Social media posts and emails from organizations (like us!) often ask supporters to contact their senators—but when their vote seems set in stone, you might ask, “what’s the point?”
The Short Answer
Democracy. Contacting your senators is democracy in action because all elected officials work for their constituents (a.k.a. you and your neighbors!). Whether you voted for them or not, their principal responsibility is to serve you. Your role as their ‘boss’ is to hold them accountable—tell them what you want and work to vote them out if they don’t do just that.
But the short answer can negate the lived experience of calling your senator and having them vote the opposite way. Saying “because democracy” can feel hollow in a political landscape that is discouraging and frustrating.
The Long Answer
So, what’s the point?
We can’t dream the change we wish to see, we have to act upon it, because meaningful change comes from collective action. And collective action comes when we all come together and do our part.
Dismissing even trying to speak up to our elected officials because “they won’t listen” or “I won’t change their mind” is undermining our collective power and emboldening the narrow ideology of those who do make time to call their lawmakers. Anti-choice zealots often contact their senators like it’s their day job, and if we don’t do our part, that minority will skew perception of public opinion. We cannot let the extreme minority dictate how we are governed because they are the ones making the noise. Our collective power is enough to create change if we are committed to using it.
Even if you are sure that your senator is in opposition to how you think they should vote on an issue, hearing from you can encourage them to reconsider. Many politicians care about their re-election and if enough people in their districts call regarding a certain policy or issue, the lawmakers have to consider how their vote on that issue may be consequential to their re-election chances.
Sometimes, all those calls won’t change minds. That happens. And when that does, we have the power to hold them accountable. Their role is to represent and serve their constituents and that means following the will of the people. If they want to continue serving, they will have to deal with the consequences of going against the will of those they represent (like being voted out come next election).
This all boils down to: we have to make noise. Because democracy. At the end of the day there’s hope as long as we don’t give up. So call your senators, write them, fill up their inbox. And if you haven’t yet, sign up for action alerts from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska to get updates on important moments to contact your senators.Sign Up for Emails