Where the Action Is
Recently, I was in Washington D.C. along with other members of Assurance, being a participant in our political process – that is, we were lobbying Congress.
A lot of people I know think lobbying is an evil thing – a byproduct of a corrupt system where those who spend the most or yell the most get their wishes granted regardless of whether that’s what the rest of the country wants or not. Honestly, it’s how I used think of lobbying a lot of the time, until I actually started doing it.
This really hit home as I was walking through the halls of the Cannon House Office Building. If you’ve never been there, it’s this huge building with very tall and wide hallways, offices on each side with big brass plaques displaying the names of the various Congressional representatives. You walk through these halls, looking at the offices of all these people who really do make the decisions that affect all of us in some way or another. Passing the office of one well-known Congresswoman, I wanted to just stop and give her a piece of my mind – my politics and her politics are decidedly opposite. I didn’t want to do that as a “lobbyist,” I wanted to do that as just a tax-paying citizen of this country. I wanted her to know how much I disagreed with her. I wanted her to know that she wasn’t helping the country with her political views. A lot went through my mind at that moment.
And that’s when it hit me – that’s exactly what lobbying is. It’s exactly what I was doing by talking to the Congressman we were there to see, who happens to be both my local congressional representative as well someone whose politics I mostly agree with. These people in Washington need to hear from us – you and me. They are people who work in offices in D.C., making the laws that govern how we conduct business. They need to know how the decisions they make affect us. Otherwise how will they know the effects of their actions?
What’s this have to do with the ACA? Everything. We made our position known, very emphatically, on very specific parts of the ACA that affect our clients. You can argue that three people stopping by that Congressman’s office once a year isn’t very effective in and of itself, and you’d be right. And that’s the point – it takes a team effort to create change in D.C.
If you’re one of those people who think lobbying is a waste of time, or a waste of money, think again. Try it. Yes, it’s expensive to go to D.C. Yes, it’s a hassle to set the time aside to do it. There are organizations that can help. Seek them out and make your voice be heard – and encourage others to do the same! Participate. Take action!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR