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The November election left many in our country relieved and happy and many others frustrated and discontent, even disenfranchised.

It's typical of any election, but this election has divided our country more than any other in recent memory.

If you're one of the many people who is frustrated with the national political landscape, you might be tempted to throw in the towel. Perhaps you feel your vote — along with any other efforts you've made — have all been in vain.

But you're reading this, so we suspect you care about your country and how it governs its people. So allow us to make a suggestion: Don't give up. Don't give up on your country, and don't give up on your ability to affect change.

However, to make a difference, you might consider starting locally.

Enacting change at the local level isn't always easy, but it's a heck of a lot easier than doing so on the national level. Anyone who has received form-letter responses from their congressional representatives can attest to this. That's not an indictment of any particular Congress member. They do it as a practical way to save time as they represent sometimes millions of constituents.

So, consider attending a City Council or County Commission meeting to brush up on how your government is operating. The city is routinely seeking members to fill out its boards, commissions and committees, which mostly serve in an advisory capacity.

You could also contact your local-, county- or state-elected officials and let them know how you feel about a particular issue. We publish contact information for local/county officials routinely on this page.

Another possibility: Testify at Capitol committee hearings. Missourians drive from all parts of the state to testify on bills being considered by the Legislature each year. Most of us could drive there in five to 10 minutes.

Finally, consider serving for elected office. Filing for five Jefferson City Council seats and two local school board seats is currently open. Filing ends Jan. 19.

Regardless of your political beliefs or how you feel about politics at the national level, don't give up on seeking good government. But consider focusing more of your energy locally, where it's easier to affect change.

News Tribune

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