- - Saturday, August 16, 2014

Thirty seconds. That’s the amount of time that seemingly all politics boil down to these days.

TV ads, radio ads, sound bytes; all of them thirty seconds or less.

While most Americans rightfully bemoan this relatively new and often partisan phenomenon, there’s another critically important thirty seconds happening over and over in homes, offices, and backyards from Alaska to New Hampshire.

In the same amount of time it takes a fast-talking pundit to “totally destroy” the person sitting across from them in hopes of YouTube clicks and supportive tweets, thousands of volunteers bold enough to donate an hour or two of their time to having conversations with neighbors and families about the issues that will determine the future of our nation.

One day this past week, for example, hundreds of activists with Americans for Prosperity from around the country knocked on over 58,000 doors and made 75,000 phone calls in just a day. That’s right, one day.

These thirty seconds at your friend or neighbor’s front door or on a cell phone can make more than just a headline or a hashtag. They can help shape the future of our great country.

We saw it happen before in Wisconsin, where the work of concerned activists in the Badger State helped usher in a new era of lower taxes, less spending and shared prosperity for citizens at every income level.

We’ve seen it in Michigan, where folks were fed up with Big Labor enjoying the spoils of decades-old, budget busting policies that were killing the state’s economy. They teamed up with AFP activists to help ensure Michigan became a Right-to-Work state—and in doing so, they made it a Right-to-Prosper state, too.

And this personal outreach worked in Virginia, too, where Commonwealthers stood up to Governor Terry McAuliffe when he tried to strong arm the legislature into enacting failed health care policies that provide unacceptable care and stand to swamp states with red ink.

Those are just three examples of groundbreaking policy shifts that have transformed the landscape for families and communities in America, all achieved by citizens who were willing to work together in thirty-second increments.

In short, the grassroots still matter. While it’s true that paid media, like TV ads, play an important role in holding our elected officials accountable, they’re only truly effective when volunteers are driving home the message of freedom and prosperity at doorsteps and on phone lines across America.

We know the adage that all politics is local, but politicians in every state capital are learning the truth of that phrase all over again. Next, it needs to trickle up to the people we’ve entrusted to represent us in Congress. They ought to take a lesson from the states that are turning into beacons of economic freedom because of the grassroots.

Thankfully, the same folks who fought so hard for sweeping economic and labor reforms in Wisconsin, those who made paycheck protection an unlikely reality in Michigan, and the same people who fought for a better future for health care in Virginia, are banding together to bring their message of prosperity and responsible spending where it’s needed most: Washington, D.C. That’s because once people— in these states and others— begin to experience what a little more freedom and opportunity can really do for them, they’ll always demand more.

In Michigan, unemployment has declined steadily over the past several years; in Wisconsin, school districts can save money on overhead and reinvest in the classroom; and in Virginia, taxpayers have avoided hundreds of millions of dollars in liabilities on a Medicaid system that would drown them.

The power of economic freedom is manifest in these policies—so it’s past time for Beltway lawmakers to separate the signal from the noise and embrace them at the federal level, too. Thirty seconds at a time, volunteers across the nation are the ones who could make it happen.

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