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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
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Complaining About Government

Over the years, I have written a couple of times relating to people complaining about politicians and the performance of government. The other day, I said to my audience, I have two questions. With the first question, I want you to raise your hand if you do not feel government is operating correctly.

Every hand in the audience was raised immediately!

My next question started with a request that no hands should be raised, and I asked the audience to just think about what I have asked. The question was, “Who has attended a Republican or Democratic political event in the last year?”

As I finished the question, several people in the audience squirmed in their seats and some looked at their spouse, speaking softly. Clearly, people complain and do not do anything to correct the complaints.

As I personally reflected on my two questions, I thought about the questions a little deeper than I had in the past. These thoughts were not a part of the discussion at the event. But, the more I thought about correcting what is wrong in our country – no matter what side of the political aisle you sit on – the deeper became my concern as to whether, today, it makes any difference in being a participant.

Do elected officials listen to their local political club? Does even making a political contribution make a difference anymore?

With 24/7 cable news, I wonder if the reporters asking questions have more influence than the average voter – even the voter who is active in the elected official’s own political party?

This column is not to put down participation. I still think that showing up in the right places can make a difference. As a volunteer, a person can get to know the people who do make a difference.

Another way to influence elected officials is through letter writing or emails to the official’s office – not just one letter. It takes many letters, and that is something you can do by organizing your friends, who are in agreement on an issue, to all write or email the elected official. As the letters pile up in an office, believe me, they get attention – particularly if they are all from the same area.

One final point. The number of lobbyists in our state and federal capitals are around your elected officials and their staffs day in and day out. You are not there with the same presence unless you get committed to make a difference. And that takes an effort, which many people are just not ready for at this present time.

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