This topic contains 6 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Aidan Elliott 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Learning Objective: Understand the core tenets of the US governmental structure

    1. Civic Engagement: Participation in Civic Life
    2. Democracy: Active Participation in Democracy
    3. Disengagement is Dangerous for Democracy
    4. Public Participation in National Politics

    Answer and defend your answer:

    What do you are some roadblocks for some people in participating in civic life? How can those roadblocks be overcome?

    • This topic was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by  s.wilkes.

    Natalie Parker

    Lack of knowledge
    Solution: High school (and beyond!) civics classes, reading newspapers and investing in good, fair and balanced news outlets. Developing an understanding about the processes and laws around these processes, especially related to voting, public protesting, etc., can make civic engagement much less scary.

    Lack of representation: People might feel that they don鈥檛 want to engage in civic life if they don鈥檛 think that their elected officials represent their interests. Similarly, if people of color and immigrants can鈥檛 see elected officials who represent their identities, participation in civic life may seem unproductive.
    Solution: This feeling of being self-defeat can help by working with an interest group (like HFA) because it鈥檚 easier to see your opponents as being surmountable if you have others you work with. Power in numbers!

    Fear of employer retribution: Many workplaces have policies for how and when employees can protest. If people have a contract with their employer, they not only have to fulfil the requirements of the law, but also need to follow the stated policies.
    Solution: Passing and enforcing Just Cause legislation, which requires sufficient cause to terminate an employee, can be a solution to this.

    Voting barriers: Voting regulations, like voter ID laws or for example, modern day poll taxes like this example from Florida can affect public participation in the electoral process.
    Solution: Protecting the right to vote for disenfranchised communities is essential to creating a strong, ethical society that is representative of everyone.


    Jen Loving

    I agree with all of Natalie’s position. Sadly, if I didn’t have kids with chronic illness I am not so sure that I would be as active in civic engagement. I also lack the time and finding non biased news information for the truth is becoming harder and harder. I also think that the general thought of “my voice isn’t heard so why bother” is rampant. People DO care but feel they aren’t being heard. I do hope that by being active and involving my kids that they continue to be active as they get older.


    Michael Wile

    I agree with Natalie and Jen. Lack of time and resources certainly make this difficult. I am sure that I will be much more active during retirement from medical practice.


    Krista Davidson

    There are many roadblocks to participating in politics. Personally, my husband and I work full-time, we have 3 children, and we care for my ill mother who lives with us. We have a myriad of distractions in our lives, just like millions of other families. Despite household dynamics, it is hard to focus on all the information that is being presented to us every minute of every day. What information is accurate? Also, I feel my representative(s) may not represent my values and opinions. I feel less likely to participate in events with them such as town hall meetings, or to reach out when I have a concern. Since reviewing the lessons however, I learned some steps I can take to overcome my personal roadblocks. I can carve out time from my schedule to go to a political event that seems important to me, which may only be once a month. I can seek bipartisan sources of information or participate in elections if I don’t feel my representative adequately represents me. There may be many roadblocks to participation, but there are just as many ways to overcome them.


    Viviana Gonz谩lez

    I think that not knowing how our government runs is likely the biggest roadblock to civic life participation. We can’t expect people to just know how this complex system works and operates if they are not exposed to it. Thus, education is key and should start at the elementary school level. Also, civics becomes more important as our own government makes it a priority. For example, in Puerto Rico (and a few states), Election Day is a holiday and I think it is one of the reasons why there is such a high voter turnout. The government made that day a priority for the people and, at least in P.R., it’s very important for the people to cast their vote (granted there may be particular historical and cultural reasons for that as well). If becoming involved in civic life is a burden (or is thwarted, often illegaly, by others), then most people will not prioritize it. There’s just too many other battles to fight.


    Aidan Elliott

    Overall, I would say awareness is the biggest hurdle to getting involved with civic life. We all get caught up in the earthly day to day activities and so we often don’t have time to focus on things that may seem very much out of our control and we lose track of what is going on above us. One way to overcome this could be to focus on specific issues and engage the communities that those issues affect directly. Building awareness brings people in the community back to the center of the issue and allows people to provide the unique input that is needed for issues to be addressed.

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