Lots of people seem to be upset with various aspects of American life, from education and healthcare to the economy and domestic surveillance. Mostly we gripe about it and that’s it. But there’s one simple thing we can all do that will actually help (more than doing nothing) and that is to write to your congressmen about it. It may be true that no one is addressing your concerns, but you’ll have a better argument if you’ve at least told people about it. More importantly, there are starting to be problems where it’s a bit like “speak now or forever hold your peace.” Or maybe, “now or never.”
Sometimes, of course, it doesn’t seem necessary. For instance, your favorite representative has just issued a press release to which you say “Hear, hear!” Why write if you already know they agree with you? Because if you don’t, they won’t know what you think. And if they don’t know what you think, yea or nay, they won’t know who they represent, which is essential to knowing how to represent them. We don’t call them elected representatives for nothing.
The benefit to your representatives is that they can ascertain how much people care about an issue and whether there’s a clear majority opinion on it. It can let them know how they’re doing overall. And it gives them ammo when they’re actually fighting for us on something we all care about.
Speaking of things we care about, there’s a rather huge issue brewing on the government surveillance and internet and phone privacy. However you stand on the matter, here’s one of those “now or never” situations where it might be a good idea to let your congressman and senators know how you feel. According to a Guardian story, some members of Congress are starting to get riled and debate is almost assured. Our representatives need to know where we stand if we want our views taken into consideration at all. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of guys talking amongst themselves and that’s not democracy.