Check liberal or conservative media sources and you will find one common agreement: Americans are unhappy with the way our government is working, especially congress. What is wrong and who is to blame? The Republicans will point to democratic policies as the reason. Democrats will blame republicans for hindering policy. We elected these officials so is it our fault? The answer is not that simple and may surprise you.
Let’s get out the obvious. A ‘good’ election turn out is one in which 50% of the registered voters show up in a presidential election. In non presidential elections, the turn out is usually around 35% of the potential voters. In the last non presidential election in 2006, there were 220 Million Americans old enough to vote. Only 135 Million of them actually registered to vote and 80 Million actually turned out to vote. Would more votes solve the problem? Probably not.
How often do we see talking points and rhetoric being spread around the internet? While some of this information has merit, most of it is factually untrue or distorted. We often hear talking points from both political parties rather than actual concise legislative ideas. Does every republican believe the healthcare reform plan is a bad idea? Did every democrat believe the George W Bush’s Social Security plans were a bad idea? In an effort to constantly get back power in congress, our leaders play against each other rather than work together.
Does our vote matter? It does only if you fulfill a simple task. We need to communicate to our congressional representatives. Sending your representatives emails or making calls to their office ultimately will force them to make decisions on behalf of the people. Our congressional leaders know that if they upset the majority of registered voters, their political careers could be short lived. This does work and I have seen many examples of our congressional leaders changing their stance based on popular opinion.
Do I have time to do this? Yes you do! It’s a very simple process of identifying your reps and then sending an email or making a call. If you call, most often you will speak to a staffer. Tell them you are a registered voter and voice your concerns. Be specific in your correspondence. Let them know where you stand on important issues and explain that your vote hinges on how well they match up with your stance.
Here is a simple link to find your congressional members.
What is the truth and details on the issues in front of Congress…stay tuned.