Dear MainStream, how can I make a difference?

This is a letter from a member, desperate for advice. You can get in touch with your concerns, too.

Over the past two years (in particular), I have written to my legislators to support education and other issues which MainStream supports. When they usually voted the opposite way, I told them of my disappointment.

I worked my tail off trying to get other people elected in their place, but my efforts failed, miserably. So I feel as if I am wasting my time writing to these legislators as they probably know that I disagree with them but they feel validated with their positions since they were re-elected. So what is a person like me to do? The state of our state truly depresses me, and I feel so helpless. What do you think will be really effective? I know that I am not alone.

Thanks for your advice,
Disaffected in Democracy


Dear Disaffected,

We hear you. One time, when we voted, not a single soul on our ballot got elected. But we still went ahead and voted the next time. Why? Because people like you are out there, trying. As you say, because we know we are not alone. We hold that ballot up as a badge of honor.

We recommend the following to recharge your batteries:

  • Come to our events. Inevitable there are people attending who share your values, your passion, your dedication, and yes, your disappointment in this last year's election. Find your people. Join us.
  • Connect with the Kansas lawmakers who believe as you do. We hear countless times from moderates in office how energizing it is to hear from people who agree with them. Often, we get so caught up in opposing, we forget to support the people and legislation we should champion. Didn't vote for your representative? Throw a compliment to another district's rep.
  • Don't let them off the hook. Just because they don't answer, or give you canned replies, or have the temerity/poor-mailing-list-skills to send you a donation request, doesn't mean you should ignore them right back.
  • Bring your friends. Misery loves company, sure, but it's also more fun to raise a ruckus with a crowd. Get your friends involved. Have an email party. Get together at a bar and send texts to your representatives. Tweet up with your peeps (tweeps?) and cause a stir.
  • Don't give up. Your dedication is infectious. Here at the office we are constantly invigorated by supporters like you, who remind us what we need to do when we feel depressed about it all, too: stand up, and speak out.

Thank you.

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