If you thought this fight to raise the debt ceiling was tough, you haven’t seen anything yet. Let’s just say the battle lines have been drawn for the 2012 presidential election.

If you really support President Barack Obama, then now is the time for you to – as James Brown would say – get up off yo’ thang and get busy.

President Obama will be in for the fight for his life to get re-elected because now, more than ever, this country is torn apart not just by racial divide, but by ideology. What has played out in the past few weeks is that the “United States of America” then-candidate Obama had hoped for is really now a country torn into pieces: Democrats, Republicans and the Tea Party. The reaction to the agreement this week spells it out clear: The extremist wings of both parties are unhappy, and sadly so, the Tea Party continues to spread despicable, divisive language that has everyone unsettled.

But, this isn’t about the Tea Party, this IS about you. Last week, when the president asked Americans to call and e-mail Congress, they did so in an unprecedented fashion. Tens of thousands of phone calls and e-mails bombarded the Congressional switchboard and e-mails flooded the inboxes of Congressmen and Senators. So, with that lesson at hand, here’s your three-step action plan to get involved and stay involved.

First, today and every day you need to remind our elected officials to whom they’re accountable. If you’re mad as heck against this disingenuous Tea Party rhetoric, track down all those elected officials who they support and start letting them know you stand for an America that is smart, forward-thinking and poised to uphold its stature of greatness. Go to the House.Gov, Senate.gov or the TeaPartyPatriots.org website to express yourself. Back during President George W. Bush’s days, the conservatives rallied behind him when the “liberal media” criticized his wars and tax cuts. We have to do the same to stand up for President Obama.

Secondly, register to vote. Look, it’s not too early. Vote in every local and state election because the conservative ideologues make sure their voices are heard at these levels so that onerous bills like requirements for voter IDs and redistricting are passed.

These right-wing partisans are using very shrewd, but effective methods that could greatly influence the 2012 election. If you stand by and just talk about getting mad with Sen. Mitch McConnell or Rep. John Boehner and the others, than you’re wasting your breath. Supporting candidates who oppose these policies is how you’re going to make a difference at that ballot box – right in your own backyard.

Lastly, put your feet on the street. If you stand behind the president, use your personal network, social networks to share your reasons – and your pocketbooks and wallets – why you want this country has to avoid returning to Bush-era policies that have put this country in the position it’s in today. The {New York Times} recently published a graphic that detailed how the nation rang up $14.2 trillion in debt. Surprise, surprise … most of that combined debt – more than $9 trillion — is from Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and his son.

Unless you want the wrong message to get out, you have to make sure your voices are shouting the spin you want most of America to hear.

Neil Foote is President/CEO of Foote Comunications LLC, a public relations and social media strategy firm. He is also editor of PoliticsInColor.com and a senior lecturer of journalism at the Mayborn School of Journalism.

Neil Foote

Special to the AFRO