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Stop Complaining and Start Participating

Burdine & Brown Oct. 19, 2020

“Stop complaining and start participating”, said Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States, Stephen Breyer, in a speech he gave on The Constitution in September of 2019.

The speech was given to young people worried about democracy's position in the United State of America and the nation's increasingly politicism/polarization.

He said that everyone has a role to play in preserving democracy. He was directly quoted as saying, “The people who wrote the Constitution thought ‘if you do not participate, this does not work. Stop complaining and start participating.”

There is an excellent quote from Benjamin Franklin also about our participatory democracy. As he left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, he said to a newsperson editor who asked what the result of the Constitution was. Ben wisely said:” You have a republic if you can keep it.”

Protests on the streets of various cities in the USA may have some influence on the public but it may not be the kind of influence the protestors want to achieve. An equal and opposite reaction may occur.

What should you do? Be active, attend city council meetings, state legislature committee meetings, where the laws are changed or created. Join a group of like-minded people, seek meetings with your local leaders, the mayor, city council members. Create relationships with those in position of authority. Create dialogues with these representatives. Join your local political party or create your own. Talk to the news media, seek out a specific reporter to tell your story to.

Those who say they care and march on the streets, breaking windows, setting cars on fire, fighting, causing chaos, are not helping their cause. Democracy is a participatory event but there is a right and wrong way to make it happen. Choose wisely!