I hear the same complaint all the time. I hear it on talk radio, on the Sunday television talking heads interviews, waiting in line at the grocery store or getting prescriptions filled and in conversations with friends. Time and again people complain that their vote makes no difference and they have no say in what goes on in Washington. They have it all wrong as our vote is seldom the deciding factor in any election, but there is a better way to be heard and heeded in Washington. Some of my friends and I have got this idea and we wish to share it and enlist your help. Together we can change government in Washington, and this also would work at the state and local level just as well if not better. All it will take is a few days of talking, tweeting, Facebook posts, ICQ, e-mail, texting, or even using the phone to call people, or if you’re really brave, talking to people in person. The best starting point is friends and family which happen to share your political outlook. You get a few friends; three is enough to get your own lobbying group started. You draw up a questionnaire with as few as three or as many political subjects you can think of and get anyone willing to help to simply fill out one. On the form you list the subjects you wish to influence and whether you support or oppose the idea. An example might be, “I want to repeal Obama Care,” or “I am in favor of requiring showing a picture ID in order to vote.” Have a check list for agree and disagree and give it to a few friends or paste it on your Facebook page and invite those you have friended to take the survey. Collect a fair number, at least five but the more the merrier.
Once you have a small group who agree on each subject they will serve as your core group, the seed group from which you expand. You can make a group for each issue or you might decide to stress just one issue, it will work either way. Then you have your core group send the same questions, or whatever subject you all agree with, to friends and gather more into your group. This will be most effective if your group all live in the same voting district, or at least the same state, but that is not hard and fast required. You organize and take turns watching the news and reading up and look for any legislation which the group has a consensus about and then you take action. Once you decide to act, everybody in the group should call to the local office of your Representative in the House of Representatives and both State Senators and express your views. The local office is usually easier to reach and they will contact your elected official when they get sufficient numbers contacting them on an issue. The staff of elected officials place great weight on contacts as most of their constituents never bother to contact them. The rule of thumb is for every person that contacts the office they figure that person represents approximately one-thousand others who did not call. So, you can see what effect having ten or twenty people call them on any single issue.
On issues you have extremely strong feeling about, you might consider not only calling their office, e-mailing their office, but also make the effort to go in person and talk with them. If your group decides that a face-to-face visit is necessary, space your visits out over two to three weeks depending on how many of you there are. Secondly, have some of you go in small groups of two to five and some as single visitors, this will have a greater affect as it will make it seem like people are talking and taking action together as well as separately. All the while you continue to collect more people into your group. I believe you see where this is going. You might even eventually gather people from not only your home area but extend your actions over a wider area. With social media one could make a national grassroots lobbying group and have a large influence on the future of the country. Furthermore, since these contacts will be done at the local level, you will find you have more sway and influence than those high paid lawyers and ex-Congress-critters that work and live on K Street just off Connecticut Avenue in Washington D.C.
This is the idea behind such groups as AARP, the Sierra Club, and many Unions who all claim to represent thousands of people simply because they have these people on their mailing lists. The difference is that since you are contacting your elected official as an individual, they know for a fact that you are one guaranteed voter who likely will vote even if there is a blizzard. You may want to name your group but you never want to use this name when contacting your elected officials’ offices. You will have more clout contacting them as individuals until you grow your group into thousands and thousands of voters and have met the requirements to file as an official lobbying group. Trust me when I say you will wish to avoid such action, that is unless you think you can make a living doing so. Since that would require moving to the Washington D. C. area, I will bet most will be happy just to maximize their influence and keep things comfortably manageable. This is not something brand new which has not been done before and many will read this and say that this is already being done in your area. My question to those is, “Are you in such a group and if not what influence do you have? If you know of such a group, then join it and add your voice, each one counts like thousands, loud and firm.”
The sole reason I am even writing about this is not because it is a revolutionary idea but because if I influence just a dozen people to take the time and act on this then our government will be better serving the people. I hope those who I do activate agree with my views more than disagree. Where this has been done for years even at local levels, I have not heard of many small individual private groups which are not members of some club, organization, religious group, or some form of a structured setting doing such work. I know of many people who do this kind of politicking on their own and it is these people who would likely benefit most of having a bug in their ear telling them to broaden their influence by trying this. With the explosion of social networking and other electronic communications making people being in touch and organizing as easy as making a Facebook page, a Facebook friends grouping, a tweet circle, an e-mail list, a chat room, Skype conferencing, or whatever your imagination can invent to keep everyone up on the latest actions; who knows what you might start by giving this a shot. The worst that could happen is you become more active and have at least some amount of influence in our governance and you might even make a few new friends along the way.
Beyond the Cusp