The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


March 7, 2001


A word of advice to Setareh Sabety ["No ordinary congressman"], don't think that your views don't matter simply because your representative in Congress or senator are not the people you would have elected.

Ironically, one of the most responsive senators that I have ever dealt with was Jesse Helms. There is a man with a machine to handle constituents' concerns and yet he is, I am sure, to most Democrats, the epitome of an "ultra-Republican".

Never forget (and don't let them forget it either): Your representatives work for YOU. One of the most important things that you can do as a citizen (or even as a civically responsible resident) is to express your views to your elected officials. Don't just vote. Write letters, attend town meetings, and meet with your representatives when they are in your district. Be heard!

More often than not I have been represented by persons for which I did not vote. That has never stopped me from writing, calling and meeting them.

On the matter of collective action versus individual initiative ["Power of Unity" by Kamiar Kallaantar and "Petition by one" by Guive Mirfendereski], I think that there is a role for each but neither is a substitute for the other.

It is easy to get lulled into a state of complacency thinking that because one has signed a petition or because one has contributed to an organization that everything is now "fine" or "finished".

I consider myself a personal activist. The value of collective action, in my opinion, is not as a surrogate but as a motivating force to take personal initiative AND to impress to the politicians and policy makers that there is a force out there which demands attention.

Again, BE HEARD! Let nothing stand in your way.

Bradley J. Hernlem, Ph.D.


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