Now the relationship begins. The communication. The e-mails. The phone calls. The snail mail. The Tweets and FB updates.
“We The People” means just that: it is the people of this country who have the power, the duty, the priviledge to guide those whom they elect to bring about a nation that embraces and reflects the diversity of its population. That guidance cannot take place just once every two, four, or six years behind the privacy screens of the voting booths. That guidance must be ongoing and can take place from the privacy and comfort of your own home. Here’s what we can all do, everyone who lives in this great nation, regardless of nationality, citizenship, voter registration status. You live in this country, you have “skin in the game,” in the well-being and success of how this country is governed. It’s as simple as that.
First: make a list of all the elected officials who represent you, your family, your community. Include those who represent you at the federal level, the state level, the county level, the municipal level. With the internet, it’s not that difficult to find out who those representatives are. Here are a few links, just to get you started:
To contact the President and Vice President of the United States, click here.
To find out how to contact your federal Senators, click here.
To find out how to contact your Congressional Representative, click here.
When you’re making your comments online, make sure you select a category that most closely matches your area of concern and always tick off the “response requested” option. With all the thousands of e-mails these people receive, will you get a response? Here’s my experience: Yes, you will eventually get a general form letter, not necessarily responding directly to your concerns but explaining the representative’s position on the issue. So what’s the value of this exercise? You become a statistic. Not a statistic that’s pulled out of the air by pundits, but a real one. A real, live, concerned individual who gives feedback, and helps shape that representative’s policy-making decisions in real time.
Once a week, select someone from your list and communicate with her/him. Let your representative know what’s on your mind, what your concerns are, what you think should be done, whether you agree or disagree with the position your representative has taken. Always respectfully. This is not about making an accusation. This is about working together to ensure we are all represented in some way.
As much as we make elections about winners and losers, that’s a fallacy. Whoever wins the most votes and, hence, the election, is tasked with the job of representing EVERYONE, not just those who voted her/him into office. It is a joint responsibility. A responsibility shared by the constituency and its representatives. Your representatives can only be as effective in fulfilling their responsibilities as the constituency is responsible in fulfilling theirs.
Yesterday a choice was made. Whether you chose to vote or not. Whoever you chose to vote for. You chose. Now keep choosing.