By DIANE DIMOND
A few weeks ago, 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.
Well, that doesn’t seem right, does it? If Pelosi controls the House of Representatives, shouldn’t she be responsive to all Americans?
A warning to politicians everywhere: Beware. The tide of apathy is lifting, and dismissive treatment has a way of sticking in a voter’s mind on election day.
From Pat Wittorf in Oklahoma: “As for contacting my representatives, I do that with sufficient regularity that I have a mental image of their staff seeing my email address and muttering, ‘Not her again!’”
A defeated Cindy Merrill appears to have given up trying to get someone to listen to her opinions. “We can’t debate,” she wrote. “If we try we’re called racists.”
A Mr. Gato emailed to say: “They know what we want. And too many of them are too corrupt with their own power and egos to care. We must keep speaking out!”
Carl Morris made an intriguing point by suggesting many of us are victims of “learned helplessness.” He wrote, “The public is being trained/gaslighted into feeling like no matter what they do they are wrong and will be punished, so they may as well give full control to someone else.” Never a good idea, I say.
Messages of political dissatisfaction came in from across America. Yet many expressed determination to keep politicians’ feet to the fire. From Ohio, Robert Runkle advised, “Even if they ignore you keep writing, calling and emailing. Flood their offices with calls and mail!”
Texas Patriot Gal wrote: “We didn’t get into this mess in 1 or 2 cycles. It will take time and diligence to get it back on track, but the freedom in the United States of America is worth fighting for and we can make the changes necessary.”
If you are unhappy with the direction the U.S. is taking, get involved. Write. Call. Demand transparency and a response. And let your politicians know you are a motivated voter.
To find out more about Diane Dimond, visit her website at www.dianedimond.com. Her latest book, “Thinking Outside the Crime and Justice Box,” is available on Amazon.com.