What You Can Do For Politics

The Effects of Your Contribution to Cedar Park


Photo by Kel Lemons/Balfour

Voting signs at Williamson County voting location on Election Day in Texas.

Jaden Kolenbrander, Reporter

If there’s one thing that the storming of the Capitol building in early January has taught the USA, it’s how fragile democracy can become. Trump supporters, some disguised under defending election integrity and others proclaiming outright hatred for certain groups through the presence of memorabilia like the Confederate Flag and the swastika, overwhelmed our Capitol and marched in. Some had the intent of taking politicians hostage, according to ABC27

You may know a few conservatives, maybe even some Trump supporters who whole-heartedly agreed with his rhetoric throughout his first term. Of course, none of them actively participated in a riot. But it’s interesting how far one political movement can go. The hype around Trump was unprecedented in the modern era – finally, it felt like there was a presidential contender who cut through the noise and spoke directly to the people’s fears. Now, fast-forward to today and see what they almost accomplished.

I hope none of you have the same aspirations as the insurrectionists we saw that day. However, Trump proves that even the average person is capable of making political changes, whether good or bad. And if you want to prevent such events from occurring again, our democracy was meant for the average person to let their voices be heard, to shift the talking points that our politicians discuss. 

Many of us participate in political inaction. You may scroll past the newsfeed on Twitter without second thought, or hear of the new bill that our politicians certified in the Capitol building that was inches away from a successful coup without inquiring further as to how it affects you, your friends and family, or American citizens at large. It’s understandable when it often seems like our state representatives and our senators have to take two steps back for every step forward, depriving us of the legislation we desperately need to reach a bipartisan agreement. Politics is a slow, bureaucratic process that rarely gives rewards to those who engage with it. But it’s also a necessity that allows anyone’s opinion to influence the marketplace of ideas, and if we want to reach the best solution possible for ensuring a better future for our generation. So, what steps can be taken to guarantee an active role in what our government does? 

Well, you don’t have to participate at a national level. Local politics can be just as important to the average citizen as they are at the federal level. The City of Cedar Park has an election for their city council on May 1, 2021. Actions can be as small as researching the policies and background of your candidates. Informing yourself is the first step to making a significant impact on the systems that dictate your day-to-day life. And if there’s a candidate you like, you can volunteer for their campaign and organize a small program at your school, club meeting, house or anywhere else that people gather. Often, this amplifies the policies that many average citizens may want or need but have not been suggested. 

Getting involved in politics doesn’t require travel, a significant amount of money or time. The optimal political plan can be reached without violence, and the changes we make can be as small as adding trees to a park or funding an initiative to add a computer lab to every elementary school in the district. Websites and organizations like the Williamson County Democratic Party and the Williamson County Republican Party are examples of groups to join in order to become familiar with our local politics. What Trump advocated for in his last days were nebulous allegations of voter fraud and pitting his supporters against vaguely defined corruption. What you can do is bring critical talking points to the forefront that will have a concrete effect on the well-being of our community.