There has been a lot of banter about political change, including blogs and chain e-mails to "Vote them all out." I actually considered this, for like, a millisecond. Sounds great as a sound bite, but this idea is simplistic and doesn't resolve the core issue of achieving representation for "We the people." The majority of elected officials are serving their constituencies to the best of their ability. The core problem is that elected officials and candidates for office are disconnected from the reality and issues of the middle class.
As it is with each of us — life's hard lessons, family, friends, associates where we live, and who's got our ear (think lobbyists and crying babies) — [all] influence our decisions. Our elected officials are no different and can only try to do what's in the best interest of "We the people" by what they are able to infer from personal and public experience, as well as who's got their ear. I'm not one to openly … praise lobbyists, but they do represent groups motivated to action [whose interests span] a diverse range of economic and social issues. The real disconnect is not the fault of the representatives in office.
The fault is in us "We the people" willing to spend hours blogging and bitching about change but not willing to actually do something. It's not likely your rep will ever take you up on an invite for a beer or that you'll bump into them in line at the store. But we each have the right and opportunity to be heard. What's more, we have a responsibility to hold our reps accountable. Casting a vote every few years and expecting you'll get what you want is like sending a kid to the store with a blank check with no list, who, along the way, runs into some friends who decide to help out. ….
Before I wrote this, I called Rep. Shuler's office and voiced my support for the recent heath-care bill. My opinion may not be yours, but Rep. Shuler has heard mine. It's real easy. Just pick up the phone [or] send an e-mail. One voice can be the difference. No voice, no difference.
— Michael Birkle