Responsibility does not end at the ballot box

American’s 2020 election will take place on November 3rd.  Millions of registered voters will cast their  votes, either by early voting, absentee voting or voting on the actual election day.  

This election will decide the president of the United States as well as many senators and representatives. Congressional elections take place every two years and state and local races happen every year. 

Many feel after they have cast their ballot they have done their civic duty. They are correct, but they haven’t finished the job.  The job is to first elect public officials and second, make them hear what you have to say.  

An elected official is a public servant, which is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “a government official or employee.”  An elected official works for the citizens.  This concept is sometimes overlooked by both citizens and the officials they elected.  

Across the 34 countries surveyed, a median of 64% disagree with the statement, “most elected officials care what people like me think,” according to Richard Wike and Shannon Schumacher, in a February 2020 article for the Pew Research Center, Global Attitudes and Trends.  

In that article the US had 71% disagree with the statement that elected officials care about what ordinary citizens think.  That fact is an alarming statistic.  

What was not covered in the article was the percentage of how individuals made an effort to be heard.  Public officials are people; they are not mind readers. Unless they are told by ordinary citizens their perspectives on issues, they can NOT properly do the job they were elected to do.  

In the past, local public officials attended town hall meetings, pancake breakfasts, charity events and other public gatherings to meet with citizens and learn their perspectives on the issues.  

The COVID-19 pandemic stopped those types of face to face meetings from happening.  Virtual meetings  and email are now the norm.  Some people have even resorted to the old-fashioned way of communicating, by writing letters and actually talking on the telephone.  

The right to vote has been labeled many things: a privilege, a duty, a responsibility, suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise.  Regardless of the name, exercise  that right that so many fought and died for.  Follow through with your actions and make your voices heard.