Friday, February 1, 2008

Influencing national policy

When it comes to voting for a town mayor or a local official, your vote counts for a lot. When you're trying to influence national policy, your 1/300,000,000 share of the the popular vote probably counts for less than your 1/10,000 (or whatever) share of the people who bother to contact your elected representatives on a particular issue. (This share could be smaller or larger, depending upon how much media interest there is in the issue.) I've written to my congressional representatives before via email (Senator Hatch's office has been very good at responding), but I recently stumbled upon the NSS's guidelines for Contacting Your Elected Representatives - The Basics. They are good enough that I feel I should pass along the link, and highlight two points:

1.) Identify yourself as a constituent and ask to speak with the member of the staff responsible for researching and tracking the senator/representative's position on your particular issue... Due to the demands members of Congress face, the staffer will likely know more about the issue anyway. [And the Senator's position will lean heavily upon the staffer's view. -Max]

2.) If you do not know the senator/representative's position, ask what it is and offer factual evidence why she or he should support your view. [emphasis added]

This second point is just basic human theory. If you want people to listen to you, you have to listen to them first.



"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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