Monday, November 30, 2009

A Final Hurrah!

In less then two weeks exams will start, and we all know what a crazy time of year that is! So before school winds up for the year of 2009, you should get in one last FUN event-- and Democracy Matters is prepared to offer you just that!
Democracy Matters is bringing Channing Tatum to a movie screen near you! More specifically-- the Chapel Undercroft next Monday (December 7) at 6 PM. Refreshments will be served at 5:45 PM... and by now, if you've been to any of our past events, you should know we don't scrimp on sweets! (Lofthouse cookies, anyone??) So come out and enjoy the show!
This movie is very timely. Tomorrow, Barrack Obama is expected to announce a huge increase in troops to Iraq. Given that there is not a parallel influx of new recruits, that means a lot of soldiers are going to be sent for their second, third, even fourth tour of duty to the Middle East. This can have greater implications than just being sent over after they've already served. NPR recently did a report about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-- I'd strongly encourage you to google it) and they found that it significantly increased in soldiers who hadn't had adequate time to integrate back into their home environment before they were shipped off again. On a more personal level, my brother is about to be sent to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty in the Middle East-- he's already served in Iraq. I'm sure there are a lot of you who are concerned for soldiers that you personally know. I think seeing Stop-Loss will help to put this in perspective as we discuss the war and its implications.

Hope to see you there!
December 7 @ 6 PM, Chapel Undercroft

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Health Care Reform

House passes Health Care Reform Bill

Just to update you all on Health Care Reform, on Nov, 8th 2009 the House of Reps passed the bill by a vote of 220 to 215. This is the first time that major health care legislation has passed in either house of Congress since Medicare was created in 1965.

Check out the links to find out more info about the passing of the Health Care Reform Bill

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


"We all need somebody to lean on..."
As you reflect on the today's blog title and the above lyrics (with a nod to The Beatles and The Temptations, respectively) think about a greater application in today's world: Health Care Reform.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2007 (their most recent data) 46 MILLION Americans went without health insurance. That's roughly 18% of the population.

Either way you look at this statistic-- whether you have sympathy for the 46 million, or see it as 18% of the population indirectly costing YOU more money-- something has got to give.

Obama talks a lot. He's a talky guy. He's talked a lot about health care, too. It's hard to differentiate between his talking and what is actually going to be passed through congress. That is where we (Calvin College Democracy Matters) come in.

Join us October 8, 2009 at 4 PM in the Chapel Undercroft (take the stairs down to the Chapel basement) for a panel featuring professors discussing the proposed reform. Bring your questions, your thirst for knowledge and your hunger for ice cream.

See you there, citizen!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Today is the last day of summer. Although its a little bittersweet, I know this new semester is going to be great. We're fired up to hit the ground running (two cliches in one sentence!), and hope you'll join us at our events in an effort to spread awareness and involvement in political issues.
Since many of you are reading this for the first time, let me give a brief explanation about us.
We are a non-partisan student organization on the campus of Calvin College. Our mission is to educate, inform and involve students in political issues. Being non-partisan DOESN'T mean we don't have opinions-- we certainly do. We feel however that in order to have an educated opinion, you should know the other side of the topic, and so we strive to present an accurate view of both sides.
So what "issues" are we talking about?
Pretty much anything and everything you can think of can be connected back to politics. We're all about finding issues that students care about, and then connecting these issues to tangible ways to make a difference and get your voice out there. For example, there are a lot of students who are concerned about the environment. Our government has a system of laws, rules and regulations in place so that the environment is protected. Often these aren't good enough. But the only way to fix things both long term and widespread is to go through the government. Getting your voice heard over those of powerful companies and corporations can be difficult, which is why one of the biggest goals of the national organization of Democracy Matters ( is to get money from special interest groups (i.e. a huge oil company like BP or Shell) out and the voice of the people back in (i.e. the Fair Elections Now act-- google it!). These special interest groups expect that the politicans they support financially will in turn support THEM when it comes time to making laws. Not a good trade-off for your average Jill.
So that, in a nutshell, is what DM is all about-- giving you the tools to get out there and make a difference. You really can have an impact on what goes on in Washington. This is not a group for idealists. Its a group for the everyday student to have a voice. Our government exists to serve US-- you and me! Shouldn't we have a say in how we're being served?

I hope you'll stop by our booth tomorrow at Cokes n Clubs to meet some of our leaders and grab a tasty treat. Our first general meeting is September 10 at 4 PM in the Commons Lecture Hall. Don't know where that is? Ask a random student. Its a great converstaion starter.
Two other dates to keep in mind:
Sept. 17: Constitution Day. 4 pm Commons Lecture Hall, come for cake and a fun game!
October 8: Health Care Reform Panel discussion-- this promises to be a very interesting and informative discussion. Bring any questions you have about this new system!

