Posters, articles in the school paper or letters to editors, creative tabling, and funny skits during holidays can get everyone thinking and acting to get big money out of politics and people back in!
Every year around September 18, all universities are mandated by Congress to celebrate Constitution Day. Check with your Student Activities Office about who is organizing events for Constitution Day on your campus and offer to be part of the celebration. Offer to give a talk on the importance of voting, on democracy, on fair elections, write an op ed about the importance of fair elections for a democracy, and/or create your own ideas for marking this day.
Build a “Haunted House of Democracy” on campus that shows the horrors of a country without real democracy. Create a maze with examples like polluted water with cigarette butts in it, a meat cooler with fake rancid meat, dolls who are crying because they are hungry, college students who can’t pay tuition etc. etc.
At the end of this ” horrors” section there should be two different ways to go. Each person is asked whether they think “Democracy Matters.” If they answer “No,” they get sent back to go through the “horrors” section again. But if they say “Yes”, they get to find their way out into a cozy room (with hot chocolate??) and information about Fair Elections and Democracy Matters. They get to take away a flyer with information on it.
Dressing up and tabling, giving out candy with money and politics facts attached.
“All I Want for Christmas is DEMOCRACY.” Create a poster campaign with that theme, showing what we would have if we really had democracy, i.e. if politicians listen to the voters, not the funders. For example, we would have affordable higher education, OR affordable health care, OR more jobs for college graduates, OR no war, OR a clean and healthy environment, OR lower insurance rates, etc, etc.
Martin Luther King Day
Unfortunately most colleges are still on winter break for Dr. King’s birthday but if your campus is in session, talk with student groups that might be organizing events in his honor and offer to talk about the importance of Dr. King’s message that everyone should be involved in democracy and how that ties to fair elections. African-Americans have been largely marginalized politically because they have typically not been big funders of political candidates. Fair Elections in states like Maine and Arizona have empowered African-Americans and people of color by giving them the resources to run for office and by offering voters a more diverse choice of candidates. (See Civil Rights.)
Black History Month
See the suggestions for MLK’s birthday. Contact your campus African-American Studies Department or History Departments to learn what they are doing in celebration and how Democracy Matters can participate.
Celebrate President’s Day by reminding people on your campus of the ideal that every kid can grow up to become President, and of how the dominance of big money has destroyed this American dream. With posters or skits, show how Fair Elections would restore the dream by having candidates depend on their good ideas – not their check books – to get elected for President and other political offices, too.
Everyone loves a Valentine. This is a great way to get the attention of your elected state representatives. Make your own creative valentines and send them out. You’ll need: papers, crayons, scissors, markers, doilies etc.
Inside, make up catchy slogans like:
Roses are red, violets are blue?
I don’t take corporate bribes and neither should you!
We love Fair Elections, We hope you do too
I don’t like corporate money in politics and neither should you!
I want a true democracy? how ’bout you?
If you want my vote, tell corporate money SHOO!
I dream of fair elections and you can make it true!
I love you, you love me?
Let’s build a true democracy!
Let’s make a better democracy!
Let’s get rid of political bribery!
Write up and duplicate a one-page information sheet that introduces your chapter of Democracy Matters and briefly explains why you are advocating Fair Elections. Be sure to include the one-pager and your name and return address with each Valentine.
You can do this with your DM members and/or set up a table in a high traffic area and provide materials so that everyone can send a message to their legislators.
A different version can be done for Halloween, e.g. “Scare away the goblins of BIG MONEY. Support Fair Elections.”
Women’s History Month
Contact your campus Women’s Studies Department to learn how they are celebrating the month and how you can join them. Also contact student women’s groups or the women’s center on campus. Women have been marginalized in politics because they are not typically big funders of election campaigns. Fair Elections empowers women by allowing them to run and win, as has happened in Maine, Arizona and elsewhere and offering voters a more diverse group of candidates. (See Women’s Rights.)
This is close to the end of the school year for most, so it can be the occasion for a final big event. Talk with your campus environmental student groups or academic departments about how you can be part of a celebration of environmental protection, stopping global warming, etc. Plaster the campus with posters linking eco-friendly policies with fair elections (oil and energy companies are huge private funders of Congress and other elected officials). Write an Earth Day op-ed urging everyone to write to their representatives demanding pro-environmental policies and fair elections. Or come up with your own great ideas! (See Environment.)