Political participation

Political participation - Political Participation...

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Political Participation Introduction to Political Participation Definition: The best definition of a democracy (one used by Abraham Lincoln) is that it is a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." Implicit in this definition is the idea that most of the citizens of that democracy must participate actively in the system so that the policy decisions of that government reflect what a majority of people in that system want. But participation is not limited to democratic systems; at least some of the citizens from other systems can participate in the political process. For example, according to pluralist theory, the well-organized interest groups participate by hiring lobbyists, giving multi-million dollar campaign contributions to influence policy, and conducting an expensive television ad campaign to influence the general public while non-organized societal groups or interest groups with less money participate less effectively or not all. Political Participation is simply the effort to use one political mean or combination of political means to attempt to influence the political policy of a particular government. Forms of Participation: It is clear that participation is much broader than simply voting for people who share your policy beliefs. The list of all the types of forms of political participation would be almost endless but for illustrative purposes we can say that it includes a diverse range of activities at all levels of government such as writing your Congressperson, protesting in front of city hall, giving campaign contributions, writing political editorials or letters to the editor for newspaper, joining an interest group that lobbies for particular policies, speaking at a school board meeting etc. Some of these forms of political participation may be more important or more effective than others. Some may be immoral and/or illegal. Some may be open to some people but not others. But all represent forms of political participation. Evaluating Efficacy and/or the Morality of Forms of Participation . A decision on whether or not to make use of a particular form of participation is often a two-part process. First, one should make a determination of whether or not this particular form of participation will work in this particular context. This is called evaluating the "efficacy" of that course of action. You are not concerned at this point with the morality or the legality of that course of action - only whether it will produce some desired political change. Assuming that you determine that a form of political participation has at least a reasonable chance to produce some desired political change, a second question concerns the morality of that course of action, according to your own set of values. Part of the determination of the morality of some actions might be based on their legality; but legality and morality do not necessarily have to be treated as synonymous. For example, prior to the Civil War it was illegal to aid runaway slaves in their efforts to move to
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Political participation - Political Participation...

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