Thursday, August 21, 2008

For the Deaf People: How to Get Involved in the Political Process

Many of you might think that politicians do not help us or ignore our issues. That might be true but what is the REAL reason behind it? Well, answer these questions yourself: How many of you meet your senators, your house of representatives, your elected officials? How many of you vote?

It is very important for you as an American citizen to have a basic understanding of the political system and how it works. In short, our government has 3 branches: the Executive (President of the United States and his Cabinet), and the Legislative (Senators and House of Representatives, the Congress). This branch is especially important as it encompasses all states of America and the Senators and House Representatives are responsible for creating and passing laws. As elected representative of their states, they are supposed to work with people. The third branch is the Judicial (Supreme Court), where they oversee cases that are deemed constitutional or unconstitutional.

Like Joel Garcia said in his Vlog “ADA, You, and Getting Involved”: It is important for you, especially deaf people to be involved in the political process.
There are so many different ways where you can be involved. First thing that you need to do is to register to vote. You’re a CITIZEN of the United States and our number one responsibility is to vote. Voting is a way for us to voice our opinions based on individuals or the parties (be it Democratic and Republican). Your vote will count and can make a difference in the election.

Another way to get involved is to write letters to your elected officials and express your opinions. The elected politicians are accountable to their people and have a responsibility to listen and represent you on the floor. I strongly encourage you, all of the deaf people to write about things that are vital to the deaf community. For example, technology accessibility for the deaf on the internet is one issue that is currently being discussed in the Congress. If you want to have technology that will enable accessibility on the internet (such as subtitles for videos), you need to write letter and ask the Congress to support this bill: Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2008 (H.R.6320).

It doesn’t matter if you are in Washington DC or in your hometown - you can go to your Senator or your Representative’s office and ask for a meeting to discuss about deaf issues or any issues that are of concern to you. It is important for them to be aware of your needs and your concerns. And one way to do that is to MEET with them in person. They cannot ignore you if you are talking with them in real life.

Other way to be part of the political process of the American government is to be involved with the campaigns. Both the Legislative and the Executive branch have elections and you can join up with a campaign that you believe in. The candidates are often looking for votes and would be happy to listen to you. To give a good impression as a deaf person functioning just fine, you can volunteer or serve on the committees that specifically concern the deaf issues or deaf needs. Personally, I have experienced working with Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Ted Kennedy on the Capitol Hill. I interned under them and they were very friendly to me. Internships are a great way to start relationships with politicians! It is very important for you, the deaf people to expose many people about deaf issues and what WE CAN do! Never ever forget - positive attitude is very important and it sends the message to the general public that we the deaf people are IMPRESSIVE!

Now, you have some ideas on how to be involved. What are you doing now? Sitting back? No! Register and Vote, write letters! Get involved now!

Written by Jacob Leffler


OCDAC said...

I used to chair Democrats North Orange County Disability Committee. All they did was whine about things and whine about ideas to solve things they're whining about. 2 terms as this was enough for me. Even current chairpersonship is like a revolving door. I'm the only one who was able to sit there for the longest.

The best thing you can do is to register people to vote no matter what party theyre siding with. By helping others register, you serve as the gateway to a person's participation in the political process.

Beaux Arts de Boutjean said...

I am very curious to know how many vloggers, bloggers, and commenters have already registered to become voters. No one, I repeat, no one can vote n November if they register at the spur of a moment!

Jean Boutcher

RLM said...

I had been registered to vote since age of 18, but already lost my luster for national, state and local politics.

I really do not give any hoots who will be the next POTUS.

Human beings in general, know how to screw up the humanity from time to time.


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