Over the course of my civic engagement experience, I met and talked with a lot of people. I got trained, and volunteered many hours with the on-campus voter registration drive, attended the Clear the Haze debate, worked with my teammates, and participated in Change Your World Week. interacting with so many people in a relatively small amount of time is always an interesting adventure.
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Meeting so many different people with many different and sometimes opposing viewpoints, has helped me to expand my own. These experiences gave me new and unexpected insight and connections to the content I learned for class.
As I learned in chapter one, and in my own experience, public policy is very important. Public policy is a purposeful action or actions taken by the government to reach a specific goal or objective. Examples of public policy include the environmental policy and the energy policy. Public policy is essential, it keeps our country from falling into chaos, as it is what regulates most every aspect of our government. When it comes to veterans healthcare, it is very obvious that public policy is very important and closely related to this issue. A change in the policy around veterans healthcare is needed, as I found out not only in my research, but also in talking to veterans themselves. The staff of the Delta College Veteran Services Office and many veterans I talked to at Change Your World Week, agreed that changes needed to be made, the current policy is simply not cutting it.
In reading chapter six, I learned about public opinion and what it is. Public opinion is essentially the opinion of the public, to be straight to the point. Is it the culmination of the attitudes and beliefs of individuals about certain issues or officials. If anything is to get done in our government, a supportive public opinion is very helpful. As we are a democracy, the government is intended listen and respond to public opinion. I received quite a hefty dose of public opinion while taking part in Change Your World Week. most of the students, staff, and passersby were ready and eager to tell me what they thought about the issues currently surrounding veterans healthcare in this country. My group and I also were a part of that public opinion as we shared our thoughts to others. Overall, I learned that the overwhelming public opinion of those on the Delta College campus is that they believe our veterans are being neglected and that needs to change. My proof of that is a certainly shown with all of the signatures we collected over various days.
Chapter eight taught me about interest groups and their purpose. Interest groups are groups of citizens who share a common interest. That interest can range from political opinions, to religious or ideological beliefs, to a social goal, or even to an economic characteristic. Interest groups attempt to influence public policy in order to benefit themselves. My teammates and fellow classmates were basically and effectively interest groups ourselves. We all advocated in our papers, presentations for Change Your World Week, and letters to officials that there is a change or changes that needs to happen with our various issues. We worked as groups to get our topics heard by as many people as we could and to influence as many people as we could as well, which we were able to do because they agreed to sign our petition.
Voter mobilization and what the purpose of it is, is taught in chapter 9. Voter mobilization is efforts made to encourage citizens to participate in elections and other types of voting. As a democracy, voting is the backbone of our government. In order for it to work for the, those citizens need to vote. By participating in getting trained and then volunteering to get people registered to vote, I helped encourage voting. Afterall, if you’re not registered, you can’t vote at all. It’s not a longshot to guess that at least a few of the people I helped register to vote actually did go out and vote. If they hadn’t been registered on campus, it is very possible they wouldn’t have ended up getting registered at all.
In chapter two, factions are described and defined. Factions are any group that puts its own interests above those of the rest of society. Factions unite people to achieve goals that advance their agenda and position. Factions often become politically aimed and are not limited to political parties. At the Clear the Haze deliberate dialogue, I was able to see factions at work. Each side, for or against the legalization of marijuana, wanted their agenda to be the one that prevailed. The side that was against, mostly ignored the positive outcomes, and of course, the side that was for mainly brushed off the possible negative results. Each side was only interested in what it wanted, regardless of the wants and needs of others.
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