Actions That Support Groups With a Responsibility
for Keeping the Country Strong

There are certain groups whose jobs were specifically created to keep the country strong. Strong in the sense of safe; strong in the sense of fair, useful and enforced laws; strong in the sense of educated citizens; and strong in the sense of talented leaders with the best interest of the country at heart. These groups include:

  • Elected officials
  • Firemen
  • Judicial officials and juries
  • Law enforcement individuals
  • Military personnel and veterans
  • K – 12 teachers

By understanding the issues these groups face; by supporting and challenging them when appropriate; and by ensuring that these groups attract the most talented individuals and have the resources they need to carry out their functions, we can help them do a better job and make the country a better place to live.

Attend a School Board meeting.

The success of a democracy is predicated on educated citizens. A district’s school board is instrumental in determining the quality of its schools. While school boards differ from state to state, they typically are responsible for things like:

  • hiring principals, determining the curricula and books to be used, and
  • setting school policy for such things as dress code, school hours, and disciplinary matters.

Most school boards are elected. Attending the school board meeting in one’s school district is a great way to assess the quality of its elected members, to understand the types of issues being considered, and to provide in-person input or feedback on local school issues. .

School Boards typically meet once of twice a month and usually have a time set aside for public input. Attending these type meetings also often leads to further involvement.

Discuss the role of the military with your daughter and/or sons.

Today’s kids hear about topics and events that they wouldn’t have, and perhaps shouldn’t have, in the past.

At a time you deem appropriate, begin to introduce your children to the idea that countries need to defend themselves from others that don’t like the country. Explain that while each American citizen needs to continuously do things that keep the country strong (i.e. citizen actions), there are certain Americans who sometimes have to fight our enemies. Explain that the military is the organization that trains Americans how to fight and that oversees the fighting. Then explain how Americans get into the military and so on and so forth.

Give credit to individuals who act on behalf of the country

When you see, hear, or read about someone that has done something to keep the country strong, no matter how small, acknowledge the act. Thank them, say “good job,”send them an email, or let others know what they have done. We respond best to encouragement.

The Giraffe Project is a great organization the gives credit to Americans who stick their neck out. Check out the stories!

Go on a police "ride-along".

Forget going to an amusement park. Forget watching reality TV. If you want some reality, go on a Police Ride Along! Many police and Sheriff’s departments have programs where citizens can ride along with patrol officers. Call your local police department of sheriff’s office to find out if they have such a program and if so, how it works.

Many of us live in a “sheltered” world.  We live in a socio-economic world where we are generally unaware of the level of crime and violence and poverty and despair.

Riding with a police officer gives one an appreciation of:

  • what it’s like to a law enforcement officer, the importance of police in maintaining a stable society the importance of police training in order to handle a multitude of situations in ways which not only protect themselves and other citizens from harm but which respect the civil rights of individuals, the potential danger police officers are placed in on a day-to-day basis and how courageous they can be, how real and dangerous weapons are, and
  • how devastating it is to have a corrupt police officer or department.

Host a Marine For Thanksgiving Dinner.

Our country depends on young Americans who have volunteered to join the armed forces to keep us safe.  Thanksgiving is a family-oriented, yet brief, holiday and many of these young soldiers don’t have the leave time or resources to go home. For many, it’s the first time they been away from home for Thanksgiving.

It is becoming a tradition for families in communities near military bases to host young Americans serving in the Marines, Army, Navy, or Air Force.

The Community Relations Office at military bases should be aware of “Adopt a Soldier”-type programs in nearby communities – Adopt a Sailor, Adopt a Soldier, Adopt a Marine, Adopt an Airman.  It is customary, and sometimes required, that the soldiers be hosted in pairs.

Hosting a soldier has many benefits for both the soldier and the hosting family.  For a young American solider, it lets him or her know that their service is valued and appreciated.  It also gives them a brief glimpse into another way of life and is a welcomed relief from the routine (including meals) of a military base.  For the hosting family, it allows them, including their children, to better understand our military and the commitment these young men and women are making.

