Something every Civil Citizen should know about is political will. In
short, political will is what the current legislature is willing to do.
When you agree with them it’s great, you can submit proposals and
they may be taken into account and voted on. But, if your ideas are
against the current political will, even if it is a fantastic idea, feels like
you are banging your head against a brick wall —repeatedly.
It may be tricky at first to figure out the political will of a politician,
one rookie mistake Civil Citizens make is by listening to the words that come out of a politician’s mouth. That is an error.
Don’t listen to what they say they did, will do, or are going to do. Look instead at what they have actually done and are in
the process of doing. If they continue to not do the things you want them to it means they do not have the political will to
Political will is something politicians get together and determine. It usually has to do with the pet-projects of the people
in charge and their political and often religious affiliations. Each politician also brings his/her personal will into the mix
and these are all components that the Civil Citizen must understand before working with the politicians on any particular
project. So, if the force is with you and political will is on your side, the best way to approach a proposal is to show that it
is in alignment with that will. A reasonable proposal should go well and have success. Nevertheless, you will have times
when you are going against political will, this is more common, as it is usually the person who is going against the
status quo who needs the extra legislative help. So what to do when the current will is against you.
Find Common Ground
The first thing to do is to find common ground. Is the result of your proposal something that fits within the core values of
your elected official. You should always attempt to go through your elected official first because you have the power of
the vote, you are in some ways their boss, the more votes you have in line with the idea the more power you will have at
Find a champion
If your official absolutely won’t budge find another elected official who is sympathetic to your issue to be a champion of it.
If they happen to be an official with seniority and power you have a better shot at it. See if they have any personal
experience with your issue that would lead them to be passionate about it.
Go to the media
If the first two options didn’t work go to the media, tell them the stories of those who need the change to occur.
Occupy Wall St. and the Tea Party movements are examples of large groups of people gathering together in order to
bring media attention and swing public opinion. Both movements are intended in their own way to get stagnant political
will to start moving in favor of the middle class. These two groups have different ideas about what that looks like but their
level of passion for changing political will is similar.
Vote in a new representative during the next election
If political will cannot be swayed given the current political mix in your city, state or Federal political bodies, then there
needs to be a change in the make-up of those bodies. Get together and put together a campaign to get voices whose
political will is in alignment with yours into political office.
Understanding political will and how to work with it, is an important skill for all Civil Citizens to have.