Denver Bar Association
November 2002
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Ways to Get Involved Without Money

by Liz Starrs

The season of giving is upon us. Christmas already? No! National and state elections are here!

There has to be more to participating in the political process than giving money. One way that doesn’t cost a dime is to keep the name and phone number of your representative or senator with you, and when you’re stuck in traffic, call him or her and tell them what you think about the war on Iraq, spending priorities, taxes or their latest campaign ad. Or keep the letters-to-the-editor e-mail address of your favorite newspaper, and the next time a politician does something that you agree with or makes you mad, call or e-mail the reporter or the editor. Or figure out how to participate in our caucus system.

The same principle applies to the DBA. If you see something you like, or you don’t like, call, write or e-mail (criticisms to Chuck Turner; compliments to me). Better yet, come to some of our social functions, such as Tuesdays at the Bar or Coffee Talk. They don’t cost much or take a lot of time; and you can meet people and get CLE credit.

Most of us want to contribute to our communities, be part of our professional organizations and be heard concerning politics. And with so many demands on our time, the idea of "getting involved" can seem daunting, if not mind-numbing. But like most things, your first step should be a small one. You’ll find that it’s relatively easy, since the logistics of our projects and community contacts are already in place. All you may have to do is show up. Of course, if you have a new idea, you’ll probably find exactly what you need to make it happen.

In his book "Bowling Alone," Robert Putnam chronicles the decline in civic engagement across America in the last two decades, including fewer citizens joining professional associations. The DBA has not been immune from this but, fortunately, our membership has remained relatively stable. Still, it seems that we are all better off, as a society and as individuals, if we participate. And none of this is about money . . . but I am going to be very happy when November 5 is behind us!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."—Margaret Mead


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