Pick up the phone
Ticked off that your kids can't go to school even though the CDC has officially said it is safe for both teachers and kids to be back in the classroom? Wondering how you can influence things? Here is an easy way: pick up the phone. Call every school board member in your district. Call the teachers' union steward for your school, and chew his ear off. Give him hell while you point out that teachers are harming the kids by not teaching.
Angry about the increase in crime? Wondering what to do about it? Pick up the phone. Call your local city councilor, call the mayor's office, call your county commissioner. Demand — not ask, not beg, not hint — but demand effective police protection. Demand the end of "catch and release," in which repeat offenders are released by SJW district attorneys almost as soon as they are booked. Give them all hell, and as soon as you hang up, ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to make the same calls.
Politicians are social meteorologists, always checking the direction of the wind. They watch network news and read the national papers. What the politicians don't see are the little people who are losing their businesses and jobs. They don't see or care about the little Thai restaurant, the small boutique clothing shop, the corner Somalli convenience store going out of business because of COVID or because there is no money to rebuild after their businesses were destroyed during the riots.
Politicians love applause. They love the feeling of being important. What politicians don't love is criticism. It implies they have done something wrong, and, most importantly, it feels like a possible threat to their re-election.
If there is only one angry phone call the politician and staff will find it amusing. They will get a good laugh over the deplorable who actually thought his opinion was important. Ten angry phone calls are a different story. The officeholder will conscript an intern to draft a vague, conciliatory email that sort of promises, but doesn't really, to address the complaint. One hundred angry phone calls, angry letters, protests outside the office, will wake up most politicians unless they are in a very secure district. Senator Bigbritches will soon make a speech declaring that he understands your feelings perfectly, is on your side, was traumatized as a child by the very thing you are complaining about, and will work hard to make things better.
Most of us have trusted politicians to represent us and our interests well. We pay some attention during an election, but after the election, we go back to our daily business. Most of us don't follow politics closely, and that enables politicians to cater to the loudest complainers and the biggest donors. The politicians' calculus is that they can get the vote, and donations, of the complainers while hoping the rest of us don't notice.
In Minneapolis, large swathes of major, high-volume motor vehicle streets have been given over to bike lanes because of effective lobbying by bicyclists. The volume of motor vehicle traffic carried by these streets has been cut by at least a third. Here is a thought question. How many people ride their bikes in Minneapolis in January? Or February? Or, for that matter, in December, November, October, and let's not forget March and rainy April?
You may have guessed "close to zero" as an answer. You are right. For six or seven months per year, the bike lanes are not utilized at all and even on perfect summer days the bike lanes are sparsely used.
Even though the bike lanes have been a huge inconvenience for drivers, they have not been removed. Imagine if every driver late for work because of these constricted streets picked up their phone and called their city councilor and gave that council person an earful. The bike lanes would be gone in a month.
So...angry that narcissistic, self-important politicians have pushed their way to the head of the line for COVID shots? It's time for all of us to go to work. Pick up the phone, and give them hell.