HOW TO MAKE THE POLITICAL SYSTEM WORK
In reality, everything today is political, including the Prisoner of War issue. For example, the United States became involved in Vietnam for political purposes. All decisions were made during the war by politicians based upon their own political agenda rather than sound military judgements. The infamous Paris Peace Agreement brought a weak political settlement to Southeast Asia, not an honorable military solution. Our Prisoners of War were considered political pawns even then. In fact, they were the only commodity the United States wanted from that settlement.
The Prisoner of War issue continues to be a political issue and if it is to be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, it must be accomplished by politicians through the political processes of all governments concerned.
One lesson we all have been slow to learn is that our government does not act, it reacts. We, therefore, must learn how to make our elected officials responsive to our wishes, requests, demands, directives or threats – whichever is most appropriate in any given situation. As citizens of a democratic country, it is our responsibility to actively participate in our government. Unfortunately for us as a nation, we have, by in large, neglected that responsibility over the years. Our politicians have forgotten that they, in point of fact, work for us. WE are their EMPLOYERS, THEY are our EMPLOYEES.
If we are really going to be effective, whether it be through individual efforts or efforts of groups and organizations, we must use those political tools at our disposal. At this particular time in the Live POW issue, the political arena is the one least used, but the one which holds the most promise, particularly now that we are running headlong into an election year.
There is a formula used in every congressional office which, though not well known, is the method by which our Senators and Congressmen determine what issues are most important to their constituents, thus which one he or she should be devoting time to. That formula is: for every 14 letters received in his/her office during a week on a given topic (any topic – this is a universal formula), those 14 letters translate to 1,000 votes back in his/her district. This is how important and powerful the pen really is.
In order of most important to least important types of correspondence: hand written letters receive the most attention. Typed letters are next. Form letters, including post card or any single-party format that only needs a signature, comes in third place. The one form of communication that gets absolutely no attention at all from politicians is a petition. In fact, they are virtually useless when directed to a politician! Petitions do work, however, when directed toward a private company or industry.
The one thing that a politician hates more than anything else is confrontation. If you really want to make an impact upon him, when you know he will be back in his district for any program, speaking engagement – whatever – be there. You can go alone, or you can organize a "truth squad," group of like-minded individuals with the intent of making your positions known. Ask matter-of-fact, direct questions. As the politician tries to answer with a typical "non-answer," tell him, "I’m sorry, Mr. _______, you’re not answering the question. The question is ________" (then restate your question). The next time he’s back on the political stump in your area, be there again. It won’t take long before he gets your message. The interesting thing is you don’t have to be rude or nasty, you just have to be matter-of-fact and direct to have a major impact upon him.
Each candidate for political office prepares position papers for the media - and anyone else interested in them for that matter – outlining his stand or platform on various issues. These papers are drafted up in order to easily respond to important issues, and to address frequently asked questions by the media and the public. Request each candidate to provide you with his position paper on the Live POW issue. If he does not have one prepared, you can look him straight in the eye and say, "What? You DON"T have a position on this issue which is a matter of our government’s HIGHEST NATIONAL PRIORITY? You mean to tell me/us that it is not important enough to you to take a position on?" Believe me, the next time you see him/her, he WILL have a position and he WILL be voicing it! Once you know each one’s position, then you can prepare your strategy for making this a campaign issue with them.
The truth is, the real power in a congressional office rests with the office staff. This is true of campaign staffs, too. Find out which aides are responsible for the POW issue. Work with them, educate them, assist them with information, contacts, research, etc. – whatever is needed. They, in turn, will educate their boss. This is not a matter of lobbying for a candidate. It is a matter of exercising our political rights as American citizens to make the political machinery work for the return of our Live Prisoners of War.
These same tactics also work with the news media. We have to get them asking questions, not just of the candidates running for political office, but also of various government agencies. Hopefully, the more the media learns, the more questions they themselves will ask of all concerned – both those in office and those wishing to be in office; and the more visibility and attention this issue will receive.
Each of us can affect a minimum of 6 votes – our own, our spouse, his parents and her parents. We can also affect other relatives’ and friends’ votes. If the veterans from all wars got actively involved in the political system, they would be the most powerful force in this country today. If you want to really affect change within our government, then each one of us must get off our dead butts and get on our dying feet, and we must get involved. If we do not do so we are abdicating our responsibility as citizens of a free nation, and we are throwing away our hard fought for, and won, freedom with both hands.
Isn’t it time we each became part of
the solution rather than being part of the problem?
THINK ABOUT THIS: BALLOTS ARE TODAY’S
IT IS TIME TO LOCK AND LOAD
This year is politically critical.
If we do not take advantage of this window of opportunity to exploit the
system to the betterment of our fellow countrymen, we all lose.
Capital Switchboard: 202+224-3121
Congressional Information: 202+512-0224
Whether a Bill is signed or vetoed: 202+456-2226