Well thats all for now folks! Have a happy Tuesday!
Change Elections. Change America.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Do you believe you can change the world with your own two hands? On April 20th at 7:00pm in the Meeter Center, come listen to three Calvin students share some information on environmental issues and what you as a Calvin students can do to make a difference. Special guest, Dr. Joan Mandle, Executive Director of national non-partisan organization Democracy Matters, will share about the power of student activism and political involvement. So grab a friend and come hear how you can make a difference in honor of Earth Day. Delicious local treats with vegan options will be served. All are Welcome!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Maxed Out"

On Wednesday April 15 at 7:00pm in the Alumni Board Room, join non-partisan student organization Democracy Matters in viewing the award-winning documentary “Maxed out.”

“Maxed Out takes viewers on a journey deep inside the American style of debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. With coverage that spans from small American towns all the way to the White House, the film shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of "preferred customer" and tells us why the poor are getting poorer while the rich keep getting richer. Hilarious, shocking and incisive, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us."

Following the documentary will be a short discussion and information on how you can take action. All are welcome. For more information regarding the documentary visit

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Your signature on a bar of soap!

According to, in the 2008 Congressional elections, 90% of the contests were won by the best funded candidates. An average seat in the United States Senate Cost 6.5 million dollars. In the House of Representatives an average seat went for 1.1 million dollars. I am not sure what you are thinking, but I thought we were in a recession? Looking at the costs of campaigns it does not reflect the financial struggles of the average American. Perhaps, that is because less than 1% of the average American gives more than $100 to Congressional campaigns. If the cost of the campaigns is not enough to make you want to take a stand, lets think about it in a new way.

All these contributions are coming from large corporations,lobbyists, and special interests groups. Seems fair right? I would argue not. These large donors, donate money to candidates. In return Candidates feel indebted to these individuals and organizations. Do not believe me? Take for example Prescription drug companies. For several years individuals have been urging for lower prescription drug prices. However, legislation continues to pass supporting the prescription drug companies and not the American people. Why would our government support drug companies over citizens. Perhaps it is the fact that over 92 million dollars has been contributed to federal campaigns in the last 15 years from Prescription drug companies.

Yet, big money has further implications. Ever notice that in the United States Senate there are few women and even fewer minority members. Perhaps this is because only particular individuals have access to money and connections to actually run a competitive campaign. What if campaigns were run on the basis of issues and policies and not the amount of money?

Have you had a conversation with your U.S. Senator lately? Ever feel like your Representative is not representing your district? Maybe, it is because they are worried about raising money for the next election. Perhaps it is because they are having dinner with large donors and instead of returning emails to constituents.

Sounds like it is time for a change in our election system. How about a publicly funded system? A system that would limit the amount of money spent on campaigns. A system that would prevent big money from buying influence. A system that allows for more individuals to run a competitive campaign. A system that does not discriminate by the size of your wallet.

It may seem like there is a lot of problems in the United States government. However, being critical but apathetic solves little. How about taking a stance and backing it with action. We can make a difference!

Monday March 2 and Tuesday March 3 take a stance against big money. Visit the Democracy Matters Table in Johnny's 10:30am to 1:30pm and let your voice be heard. You will have the opportunity to sign a bar of soap. This soap will be sent to the Michigan members of Congress asking them to "Clean up elections" and support publicly funded elections.

Change Elections. Change America.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Soap and Numbers Campaign - Round 2

The 2008 Election was an exciting and competitive election. However, money became a dominating factor of the election. Citizens saw some the most expensive campaigns in United States History. Not only did the Presidential election prove to be costly, but also the Congressional elections brought a hefty price tag.

Where did most of this money come from…? The answer: Not from average citizens but instead from private donors and big corporations. How is the voice of the American people supposed to be heard if it is drown out by the large wallets of a few individuals?

As a citizen of the United States, I urge you to take action; let your voice be heard. Apathy will not make a difference, but advocacy will. In the following weeks, you will see posters hanging around campus. These posters will have facts and statistics from the 2008 Congressional elections. Take a moment to read these posters and ponder the information presented. Then the first week in March take action. Join Democracy Matters in Johnny’s the Dining halls and Dorms to write your members of Congress and urge them to support Clean Elections. It is time to get the money out and the people back in. “Change Elections, Change America”

For more information on Clean Elections:

For more information on the Soap and Numbers Campaign: