We elect people to represent us, but they can’t properly represent us if we don’t tell them what we want.
Many people feel disenchanted and disengaged in politics in today’s world, and that fact has been made abundantly clear by the lowest voter turn out in 20 years in the last election. Regardless of how you feel the election turned out, it’s important to realize that, as a citizen, you have a lot more power than you think; you just have to exercise it. We elect officials to represent us, but they can’t possibly do their job if they don’t have a clear understanding of what ordinary citizens, just like you and me, really want. But how do you get them to listen?
Writing letters is still the best way to express your concerns to an elected official.
Although Twitter and Facebook have made it abundantly easy to directly contact our governors, senators, congressmen and other elected representatives, these platforms aren’t the most productive places to share your thoughts and opinions; they’ll just get lost in the noise. If you feel strongly about something, the best way to get your message across and actually be heard is through a letter. Letters, particularly handwritten ones, show that you care about the issue enough to take the time to sit down and write about it. Plus, you aren’t limited to 140 character limit in letters; you have enough space to truly express yourself and your feelings.
A few tips for writing letters to your elected officials:
- Be polite – Believe it or not, if you want to be persuasive, you also need to be courteous and polite. When you let your anger get the better of you, it leaves less room for facts. Avoid using profanity and vulgarity in your letter, and even if you don’t agree with any of the person’s actions or ideas, don’t stoop to insulting the person. Instead, present a logical, factual account of your beliefs and your concerns.
- Be brief – Once you take out all of the anger and profanities, you’ll probably find that you don’t need to write three full pages, front and back, to get your point across. In most cases, you can construct an eloquent, detailed letter about your concerns in just a few paragraphs. Remember that many of these elected officials have thousands, if not millions, of voters to answer to, and if your letter is too long or wordy, it might not be read in full.
- Determine why you’re writing – Whether a specific law seems unfair to you or you have a strong opinion about something you read in the paper, it’s important to know why you’re writing before you sit down and compose your letter. Pick one topic, and try to sum up your purpose for writing the letter in the first sentence (or at the very least in the first paragraph).
- Back up your concerns – The current population of the United States is 325,372,521. With all of those people, there are bound to be differences of opinion, so just because something is your opinion, it doesn’t make it a valid argument. If you feel strongly enough about something to express yourself to a senator, congressman or state representative, do your due diligence and do some research to back up your concerns.
- Make it personal – Most politicians are compelled by the real stories of the people they represent, and if something that they have done or said has affected your life, whether negatively or positively, they should know about it. Telling your own personal story will help to establish a connection between you and the person you are writing to.
- Send it to the right person – Depending on the issues you are writing about, you may need to do a little homework to determine exactly who to send it to. For instance, if you are upset about a law the state senate recently voted on, then you should write to your senator, but if it’s a zoning issue you want to bring to light, you’d be better off sending your letter to a city or county official.
Regardless of how you feel about the latest election and American politics as a whole, it’s important to know that you are not helpless. Start getting your voice heard through the power of handwritten letters. Order the Worcester envelopes you need to send those letters when you shop with us today!