Change In Government Starts With You

Imagine this scenario: You send out a poll to a random 50 citizens in your city and only 10 respond. Your friend sends out a poll to another random 50 citizens but 40 responds. Whose data is going to better represent the opinions of the general population on the issue presented in the poll? The obvious answer to this question is that your friend’s data is going to be more accurate because more people responded. Therefore, city council would be able to respond to its community’s desires more accurately based on the poll results.

Let’s apply this logic to the national government. According to the Pew Research Center, “public trust in government remains near historic lows.”

However, the Bipartisan Policy Center reported that voter turnout had dipped to 57.5% in 2012 elections. Therefore it’s highly possible that Congress has not been able to respond effectively to the interests of citizens because not enough people are voicing their opinions in government. When you really think about it, voting is essentially a national voluntary survey. In these cases, voluntary response bias usually occurs because the people who feel most strongly about an issue are more likely to respond to the survey. Therefore, if only the people who feel most strongly about certain measures are voting in elections, Congress likely has trouble accommodating the people in the middle. Of course, it’s also possible that voters have gradually stopped voting because it proved futile in the past. However, if interested bystanders stop voting, they lose their right, then, to criticize Congress for being too slow or inefficient because they had not fulfilled their civic duty in the first place. Government exists for the people, but that then requires the people to fulfill their civic duty to vote in order for the government to respond.

Therefore, to maximize the effectiveness of Congress’ response to citizens’ needs, every eligible citizen must first voice his or her opinion to government.


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