Oftentimes it can seem as though our elected officials ignore our opinions and treat us as meaningless and indifferent - like we don't matter to them, because we don't care.
But the fact remains, as it has for more than two centuries, that this is our government. Elected officials must answer to us. Many of them understand that if they ignore the wishes of We the People, they do so at their own peril.
Likewise, we citizens have a responsibility to let our members of Congress know where we stand on issues we feel important. I think one of the many reasons members of Congress and others in government often ignore our wishes is because we don't let them know what's on our minds. If elected officials don't hear from us, how will they know whether they're voting with the wishes of their constituents?
In that spirit, earlier this week (before the Capitulation) I took the opportunity to contact the office of Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, to discuss some of the goings-on in Washington. Below lies a very rough transcript of what I, Scott (S), discussed with the Senator's aide (A).
A: Senator Carl Levin’s office.Silence is assumed to equal assent. Don't be silent. Our elected officials need to hear from us. Pick up the phone, write a letter... just do something to let your members of Congress how you feel. Start by visiting Senate.gov and House.gov Otherwise, you're just giving them an excuse to neglect you.
S: Hi, my name is Scott Urbanowski, and I'm calling because I wanted to share a few of my thoughts and ask a couple of questions regarding some of the goings-on in Washington.
S: First of all, could you please send my kind regards to the Senator for his efforts to end credit card abuse, and also for the American Manufacturing Initiative.
A: Sure will.
S: Now, I understand the Senator voted against Feingold-Reid, and wanted to know why.
A: Feingold-Reid was actually an amendment to a water resources bill. Had it passed, President Bush would have vetoed the entire water resources bill, and Levin didn’t want the entire bill vetoed just because of that. The Senator does remain committed to ending the war
S: Also, what is the status of the 100 Hour Plan bills passed by the House in January? Have any of them passed the Senate?
A: Do you have a specific one in mind?
S: Yes, I was wondering about the status of the bill that would reduce student loan interest rates.
A: Let me look that up.
(a moment later)
A: My computer is running a little slow. I'll give you a website where you can check the status of any piece of legislation: It's at Congress.gov.
S: Okay, I'll check it out. Thank you very much.
A: You're welcome.