If you are interested in politics or social justice, but you don’t have the kind of platform to introduce legislation or talk on tv, you have a problem heard the suggestion, call your representative, and tell them your grievances. If you are under 18 and can’t vote (LIKE ME) oftentimes, it’s hard to actively effect change. However, ads and Instagram are not slow to let you know that you can call congress or your elected officials. But how effective is that? I honestly never thought about the process or effect that calling congress does. Now I know that it’s not that simple. In this post, I’m going to cover the behind the scenes process of calling an elected official, the history of it, and whether or not it’s worth it. After all, if it’s our right to advocate for ourselves and our ideas, then maybe we should know more about it.
disclaimer: when I say congressmen, I am using it as a gender-neutral term instead of limiting it to congressmen or congresswomen.
where did this start? It is a part of the constitution, so it’s your right to call congress. This article goes into detail on the entire history and I recommend reading it if you want a clearer view.
what has changed since it became a law? A major change that has occurred, since it became law is the change in technology. It used to be about meeting an elected official or sending mail, but with phones and email, it’s become a lot easier to contact congressmen. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means that more people are voicing their opinions and there aren’t enough people to hear them all.
what happens when I call congress? It’s kind of complicated but this article does a great job of explaining the process from the minute you call to the point when you talk to someone.
the big question. Does calling your representative or senator work? As I said, it’s not that simple. It’s not impossible to reach an elected official, however, it’s not that likely either. There are many cases where people have made a change as a result of talking to an elected official. It also helps when congressmen know that a lot of people care about a certain cause, even if they don’t get a chance to talk to you.
what do I do if I want to try? You can use THIS LINK to find your representative and then you can go to their website and find their contact info. You can use THIS LINK to contact your senator. I also recommend looking at THIS LINK if you are still confused because it has almost all the resources you need for contacting an elected official.
what are my other options? If you still want to help or make a change but don’t want to try your luck with contacting someone, there are still several things you can do. YOU CAN VOTE!!!! (if you’re eligible) I say this alllll of the time, but if you can vote or if you are eligible to vote, VOTE. Or register to vote!!! However, if you are not able to vote, you can still protest, write, educate, sign petitions, volunteer, or work towards becoming an elected official.
I think it’s really exciting that this post has nothing to do with the coronavirus. Although, the topic and outcome might not be that positive, hopefully, I didn’t crush anyone’s dreams. This is my final note that, it’s your right to call Congress or an elected official. Just because there is a chance that it might not work, doesn’t mean it’s not worth it to try to do something, especially if it’s your only viable option. However, there are other long term ways to act, like volunteering or starting a blog that shares insight such as this. Or maybe it’s something a simple as making sure your neighbors have access to voter registration resources. Progress is progress and effort is just half of it.
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