Readers to Politicians: You're Not Listening!
In March 2020, this column focused on the need for citizens who are unhappy with the state of our political and justice systems to speak up about their concerns.
Your opinion can't be counted if you stay silent, I wrote. Or as one of my readers put it, "We now have the government that we have earned but not the government our children deserve."
Apathetic mainstream voters have allowed a minority of outspoken activists to dominate the national conversation on myriad topics: defunding police, immigration, selective prosecutions, federal spending and lots more divisive issues. I urged citizens to get in touch with elected officials so all views can be considered.
Well, judging from the amount of mail I've gotten, citizens are, indeed, contacting their representatives. The problem? Politicians are ignoring them.
"I email my U.S. Senators frequently to encourage them, or at least make them aware that there are other points of view out there," Sara Karl wrote. "I have not got a response in over a year, not even their form letters." Karl believes her elected officials are too consumed with reelection to care about what she thinks.
"Same here in N.J.," wrote L. Grace. "I do get a response, but it is a canned, elitist political speech extolling the vapid virtues of the very thing I am writing against."
Steve Robel in North Carolina declared that voters absolutely must "Hold them accountable while they are in office." Robel supports term limits.
Gregstocks2005 emailed to say: "Our government officials both local and federal, are nothing more than echo chambers, busy listening to one another. They are not interested in either their constituents' voices, or the voices of common people."
And Reader Thomas Spencer appears ready to give up trying to contact his representatives. "With little or no response from them I know they do what they like," he says. "Most of the time I receive an email justifying their actions with the invisible middle finger hidden in the words." Ouch.
So, what are the citizens supposed to do when their own member of Congress won't listen or respond? Reader Sally Grave said she wrote directly to the speaker of the House. "I have tried to contact Pelosi to complain about her actions but because I am not a resident of California I cannot," she said.