My Facebook feed was filled this week with posts and pictures of people commenting on the recent cases before the Supreme Court. I walked past the people who lined up for days in order to get a glimpse of the oral arguments, and I started to think about what motivates them to take action. Why aren’t people showing the same level of engagement when it comes to issues before Congress?
None of my Facebook friends changed their profile pictures to express concern with the mandatory cuts to federal programs leveraged by Goodwill and relied upon by the people we serve. Granted, it is difficult to think of an illustration that depicts sequestration, but you understand what I mean.
Is it a generational thing? After all, people also slept outside of Rockefeller Center in order to see Justin Timberlake on Saturday Night Live. Is it a lack of understanding of the legislative process? The Supreme Court rules on the laws of the land. But Congress can make new laws that overturn the court’s decision (remember learning about the separation of powers and the three branches of government back in elementary school?).
Does the lack of engagement have to do with access? Congressional hearings are open to the public and aren’t that well attended. Unlike the Supreme Court proceedings, most hearings can also be watched online and on television. Given this access, are people just apathetic to the political process?
Congressional approval ratings have been at an all-time low. Furthermore, an estimated 222 million Americans were eligible to vote in 2012, an increase of about nine million over 2008. Of those eligible voters, 51 million were not registered.
There are a variety of issues that Goodwill advocates for and in which we would like for all of our stakeholders–leaders, employees, shoppers, donors, program participants and volunteers–to be engaged.
The Goodwill Legislative Action Center allows for advocates to connect with their members of Congress with a click of a button or by simply picking up the phone. Consider supporting Goodwill and encouraging people to sign up for our legislative action center on your social media sites.