When it comes to making changes and conducting important decisions in regard to conveying better outcomes for society either on the local or maybe wider scale, usually there is a feeling that not much could be done. People tend to accept the situations as they are, especially in the terms of governing political party and the policy. But the fact is that in the most democratic countries, sovereignty is playing alongside democracy.
Sovereignty in direct translation means “the reign of the people”. In other words, in the most European countries, the people should be the ones deciding about the important questions in regard to the country meanwhile the politician’s role is to represent people’s ideas in the parliament.
Even though this is a school book definition of the nation’s rights and responsibilities as well as the one of the political party’s, the truth is that in the real life it usually is not the case.
The common opinion and feelings are that the politicians run everything, decide about everything and the average person which is not involved into politics does not have any power or an ability to make change in the system which is currently set.
The truth is – this is the biggest mistake made by common people.
Even though the main decisions in the democratic country are conducted by the representative bodies of the legislative and executive branches of the trias politica model, the truth is that the government and political parties cannot sustain themselves without their voters and thus the citizens of the respective country.
During the election campaigns, political parties tailor their campaign programs according to the topics which are the burning questions among the selected target group of voters. For example, left wing politicians will usually bring up the topic of equality, collaboration, solidarity and mutual understanding among the people to reach out to them. Meanwhile the right-wing’s campaign program is mostly concentrated around making better conditions for the citizens of the respective country, security measures for their own people in the case of intrusion as well as respect and appreciation towards the tradition of that country. The both ideas have their positive and negative aspects, but what is common is that they need their voters votes in order to be elected.
In system as described it may seem that it does not even make sense to go out and vote since the same paroles are being repeated over and over and over again. But there is a catch and it lies within active citizenship.
According to the definition, active citizen is a person who actively takes responsibility and initiative in areas of public concern such as crime prevention and the local community. Active citizen is the person who is aware of the certain problems on the local and global level and besides observing what is happening in the surroundings, he participates in the actions to change respective problems and injustices.
There are several ways to become more active citizen and examples of those are voluntary service, being included in the local community and talk to the locals about the burning issues, brainstorming about the ideas for the possible solutions, becoming a member of the certain organization which deals with the solution to the burning issues, participation in the public protests, networking with the other people with similar ideas, support the causes which are happening at moment, critically think about the current situation in the society, spread awareness among people in the assertive and diplomatic manner… There is much more to being active citizen alongside the listed ways, but at the end we have – voting. Voting is of the critical importance for conveying the change even though it is sometimes nearly impossible to choose someone who meets your values and deserves your vote.
So, how are all the listed possibilities and voting intertwined?
The fact is that one person cannot do much, but if several people work as a group, the possibility to make change is rising. In your surroundings there is probably a lot more people that are thinking the same as you but decide not to express their beliefs because they think they are the only ones.
With social activity and solidarity measures, we are sending a message towards the community and also to the governing bodies that we are not satisfied and that our needs have to be heard. With the persistence and calling out to our rights, political parties will eventually need to adjust their policies according to what people want in order to get their votes, stay on their place and continue to get their payment. Will they actually fulfill their promises is a matter of another topic, but the fact is that without action from the local community, there is no really ANY chance of actual change.
So, what was the thing you did for your community in the last month? Share with us in the comments.
The article is published by Ocean znanja’s EVS volunteer Nives Ražnjević on the project “ACTeen”. The project is funded by the Agency for Mobility and EU programmes within the program Erasmus+.