This weekend, I went to Washington DC for a conference about ending extreme poverty through policy advocacy. Basically, me and 200 others were trying to save the world through politics.
At school, I am part of a chapter of the ONE Campaign, and we push our state delegates to protect foreign aid policies that save lives. This week, we were fighting to keep the 150 Account (aka foreign aid and State Department) from being cut from the federal budget. Right now, it makes up less than 1% of the US budget. Yeah.
I met with all four of my state delegates, meeting both of my senators in person. I experienced the exclusive nature of US politics, and the deep division of parties that exists in just the Capitol alone. For almost 12 hours, I was wondering through the Senate and House buildings, marching on with my comrades.
People have become too complacent in democracy, too comfortable. We have waited until protests were needed to make change, rather than give a couple hours to the government each month. We get mad when politicians make decisions we don’t like, but they have no idea what we want if we don’t say it out right.
Call your reps and make some noise about the issues you stand for. If we look to our history books, politics have never changed of their own accord–only when the people have stood up does anything move forward.