Setting the Agenda
Citizens today, particularly the young, are told that their greatest civic responsibility is to vote. I think this is ridiculous — the most important responsibility is to educate oneself and then add one’s voice to the debate. One way to do this is to pick a topic of particular personal interest, learn about it, and then participate in the early legislative policy debates (which are normally open to public commentary). In this way, instead of simply casting a vote for the limited choices others have saddled you with, you get to shape the choices that millions or even hundreds of millions will vote on.
This article supports this approach:
A new study in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management demonstrates that public commenters who participate during the early phases of regulatory policymaking play an important agenda setting role. Results suggest that these “public” participants—who are often interest groups—can help shape the content of regulatory proposals as they move through the regulatory process and may thwart unwanted regulations.HT OActivists