security Act or the Reach Act? If the candidate hasn’t already served, what have they done to improve the lives of others?
  3. Read up on how a bill becomes a law: We’ve all heard the complaint that “Congress doesn’t get anything done.” That’s due in part to the fact that passing a bill is an extensive process. Here’s a quick breakdown of the steps involved: bit.ly/2dbe1XN   
  4. Read, watch, or listen to the news on a regular basis: To vote effectively, you have to know the issues. Many of them can seem convoluted, and you may not know where to start, but getting informed can be as simple as listening to NPR while driving or turning on the nightly news while cooking dinner.
  5. Get the facts on the foreign aid budget: There is a grand misconception that a large chunk of tax dollars goes to helping people abroad. The average person estimates we spend 26% of our federal budget on foreign aid, when in reality it’s less than 1%.  Furthermore, that aid doesn’t just improve the lives of people in other countries, it contributes to a more stable and secure world for all. http://n.pr/1QTUafA
  6. Get familiar with government aid agencies: Government aid agencies work to improve the people facing poverty, violence, and disease around the world. In doing so they increase our own national security and relations abroad. Check out USAID and the UN Refugee Agency to begin exploring the critical work being done.
  7. Diversify your news sources: Getting your news from varied sources is critical. Big or small, each news organization has a different focus and a different slant to their news coverage. If you only read one paper or watch one station, you may be missing the full story. 

That’s all for this week! Watch out for more ways to get active this election season on twitter, and join the conversation using #50ways50days.

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