I have recently been thinking about one of the reasons I started this blog, namely making a difference in my own small way. I love the idea of having conversations with people and perhaps even changing someone's mind every once in a while. This doesn't have to be a huge change (although if it is that is awesome), simply having a good conversation and making someone see a small point in a new way is what I am going for. This of course goes both way, I feel I have benefited quite a bit from the various conversations I've had since starting.
So anyway, I have been thinking of this idea in relation to politics lately. The most frustrating thing about politics to me is that I feel helpless to really do anything. I vote, but it doesn't really feel like it matters. I recently watched a video from a guy in local politics who said one thing that affects him is when voters send in their opinions, especially if there is a personalized message with it. It reminded me of a website I had played with very briefly during the whole sopa/pipa fiasco at the end of last year.
The site was popvox. It is pretty cool, you can look up any bill in the senate or the house, and if you have an opinion you can click oppose or support, you can also write a personalized message if you wish. Then if you put in your address, it will automatically figure out who your congressmen are and send your message to them. I have gotten messages back from them, so I know they are seeing it (well, realistically someone on their staff has seen it, but it's something).
I am still just checking the site out, but I have found a few neat things. First, there is a screen where you can look at all of the things you have weighed in on and how often your congressmen have voted along with your wishes. So when it comes time to vote, you should be able to go to this screen and see how closely the person in office matches you. If they overlap a lot, vote for them with confidence, if not, vote for the other guy. Also, when you move (which I'm in the middle of right now) it shows you how your new congressmen voted on all of that stuff too, an obvious feature, but it seems to be executed well.
Another thing that looks cool, there is a list of all of the bills that will be looked at in the upcoming week. So it looks like you can quickly scan through those at the beginning of the week and weigh in on the things you care about fairly quickly. I haven't had the chance to check this out in detail yet, but I have signed up for update emails and I'm optimistic about it.
I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but I would like to make posts about these bills semi-regularly. Perhaps just whenever I see something coming up that I think is really important, perhaps I can do a weekly post about it and talk about the week ahead. At any rate, I love the idea of following what is going on in congress a little bit better and letting them know we are watching. I figure this can only help things. I also love the idea of having a conversation with you guys about it.
Apologies to my international readers :)