By Katherine Hamilton
Digital Content Writing Fellow, RepresentUs

July 4th is all about celebrating America’s unique democracy—and a vital part of that celebration is having conversations about how we can protect it.

Political discussions with friends and family can be tricky, but talking about anti-corruption reform is a great place to start.

Here’s your guide to engaging loved ones in conversations about democracy and encouraging them to take action.

Why start with anti-corruption?

While America feels more divided than ever, there are a few things the left and the right actually agree on. Politicians should not be able to rig our political system in their favor, we the people should control our government, and billionaires shouldn’t be able to buy our elections.

Stopping corruption is something almost everyone already supports (except maybe billionaires). This point of commonality is a great starting place for conversations with your loved ones.

Only 4% of Americans have confidence in Congress, which means a HUGE majority of people agree our government isn’t working as effectively as we’d like it to. Plus, 94% of Americans agree that we should know who is funding our elections, including shining a light on dark money and donations to super PACs.

So, this Independence Day, start a conversation to encourage action. The For the People Act is moving through Congress right now—and everyone who wants a government by and for the people should support it. It’s facing some challenges, but we're confident it will pass the Senate if enough people join together to show their support (here's why).

Tips for engaging loved ones in politics

1. Focus on solutions.

The For the People Act is the most comprehensive anti-corruption bill in a generation and offers solutions to some of the biggest threats to democracy.

Protecting voters, cracking down on lobbyists, and unrigging gerrymandered districts are all critical changes that would help fix our broken political system. These reforms put power in the hands of the voters and make our government do what it’s supposed to do: Represent us.

The For the People Act is a once-in-a-generation bill that your whole family deserves to know about. Here’s everything the Act would do to end corruption:

What's in the For the People Act?

Join the movement to end corruption and help pass the For the People Act.

2. Listen and ask clarifying questions.

If your friends or family members still seem unsure about the For the People Act, there are a few ways to make sure your conversations remain positive and productive.

Listen to their opinions before getting into your own ideas. Ask clarifying questions. Try to understand the root of their political beliefs—what led them to think this way?

Think about how you would like your loved one to listen to you, and then try to show them the same courtesies. Repeat back what you heard to make sure you’re understanding their points. Thank them for sharing, especially if they divulge a personal or emotional concern. Once it’s your turn to share your ideas, they will likely be more open if you made a real effort to hear them.

3. Share personal experiences and stories.

Think about how certain policies have personally influenced your own life or the lives of your loved ones. Facts are easy to gloss over, but personal experiences help people relate to you and appreciate why you care.

This is especially helpful if your family members seem uninterested in discussing politics. Talking about corrupt politicians in Washington might seem irrelevant to them, but corruption is at the root of issues like student debt, immigration, and the opioid crisis. It’s likely that your loved one is directly impacted by corruption—even if they don’t realize it.

4. Use our video to get the conversation started.

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Corruption is a serious issue, but it can be hard to engage people in a discussion about everything that’s wrong with America.

So, how can you strike up that conversation? This video starring Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom (from the future) is a great starting point. It taps into people’s values and reminds us all what risks we face if we don’t prioritize democracy. Try showing friends and family this video as a way to get the discussion started from a place of commonality.

5. Engage online.

If you won’t be seeing loved ones for the holiday, or if in-person discussion just isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of ways to get conversations rolling. Posting to social media is a start, and any of the advice above can apply online as well as in person.

Not sure what to post? Share one of our graphics on your timeline.

Right click the image you want to share and click "save image." Then, you can post it to your social media from your computer files.

6. Encourage involvement.

No matter where you land on the political spectrum, you deserve the right to have your voice heard. A great way to keep your conversation positive is to empower your loved one and remind them how much each person matters in a democracy.

Not only is it our civic duty to vote in every election and put pressure on members of Congress, but it also has a huge impact on policymaking. If you notice that your friend or family member seems particularly disheartened by politics, emphasize the importance of every individual in a democracy.

If they’re on board with corruption reform, here are some things they can do:

Now it’s up to you!

Whether your friends and family are politically active or not, discussing anti-corruption on the Fourth of July just makes sense. Celebrating democracy means working hard to protect it.

There are so many ways to get involved in the movement, and by reading this, you’re now ready to educate your community about those many opportunities!

Sign up to stay updated on anti-corruption reform and become part of our movement!