Wednesday

Politics? Where Do You Start?

No. I’m not going to blog about how to get started IN politics (as in running for office). So if that’s what you’re looking for, I’ll save you the time. I’m talking about those of us “regular” citizens who want to get involved in our country. We want to have a say. We want to know what our congressmen and women are doing and how to act from there.

How on earth do we get started? Are we at the mercy of those who seem to have this miraculous access to new resolutions and bills? Must we always rely on someone else’s interpretation of a particular piece of legislation? Can we not find some place to go ourselves so that we can see the resolutions?

We can go to the “official” congressional website. You can also go to several unofficial sites such as Congress.org. These are good sites and they certainly serve a good purpose for those who know their way around a bill &/or know how to easily find any exteraneous information they may be looking for such as the current status of the bill, what committee(s) it was referred to, the bill in its original form, and what (if any) amendments have been made to the bill while it was going through the approval process.

There is one “unofficial” site, however, that has all of that and more. You can easily see where the bill currently sits, the bill in its original form, and any amendments that have been made. In addition, it will show you who the committee members are for any respective committee complete with the contact information for each of the committee members. (Something that you are able to find, but have to work for if the committee members are not all in your state &/or region.)

You can also search for current pending and approved legislation easily by subject (i.e. Civil Rights, Abortion, Economy, etc.). They then allow you to track bills that interest you. They'll even show you who has funded candidates during their campaigns, track their voting history, and, in detail, who voted for what bill.

The site, Open Congress, is a non-partisan site sponsored by those who believe in governmental transparency. Clicking on the “About us” page on the Sunlight Foundation page will provide you with a link to the other transparency sites they run.

I would HIGHLY encourage anyone who wants to get involved to start with Open Congress. There is a wealth of information there. They take what you could eventually find with a LOT of time and searching and make it easy to find in one place.

I firmly believe that everyone should be involved in the political process. We not only have the right to do so, but the duty. It doesn't matter what you believe, what party (if any) you identify with...you should get involved. Our government doesn't just need our involvement on election day. They need to hear from us regularly if they are to truly represent us in Washington.

-Me

4 comments:

The Conservative Homeschooler said...

One way was I started a group called "The Conservative Homeschooler" to really help encourage homeschoolers to talk about what is going on and not be shy; We are in a unique position as homeschoolers not just to provide our kids with a good education or moral foundation but provide them with a basis as the next generation to grow on and part of that is being involved and having them involved as well.


Reading "The 5,000 Year Leap:A Miracle that changed the World" is a fantastic book that is not about Deomocrats or Rebuplicans but what it says it is: Freedom Principles 101 and about how the Constitution was started and how it was influenced by other works.

Really just getting out there and not just debating but going..this is what's happening and keeping information out there.

Gary Thompson said...

Love "The 5000 Year Leap."

I'm about a chapter into it...if I can just find it.

My lovely wife did something with it. =)

The Conservative Homeschooler said...

Gary,
I feel your pain; Mine mysteriously disappeared after I showed it to my husband.
Thankfully I had read it through or that would be an interesting,uhm, discussion,but still...it's hard when I want to go back and re-read something and it's not there. Sigh... Lol

I'm thinking we are going to need "His and Her" copies of the book.

Avelino said...

Amy, thanks for the glowing review of OpenCongress. You're the type of person we created the site for, and we're always glad to hear when people find it useful.

If you or your readers ever need help finding something, have a problem with the site, or just want to shoot some feedback our way, shoot me an e-mail: (avelino@opencongress.org).

Again, thanks,

Avelino
OpenCongress Community Manager

 
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