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Turn Your Frustration Into Effective Action

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Everywhere I turn, people are complaining and saying that they want change and accountability in government. They are fearful of the national debt, wary of excessive government spending, and frustrated as they watch the systematic chipping away at our Constitution by politicians. You would think that in this current political climate people would be jumping at the chance to get involved and work to bring about the change that they are looking for…right?

Last Tuesday’s primary turnout tells a different story:


Voter turnout was even lower than the last non-presidential primary. This is nothing short of pathetic. It seems that Arizona residents (and Americans across the country) are all talk and little more. They can’t even muster up the effort to learn about the candidates and cast a ballot.

I am sure these non-voters all have excuses:

The good candidates never win. Washington will turn even the good candidates bad. My vote won’t count. I don’t trust the system. I don’t have time to research all of the candidates.

One or two of these excuses might even be valid but the question remains: what good is complaining if you don’t try to do something about it? I am sure every Flagstaff voter could have found at least one candidate to get behind and support. Everyone I know has frustrated energy and that energy should be turned into action.

I will concede that some frustrated energy has been turned into action this past year. The tea party movement is a perfect example. Across the country people have hit the streets waving signs and shouting slogans. They have marched to Washington and held huge rallies. They have flooded congress with emails and phone calls. Some of it has been effective to a certain degree but as far as changing the outcome of elections it has accomplished little more than what we accomplish when we yell at our TV screens. It obviously didn’t do much to get out the vote in Arizona.

As November’s general election approaches we must ask ourselves how we can become more effective. We must be honest with ourselves and move past the tactics that do not work very well. You can get a group together and wave signs all day long but in the end, the impact you have on an election will be minimal. You can religiously attend tea party meetings or rallies but if you stop there, not much will get done.

So what does work? Saul Alinsky wrote Rules For Radicals, a book that taught a whole generation how to successfully accomplish their political goals. Many conservatives and libertarians cringe when they hear his name and the term “community organizer” but they would do well to embrace some of his ideas with an open mind and ask themselves what they can learn.

If we are going to make a difference we have to start getting involved in our neighborhoods and communities. We should all be spreading the message of liberty and educating those around us. Walking your precinct is a great place to start and you will see results. My wife and I walked our precinct and saw the results firsthand. While voter turnout was down across the county, our precinct had a 10% higher voter turnout. If we could do this county wide and at the same time let people know about the true liberty candidates, we could dramatically change the outcome of elections.

Are you brave enough to meet your neighbors? Are you willing to talk to those around you about the ideas of liberty? Are you ready to put in the hours it takes to make a real difference in your precinct? Complaining won’t get you anywhere. Time to turn that energy into effective action.


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