At Unpolitically Correct, we strive to be a neutral, non-partisan organization fostering dialogue amongst ordinary citizens of all political beliefs, as well as our media and our government. Ordinary citizens from diverse backgrounds are beginning to join the discussion. Media representatives have started to follow us. However, reaching out to our elected officials has proven to be unnecessarily complicated – unfortunately, this is intentional and by design. And this is a big part of the problem.
Have you ever tried to contact your U.S. Senator or Representative? Good luck. Every Senator has an email address, but if you can find it and send them a message, all but a handful will inform you via auto-response that the account is either unmonitored, or that they have no intention of reading what you have to say, or responding. You can follow your elected officials on Facebook or Twitter, but they won’t follow you back (though they may count you as a number to brag about how many followers they have). If you or your group can provide them with a platform to spin their latest achievements, they will post photos of you all over their social media pages to make it look like they are involved with their constituents. If you try to send a direct message via social media, they won’t respond — you will just be directed to their website. At the website, you may be able to post a message, after which you will be thanked for your interest (gain via auto-response, explaining how the recipient is too busy to read all of their messages), and maybe sooner or later some intern will review it, but you likely won’t get a response.
Since contacting elected officials directly has proven to be fruitless, we have attempted to instead interact with their staffs. Email addresses for congressional staff is information on public record, though it is difficult to find; we’ve made it easy for you (Contact Your Elected Official). We send copies of our articles to the chiefs of staff, communications directors and press secretaries of every sitting U.S. Senator every week. While we don’t expect every recipient to respond, we hope that enough will read to realize that ideas beyond the standard rigid lines in the two-party system are possible. Clearly, we are not the only organization that does this. We recently received a request from a press secretary for a sitting U.S. Senator (a Republican) that we “unsubscribe” him because he “never signed up for” our messages. We are not a subscription service. We are ordinary citizens attempting to engage our elected officials in discussion about current issues that we find important to our country.
While our country has a huge population, and there are a limited number of elected officials, we obviously don’t expect every person to have every request granted, but expecting ordinary voices to be heard is not unreasonable. We recognize that Congress and their staffs are extremely busy, and not every problem can be addressed. But, when only those in the news with the loudest voices, or those donors who write the biggest checks are the ones who get attention, that problem in itself needs to be solved. That these elected officials make it so difficult for ordinary citizens, for ordinary voters, to be heard, is unacceptable. That representatives of these elected officials, especially those whose job it is to communicate with outside organizations, will directly request that they not be contacted is inexcusable. This is just an additional way that our system is broken. Hopefully, if enough of us demand more open dialogue with those that are supposed to represent us and hear from us about what is important to the voters directly from the voters, then maybe we can begin to fix the problem. We all know the issues, so let’s start discussing the solutions, and maybe do something there voters want, instead of doing what their lobbyists want.