Why Writing to Your Representative is a Waste of Time

in Politics by

As a personal project, I sent every Senate representative in The United States a letter, expressing my concerns as one of America’s youth.

In respect to your time, I will keep this letter brief. My name is Ian Arko, from Colorado and my generation is lost.

I write now to ask for advice. What can be done to help get people involved in our political system?

Right now, I am young and I am trying to spread my wings, but I do not know how. My opinion is strong, but my voice feels weak among those of our overwhelming media. I need help.

School teaches us to be the global thinkers required in the modern world. The results could be catastrophic. Domestic support may diminish as the already damaged faith in our nation is exposed the views of the ever up-and-coming youth.

I hope to gain involvement and support by showing the necessity of government. Every individual has the right to be heard. We must shape the negative energies into positive change. We need to show the world that every individual has the power to make a difference, but how?

What suggestions do you have?
Thank you for your time.

So, who replied? Of the 100 people that received this letter, 5 replied, 3 of whom were the assistants to the senators, only replying to tell me they deferred my letter to my local senators. My local senators never responded.
Why, in a Republic held together by representatives do the representative not respond?

A Day in The Life of a Representative

Below, is a look into how our representatives actually spend their time.

ways that time is spent by representative
40% goes to calling donors, 20% goes to visiting constituents, 20% to their actual job, and 10% to strategic outreach.
This figure changes based on the senator, some spend more time than others. It depends on the amount of funding needed, so in highly competitive regions one might expect to have a less involved representative.
Why wouldn’t they do this much fundraising? The goal of a politician is to maintain the political power of their party. Look the election spending increases below.

money spet to campaign by congress representative

Year to year the cost of elections grows rapidly, and will continue to do so. This leads back to the original question presented in the letter. If contacting the people chosen to represent you doesn’t help, what does?

Tim Kaine’s Suggestion

Before I continue, I would like to thank Senator Kaine, as he was the only person of the two legitimate replies that provided than a blanket statement for a response.

In his letter, Kaine discusses both personal motivations and what he does to be a better representative.

While working as a Catholic missionary,

I witnessed the incredible bravery and dedication of Hondurans working to make their communities stronger. They taught me that individuals can truly make a difference and that there is no greater happiness than using your talents to serve others.

Each of us is able to help our communities. The real change that needs to be made lies within we, the people. Don’t bother writing your representatives, because you are the one with the power to make the world a better place.

 

 

Additional Sources of information for charts:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/01/14/the-most-depressing-graphic-for-members-of-congress/?utm_term=.6bb9582bfdd9

https://www.opensecrets.org/overview/cost.php

 

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