Friday, August 23rd, 2013
There is more to civic engagement than going to the polls every four years. Tom Spengler, writing for the Huffington Post, offers a more robust guide to civic engagement, relying on the power of the digital age to stay involved in your community.
Paradoxically, Spengler argues that modern technology both encourages civic engagement and allows for chronic apathy, which he terms “slacktivism,” with people remaining politically disengaged but participating in small fruitless online “movements.” In order to be engaged with your local community, Spengler recommends putting a concerted effort into using online tools for civic projects.
For instance, if you are concerned with a policy proposal, Spengler suggests using USA.gov to contact your representatives in Congress. If you are seeking to volunteer your time or money, Spengler recommends searching online for reputable charities and volunteer opportunities via Charity Navigator.
Spengler notes that recent government initiatives like “hackathons” have encouraged citizens to contribute ideas for improving their communities, but he says that civic engagement is a two-way street. “Every citizen has the agency and opportunity to get involved in civic acts—and our democracy depends on it,” Spengler writes.