Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What can you do?

I get emails and comments about okay, you have my attention but what can I really do? Many people believe it is useless to get fired up about changing something we don't feel is right. They believe that the government is going to do what it is going to do and we are such small pieces of it that you just frustrate yourself trying. I say baloney.

I am a taxpayer. My voice must be heard. If I say nothing, the powers that be will think I am okay with what is happening. So where do I go, what do I do?

Begin with the internet. Use the resources available to you to do some research. Find out what is really happening. Is the FDA and the chocolate industry really trying to change chocolate? Holy smokes! They really are! But, the FDA wants to hear from me and my friends before they make up their minds.

I go to their site make my comments and then I tell my friends. Please. Go do the same thing. But does it stop there? No. I now move on to my legislators.

Who are they? How do I find out who represents me? You can go here and it will tell you who your representative in your district is for the House of Representatives. Then you can go here to find out about your congressmen are. Now that you know who they are, begin writing letters.

Write letters, emails or simple messages to them voicing your concerns. Keep them short simple and to the point. Address only one issue at a time. Ask them for some feedback and you'll actually get some. I wrote to my congress person, even though I know they don't agree with me on an issue, and let her know I expect her to keep me in mind when deciding on how to vote.

When you and your congress person don't agree is when you really have to represent yourself by mail or email well. Letters that show you are informed and educated on an issue will get you farther than a ranting letter demanding action. Be kind, it'll get you more attention. You do not want to be labeled as the loon in your town.

Next you can dig a bit and go through a few bills waiting to be made laws. Yes, it is tedious, but it is also enlightening. If you know your subject, but not a bill number or who is introducing it, try googling the subject matter. Try something like: cloning bill introduced in congress. You'll get all kinds of leads. Click on a few until you have what you're looking for. There is also a great place to start if you don't want to try google. This site is a favorite of mine. It is the glossary for congressional bills. You start here and there are all kinds of information and click able links for your education on bills before congress.

Once you are satisfied with your search, and letter writing, then take action. You've become schooled in the topic of choice. Tell your family and friends, ask them to lend support.When you're standing in line at the grocery store, strike up a conversation with a stranger and tell them what you've learned. Talk about it whenever you have the opportunity. People will begin to look to you for guidance and then you too will become an advocate.

One person I know is on a first name basis with her legislators. Lisa has been thrust into this world of speaking about subjects she knew very little about a few years ago. She has taken the necessary steps to become involved and educated about subjects that are important to her. She is now looked to as a person to take action and speak when the need arises. She has become a leader in her community.

You too can become a person of change. Try it, you may just walk the halls of congress yourself someday as an advocate for an important cause or two.