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In an era where democratic norms and civil rights seem to be under siege, it’s easy to feel like your voice is just a whisper in a storm. Many of us, particularly those who have been engaged in activism for years, are feeling a sense of burnout and disillusionment. When we ask you to contact your congressperson, you wonder if picking up the phone or emailing your congressperson is even worth it.

Let’s unpack why it absolutely is, and why your involvement now is more critical than ever.

  1. Your Voice is Louder Than You Think
    Despite the cynicism that might have crept in, individual calls to congresspeople do make a difference. Staff members tally calls and report trends to your elected official. When a flood of calls comes in about a specific issue, it can prompt a congressperson to pay attention, reconsider their stance, or prioritize certain legislation. Your call might be one among many, but together, they form a powerful chorus that can’t be ignored.
  2. Personal Stories Create Impact
    When you call, you’re not just a statistic; you’re a person with a story. Sharing personal experiences related to the legislation at hand can humanize abstract issues and make them more relatable for representatives. This can be particularly effective in swaying undecided or indifferent lawmakers.
  3. Reinforce Democratic Participation
    By calling your congressperson, you’re engaging in one of the most direct forms of democratic participation. It’s a reminder that democracy isn’t a spectator sport. Your active involvement helps keep representatives accountable and ensures that they know their constituents are paying attention, care deeply about specific issues, and expect them to do more. In addition to voting for or against, they can issue public statements, co-sponsor legislation, or meet with you in person to discuss the issue.
  4. Collective Action Fuels Change
    When asked to contact your elected officials, remember that you are calling in concert with other concerned citizens. Many of the actions we feature in the Americans of Conscience Checklist come from grassroots organizations to which we lend our voices. It’s not your one call that creates change, but yours along with thousands of others, creating a sense of urgency and demonstrating widespread concern. When you make that call, imagine that your voice is the tipping point for an issue that motivates your elected official to act. It very well could be!
  5. Money Talks
    Like it or not, American politics are have dollar signs attached. When you communicate with your elected officials, mentioning whether you donated to their campaign can add weight to your call. Financial contributions are a tangible expression of support, and reminding representatives of your past donations underscores that you are a committed constituent. This can increase the likelihood that your concerns will be taken seriously.
  6. Overcome Burnout with Action
    Activism fatigue is real, but taking concrete steps—like making a call—can actually quell feelings of helplessness. Our subscribers tell us all the time that speaking up is a proactive way to channel frustration into something constructive. Each call or email is a small victory, a step toward the larger goal of making your voice heard and your values represented.
  7. Rallying Your Allies: Why Call When They Already Agree?
    Even if your elected official shares your political views, it’s still important to call. Why? Because your input helps your MoCs do their job better. Providing them with personal stories or data points on specific issues strengthens their positions, and provides them with the backing they need to push more assertively. Not only does your communication reinforce the importance of the issue, it shows that their constituents are engaged and supportive, which can be crucial during re-election campaigns.

    7 1/2. Breaking Through the Opposition: Calling the Other Side
    Calling an elected official from the opposing party may seem futile, but it’s far from it. Persistent and respectful communication can influence their understanding of your concerns as a constituent. Communication keeps the issue on their radar and can sway them if enough constituents voice the same opinion. Remember, public pressure has historically led to bipartisan support on various issues. Also consider that if your MoC doesn’t hear from a diverse range of opinions within their district, they may (falsely) assume that their views are spot-on. Even the most confident elected official wants to win over swing voters and maintain their seat come election time. Speaking up accomplishes a lot.

TL;DR

In these challenging times, your voice is needed more than ever. Calling your congressperson is a simple yet powerful way to stay engaged, make a difference, and reinforce the democratic process. Each call is a reminder that democracy thrives on participation and that every voice contributes to the collective demand for justice and change. So pick up that phone, send that email, and be the change you wish to see.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. What useful reminders that every voice carries weight!
    Number 7.5 is especially important; more of us need to engage with those whose opinions diverge from our own.
    My best to you all–you’re doing important work!

  2. I agree, but some of my representatives don’t take calls – or you have to leave a message and never get a call back. I’ve resorted to letters, but then just get form letters back. Any suggestions?

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