Here we are, post election, and it’s politics as usual. Under the looming threat of falling off the proverbial “fiscal cliff,” our nation’s leaders have holed-up in Washington in between holidays to iron out some of the biggest issues facing our nation’s future.
Doesn’t give you a lot of confidence, does it? It’s kind of like watching aggravated parents squabble over finances while siblings fight for the TV remote control. Money and power. Just like every other household in America.
But the Capital is not a household, and the members who sit in those seats are not people we have to accept because they were born into our family. They are elected officials whose job is to represent the majority of their constituents. Not the wealthiest. Not the most verbal. And not just the people who participate in polls.
“The Polls Say…”
When was the last time you were asked to participate in a poll? Okay, you were probably solicited non-stop in the months leading up to the election, but normally how often do you get hit up for your opinion on taxes and government spending? And consider this: How likely is it that people willing to interrupt their dinner to respond to an automated survey phone call represent your views?
The fact is, electing a particular politician to office is just the first step. When you consider our recent fiscal crises, it’s likely that the majority of Americans– regardless of which side of the fence they fall on–are willing to accept a compromise in order to move the nation forward. But the details of that compromise are far ranging–just about any issue can get tossed into the legislation. So how do you know the things that are important to you will be represented in legislative discussions?
If you leave those decisions up to the politicians, you may be disappointed with the outcomes. Their opinions do not matter as much as ours–the people they represent. In trying to follow the voice of their constituents, they’re only as knowledgeable as the people they hear from. The lobbyists. The wealthiest of the wealthy who hold fundraisers for their campaigns. And vocal extremists who annoy you with political discussions at holiday parties and write long letters to their congressmen.
You could consider jumping into the fray yourself. Thanks to the pervasive influence of the internet and social media, all Congressmen have websites set up for you to send comments (see link below to find yours). You could drop them a line telling them what you think. It might help.
Being a citizen and a taxpayer of the United States is a little like being a company shareholder–and our legislators are our board members. We’ve read lots of stories of when board members have fallen down on the job of managing public companies, and other stories wherein their influence has proven effective.
So consider yourself a shareholder of your local, state, and federal government. They probably could use your insights right about now.
to read, “Congressional Staff Believe Constituents Are More Influential Than Lobbyists,” at Congressional Management Foundation, January 26, 2011.]
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