Does Being a Good Citizen Require You Run for Office?


Does Being a Good Citizen Require You Run for Office?

3 October 2014 at 2:44:10 PM

Just had an interesting conversation with someone while out running errands.Gentleman said that if people really care about an issue, they should run for office in order to get it done. Was thinking about this on the way home and I don't agree. Here's why

I have never myself run for office and don't intend to. I like representative democracy, in which I look at who is running for particular offices, what positions they hold and try to determine from a slate of candidates who would be ones that most fit my own interests. I know it isn't perfect-sometimes you vote for people and they turn out to do something so shocking you can't believe that's the person you voted for. Or there may be candidates who run one way but then, in office, run a different way. So, yeah, democracy is imperfect. I don't think that for me to hold strong positions and want to see certain things done, as any citizen would, that I have to be IN office for my opinions to be valid or to hope that the people I voted for will vote for my interests. Plus, I am not convinced that the fact of being in office causes things to get done. Look at do-nothing Congress and also the way President Obama has been deliberately obstructed

IF it were true that those who have opinions they want to see done can ONLY do them by running for elected office, what if

The person works

The person runs for office and loses or doesn't have the money to spend running for office

The person has some disability that prevents him or her from actively attending a meeting.

For that matter, not everyone can attend a government meeting. If one is at work by 9:00 am how is he or she going to be at a county meeting by 9:30? The city meetings used to be (may still be) at 5:30 pm. Suppose you work in Fort Worth, do you really have time to get home if you work till 5 through traffic to be at a meeting? 

Surely the person that is able to be on a government entity is lucky, but that doesn't make that person MORE of a better citizen than one who doesn't hold office. In fact, it makes the office even more responsible to the constituents, including those who may not be able to attend in person.

For me, I have long liked the idea, partly because I'm a computer techie, of each government entity providing access to meetings, even after the fact, through video, audio, minutes, etc so that ANYONE can listen to a meeting and hear what was said, in its entirety. I have never thought of myself as a lesser citizen simply because I choose to express my ideas on my own site; at least I am expressing myself. I also regularly talk to those who are in office that represent me directly. I know telling them my viewpoint may not make them vote the way I want, but at least then I have no reason to gripe if things happen where I don't agree but I KNOW my views weren't heard at all. 

Anyway, I believe we're all citizens here, don't have to be in office to get things done, but do have an obligation to make sure those that represent us know our views. And, when we can, attend meetings in person (Unless they're the Zoo



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