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
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.
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.