Updated: Jun 3, 2021
From the Desk of Julie Stauch,
May 27th, 2021
Welcome, Neighbor! Hope you’re having a great day. It’s a big day for us at Democracy Defenders of America because today’s the day that we let all of our friends and family see the website.
Thanks for checking out the work we all share as citizens who want to keep our democracy strong. There’s a place here for you and we are excited to watch and see what you bring to the community. The sky is the limit for all of us!
Let me tell you how this came to be…
On a podcast last fall I heard someone go off topic and express astonishment about how much people don’t understand about how our American democracy works. Boom! I perked up as if a bell had tolled. Then I remembered a number of years ago when I worked in the office of the Iowa Attorney General as the scheduler for the AG. I would help with phone calls when there was a problem or someone didn’t believe the person who answered the phone. Every week at least one someone would call and want the AG to help their son or daughter with a divorce case, and I would have to explain that the AG’s job is to provide all the legal support for the State of Iowa, not individuals. We treated people respectfully, shared options to help them find an attorney who could help them, and went back to work. I share this story because it is not new that people don’t understand their various governments. However, it is worse.
After searching online, I found a lot of good information on sites that educate, but all were designed and written for k-12 students. And I started thinking about my own experiences lobbying for causes and what happened there. Every organization gave great trainings before we’d go to the Capitol - mostly our state capitol. They’d drop us off and we’d each go talk to our state representative or state senator. In theory. What I saw in practice was people congregating in the cafeteria. It was intimidating for many of them to go to the entrance to each Chamber and ask for their elected leader. Later, when I worked at a non-profit and oversaw government affairs, I made us change the way we did our Lobby Day. We had great trainings - just like they had before - but instead we put people in teams, where there was one person who was comfortable with having the conversation. It worked! Supporters came back again, brought friends and we helped people see how to have the conversations before they actually had to do it themselves.
As we started designing Democracy Defenders of America, figuring out how we would be different from others and helpful to you, we realized that it is not enough to provide the education, we have to help people learn how to work together to solve problems, how to find other people who share their concerns, and then how to use their knowledge of government to solve problems.
We need you to be involved with Democracy Defenders of America. The courses will go live this coming fall. Between now and then, we could use your help sharing stories of a time that you reached out to an elected official. What worked for you? What didn’t work? We need these case studies of real life experiences to share through the education program.
Start now! Join us, make a donation if you are able, and share a story about your experience. Then, when the fall comes, please sign up for one or both of our courses. The more you know, the better our country, states, county and local governments will respond. Let’s do this together!