Categorized | Opinion

Now Hold Them Accountable

The Republicans won, which is great for them, probably better for us, but it remains the duty of each citizen to hold their elected representatives accountable.

Most voters do not believe that there is anything they can do, besides to vote, to hold their representatives accountable. I would like to offer three simple things that every citizen can do to influence their elected officials.

  1. Pay attention to legislation as it is brought up before Congress or the General Assembly. Search for articles explaining the legislation, read over the legislation itself, and/or find someone that you trust and who is knowledgeable about the legislation and ask them questions. Knowledge is power. You need to understand what a bill really is before you call your elected official. They will NEVER tell you this (your elected officials, that is), but due to their average experience with opinionated, yet ill-informed constituents, our elected officials do not hold their own constituencies in the highest regard. Watch their campaign ad’s and you can just tell that they must think most of their constituents are ignorant. So, step 1, don’t be ignorant. This doesn’t take as much time as you might imagine. There are hundreds of resources on the Internet to help you; and as long as our President doesn’t nationalize the Internet, they will continue to be available.

  2. Call your representative. The person answering the phones will know if you know what you’re talking about. If an office receives sincere thoughtful calls for or against a bill in sufficient volume, it can and does have an effect on how your representative votes. Do not make idle threats. Save your “If my representative votes for X, then I’ll vote for someone else” for those times when you actually mean it. Simply demonstrate that you understand the bill and why you are against it. It’s essentially your way of casting your vote with your Representative on that piece of legislation. Congressmen and Delegates have all sorts of individuals and organizations in their ear 24/7, telling them what to do and what not to do. You have every right to be one of those voices and your Congressmen and Delegates have phone lines kept open for you to cast your vote.

  3. When a representative has voted on a bill that you disagreed with, take every opportunity to let his or her office know that you remember that vote, that you see the negative impact of that vote, and that you never, ever want to see your representative make that kind of vote again. You see, the American People have shockingly short attention spans. A Congressmen or Delegate can be assured that half of the people that call and caution against X, Y, or Z, will have forgotten all about that vote three weeks later, and will, when the next election comes about, return to a flag waving fan of the Republican Party. Republican Party Good. Democrat Party Bad. Do not forget the bad votes. Do not forget to remind your representatives that you remember.

These are simple things that could be summed up in greater brevity by saying: 1. Pay attention. 2. Communicate. 3. Keep Communicating. That’s active citizenship – and the only kind of free America that will survive the world we live in, is an America built on the active participation of its’ citizens.

About Steven Brodie Tucker

Graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Also studied economics and political science at George Mason.

One Response to “Now Hold Them Accountable”

  1. Smith III says:

    How about some links that will help people obtain their reps contact info?


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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