What better way to express our gratitude for and share what we have than to host a soldier for Thanksgiving.

Make a donation to, or participate with, a group with this country as its focus.

A non-profit is an organization whose primary objective is something other than the generation of profit. They are typically funded through a mix of individual, private sector, or public (i.e. government) donations. Certain nonprofit’s are exempt from federal income taxation.

Non-profits have different tax rules than those of for-profit organizations. The IRS defines about 30 different types of non-profits under the Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). The non-profits differ in what their primary mission is, the tax laws that apply, and the activities they may or may not participate in.

501(c)(3) non-profits are also called public benefit corporations because they have missions that serve the public.

There are many 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations whose primary mission is an activity that will keep the country stronger. Strong in the sense of safe; Strong in the sense of fair, useful and enforced laws; Strong in the sense of educated citizens; and Strong in the sense of talented leaders with the best interest of the country at heart.

If you find an organization whose mission resonates with you, consider making a donation or offering to volunteer. Donations to these tax exempt organizations can usually be treated as deductions on your tax return.

Provide feedback to the Police Chief and Oversight Boards on positive and negative encounters with Police officers.

Our laws give us the framework for our democracy. However, it’s the enforcement of those laws that make our democracy sustainable.

We have local, state, and Federal law enforcement agencies charged with ensuring these laws are enforced. While most laws are designed to protect society, some are designed to protect individuals under suspicion or charged with breaking the law.

There are thousands of laws and related procedures for enforcing them. Throw in the danger, time commitment, and stress and it’s clear being a law enforcement officer, while hopefully very satisfying, is not an easy job.

Laws need to be applied consistently, fairly, and properly. That is why it is critical to give law enforcement agencies feedback on how they are performing. It’s easy. Call the agency and ask how to provide feedback to the Police Chief or head of the agency if not a police department. So if you have an encounter with a policeman, give the Department feedback. You will feel good, they will appreciate it and it will help our democracy strong.

Seek more pay and better conditions for military persons, veterans, teachers and police officers.

In the case of our military, we need to make sure Veterans are treated better than they have been in the past. A commentary from Rush Limbaugh about the discrepancies between how we are compensating families of the victims of September 11th versus how we pay the families of servicemen killed in action says it all.

In the case of teachers, we need to push for fewer children per classroom.  The ability to teach or to learn diminishes exponentially as the number of children in a classroom increases.  California has a law that restricts the number of children in K – 3 classrooms to 20 and the results have been encouraging.

Send a care package to servicemen overseas.

Can you imagine how nice and encouraging it must be for an American soldier living in difficult conditions in a hostile environment to receive a package of “goodies” from someone they don’t know – along with a note of support!

You’d  be surprised how easy it can be to send a Care Package to a member of our armed forces – just click on Resources below.

Volunteer to help out at your child's school.

In general, public school classrooms are overcrowded.  Managing, much less teaching, 30 to 40 kids in a classroom is a daunting task.

Most teachers welcome parents helping out with classroom tasks such as taking attendance, grading papers, making copies, and providing individual care to certain students.

Volunteering to help out in a classroom also reinforces the importance you place on education with your children and helps give you a better appreciation of what it takes to run a school, manage a classroom, teach students, and the importance of teachers.

Wave to a policeman.

In a society with millions of citizens like the United States, it’s important that we respect each other.

The Constitution suggests that specially trained Americans like the police, FBI agents, etc. enforce laws that we created. Normally, when we talk with policemen, it’s because we may have done something we shouldn’t have. Even though it’s unpleasant for us, it’s also unpleasant for policemen. Explaining to people what they may have done wrong isn’t easy, and they do it all day, every day!

When you wave to a policeman, you are saying, “I understand and appreciate how difficult your job is” and you are thanking them for helping enforce our laws. Just like you would, they do a better job when they feel appreciated, and in addition, the country becomes a safer place to live.

And yes, the same is true for firemen!

Listen to ‘Wave to a Policeman’ song below.