"I wish Congress could just listen!" It is a favorite pastime in my homeland of the United States of America to complain – especially about politics.
Now, I realize complaining is a sign of a free society – wherever the people can complain, they will complain. In a totalitarian society, you hear nothing but positive affirmations for the ruling class because the people live in fear.
Just because we complain doesn't mean we shouldn't try to change something – especially if people on both sides of the aisle realize this is a major problem. One of these problems is that Congress is distant and does not reply to the people. I understand congresspeople live a very busy lifestyle (in fact that is one of my dream jobs someday!) and they do the best they could be holding Town Halls but in this present age, I believe we can make things better.
Congresspeople should be willing to hear concerns from outside their district – especially if they are in a position such as Speaker of the House where their impact affects people from across the nation. I disagreed with a comment the Republican Party made, but I could not contact any party officials because my congressperson was not a Republican. In fact, the House of Representatives website listed three different congressmen under my zip code.
I also believe that to improve things, they should have more visiting hours and access to offices. I was trying to work for a public official (who I will keep anonymous), but I could not research her on her website, and my calls were never returned. I went all the way to her office with a book that I knew she would love as it pertained to her research, but I found out I had to mail the book – and I'm still waiting to hear if the book reached her safely.
I appreciate the things congresspeople are doing to make themselves more accessible to the people. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina had a wonderful hold on social media strategies for reaching people and traveled the nation just to hear people and their perspectives.
Agree with DeMint's views or disagree – either way, that is a wonderful example of how to reach people and build relationships. He went out to the people to hear their concerns firsthand during one of the angriest times in recent memory.
I noticed many officials do not have their email addresses available on their websites. I understand they are trying to prevent spam and trolls, but I implore them to leave their email addresses available. They may get notes of congratulations, young people seeking advice and jobs, and honest critique as well.
There are small steps we can take to improve communications between Congress and the people, and through these communications tailored to the tools of our present age, I hope we will have a government much more open to hearing the people and their concerns. I realize the government is willing to hear the people's concerns, but the way things are set up is outdated and in need of change.