Spring 2004 Midterm

Essay by uhsoccer4College, Undergraduate April 2004

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United States citizens often believe that politics are only for the elite with superior educations and grand amounts of money. The authors of Texas Politics Individuals Making a Difference suggest otherwise in numerous occasions. Our constitution was drafted so that power is distributed not only amongst government, but also amongst citizens. The "peaceful, typical" citizens of Hickory Creek, Texas were underestimated by their city government. When the Hickory Creek Council was considering an indoor-outdoor soccer facility, Blue Sky Soccer Arena, the citizens quickly showed their concern by attending the council meeting. After the plan was approved by the council, the residents became concerned of the impact that the facility would have on the environment and on the traffic that the small suburban town was so used to. The example that they give everybody is that they weren't intimidated by the government even though they were outvoted. The inhabitants not only based their protests on what they thought was good for Hickory Creek, they actually researched and contacted people that were experts in the situation such as the Army Corps of Engineers.

What is to admire is that they worked together as a team to accomplish their goal. They had a person go to Austin and research the financing, a former mayor learn about the costly sewer system, two people created a web page, some ran ads, a man printed t-shirts to raise money, and many contacted people by phone, and went door-to-door canvassing. The residents were able to halt the project by presenting them with their information. The protesters realized that even the smallest group of people can have an impact on their city, while the government learned not to underestimate their residents.

The authors define political participation as "any activity that seeks to influence public decisions." You do not...