As the United States faces more challenges every day, it often seems that society is tardily becoming more divided. While there are many factors that have a large role in the current atmosphere, the leaders that Americans have voted into office have the potential to play a major part. Unfortunately, many politicians do not use their platforms to serve the best interest of the American People. Instead, they add to the political division. That said, things do not have to be this way. Instead, elected officials could start working together with no labels to put the American People first. Here are just 10 of the ways they can do it.
1. Pay attention to local concerns.
If you have ever heard that change starts local, that is because it really does. When politicians pay attention to the local concerns of their constituents, it improves their ability to be true representatives.
2. Reprioritize values.
At the end of the day, the decisions people make come down to their values.
People often have different values, so it is important for leaders to analyze what Americans are saying on both sides of the aisle.
To put the American people first, a politician needs to be able to reprioritize his or her personal values to represent those of voters. Finding a balance may be key.
3. Stay faithful to the truth.
How many public officials do you trust? If you are like many U.S. citizens, your faith in those in office is slim to none. To help change this, leaders can make a commitment to stay faithful to the truth. Sometimes, doing this means looking bad, but appearances should come secondary if people are a top priority.
4. Balance stakeholders.
Another problem leaders often face is a diversity problem.
That is, they only consider the perspectives of a small number of constituents, typically those who support their platforms. To put the American People first, every elected official should try to balance stakeholders in all considerations. When there are so many conflicting points of view, finding some balance is necessary.
5. Be transparent.
In order to be truthful, a person needs to be transparent. When it comes to political representatives, transparency can mean the difference in gaining or losing constituents’ trust. Historically, many leaders have tried to hide things like spending activity and conflicts of interest. A politician who puts people first will not hide information that should be public.
6. Make healthcare a priority.
There is no question about it: Americans need better healthcare. Regardless of political affiliation, they need lower costs, more access, and better services. Ranking 27th in the world, the U.S. is one of the few developed countries that still lacks a universal healthcare system. As a result, medical costs are the number one reason people file bankruptcy, and many citizens die because they cannot receive the care they need.
7. Reduce college costs.
Unfortunately, hospital bills are not the only expenses that are crushing the American Dream. In addition, the cost of going to college is leading young adults into positions where they cannot afford to buy homes or support their families.
As a result, millions of citizens still lack education beyond high school, and the majority of those with a degree are struggling with significant debt. On top of that, the U.S. is falling behind the rest of the world in education as well.
8. Make the environment a priority.
The air you breathe is personal. Not only does it enter your lungs and the lungs of your loved ones, but it can also have a direct impact on your health.
The same goes for the water you drink. Because of this, leaders who put people first should make the environment a priority.
9. Refuse to ignore systematic oppression.
Whether you are Republican, Democrat, or any other kind of political affiliation, you may come from a number of different backgrounds. The fact is, millions of different lives come together to form political organizations. Within those lives, however, there are histories. No matter which side of the aisle you are on, there is a chance that forms of systematic oppression such as racism, sexism, or heterosexism have touched your life.
Because of this, it is imperative for leaders to refuse to ignore these conditions in today’s modern world if they wish to put the American People first.
10. Expand voting.
In a representative democracy like the U.S., the Constitution gives citizens the right to choose their government through elected officials.
Voting is the process that makes this possible. Nonetheless, there have been efforts to limit voting opportunities across the country. To truly put Americans first, politicians need to expand voting to make sure they can hear everyone.
With all the noise and conflict that the American People often see in Washington, it is time for leaders to come together to start working for the citizens who elected them.
When politicians put issues like the ones on this list before money or empty campaign rhetoric, the country will start working for people again.