Berks County, not unlike the rest of Pennsylvania and the country, has endured an avalanche of difficulties in the past year or so, from microscopic invaders to massive political and social upheavals that have made many of us surrender to what we think is inevitable defeat. It’s easy to feel powerless and small. However, we live in a nation that still allows freedom of speech and has the technology to give a mighty voice to anyone who can make the effort.
Whether you are itching to let your local, state, and federal government officials know what you’re thinking, or want to complain about the service at your local retailer, there are avenues you can take as you pursue your cause. With the proliferation of social media (and a post office that is still alive), opinions travel at lightning speed, and people take notice. No one, especially retailers, and even politicians, don’t want bad reviews and reputations!
Here are some suggestions for making your voice heard locally or nationally — even globally!
- Face-to-face visits are the most persuasive techniques. Politicians generally have local offices or hold town hall meetings and other public events. Make sure you find out their schedules, and don’t expect to be able to just pop in without an appointment. Courtesy goes a long way in being effective.
- Letters and emails carry great weight. Even in this time of electronic communication, a personalized, polite, hand-written letter will get their attention. Most agencies and commercial institutions have websites that list contact options.
- If you want to do more than communicate, look for opportunities to volunteer locally with an organization that shares your values and is active in a cause you are passionate about.
- You can search for citizen groups that have influence in the spheres you care about. There is strength in numbers, and they may have access to people and places that single citizens do not.
- Numbers also count when it comes to petitions. They can garner a lot of attention and publicity. Make sure it is worded clearly, factually, and persuasively. Do not use it as a way to collect names for mailing lists and donation drives.
- Government officials and businesses have discovered the power of social media. Follow their posts and respond (kindly!) to those that interest you, whether you agree or disagree. People need affirmation as well as criticism.
- Be creative so that you attract attention (in a civil way, of course). The best sign or the most persuasive letter to the editor can be powerful.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. A relatively small matter, such as a dispute with a vendor, may be solved right away. However, political matters can take a lot of time to be addressed, no less rectified, so hang on. The squeaky wheel and all that!
When it comes to issues of elder law, Attorney Scott C. Painter is always available.
The law office of elder law attorney Scott C. Painter, P.C., is located in Wyomissing (outside of Reading, PA, in Berks County,) and offers trusted legal services in the areas of elder law, including nursing home planning, trust and estate services, and veterans benefits. Scott C. Painter is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®), and he is also a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).