Why You, Just One Individual, Can Make a Difference
by Stephen Paul Gnass
In our U.S. democratic government, wouldn't it be great if our elected officials frequently contacted us to find out our positions on proposed laws and issues, and made their decisions to vote on legislation, based upon what the majority of their constituents wanted? [Definition of constituent: a person who authorizes another to act in his or her behalf, such as a voter in a district represented by an elected official.]
While our elected officials have a postage budget for mailings within their districts, the sad reality is that we only seem to get personalized mail or phone calls from their staff during election time. It’s extremely rare that we hear from them since our elected officials are not pro-active in reaching out to us, their constituents.
So, the bottom line is that, we the people, are the ones that need to contact our elected officials to let them know what our positions are on proposed laws and issues. Yet it’s understandable that most of us are so busy with our daily lives - commuting to and from work, dropping off and picking up the kids, working, doing the daily chores around the house, etc., that we just don’t have time for researching and studying the many proposed laws and issues or how our elected officials are voting.
Why "He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules"
What’s ironic is that a corporation has no vote. However, corporations can contribute campaign funding to legislators, which legislators need to get re-elected. But even though legislators may feel obligated to these corporations, the bottom line is that the corporations cannot legally bribe our legislators to make certain decisions. Our legislators have the ultimate decision making ability. So what makes corporations so influential in D.C.?
I believe that once most people vote, they tend to feel that they've done their patriotic duty - we’re taught the importance of voting. But we're not taught the importance of participating in how our system of laws works during our K-12 educations - how to keep up with new bills, the status, etc.. So after voting, people go on with their busy lives.
But it's the gap throughout the periods between voting, that’s really the most important part about a democracy. This is the period when the elected representatives are making the country’s laws - the laws that rule our lives. This is the time when the people, the constituents who have entrusted their representatives with the power to make laws, need to contribute their input, to make laws that benefit them.
But our elected often only hear from lobbyists on behalf of corporations during these crucial times. It seems that the only ones who have time for this are the big corporate interests, who are well funded and can afford to pay lobbyists to focus 100% of their time on specific issues, go to Washington D.C. and personally spend time with our elected officials to let them know what “their” positions are. However, these lobbyists are working for the corporation’s own interests, not the people’s interests.
Since our elected officials often only hear from lobbyists from these corporate interests, too many times they end up basing their decisions on corporate views.
And so it happens that approximately 500 legislators - just 100 senators (2 per state) and about 435 state representatives - determine the laws for the entire country - many times with little input from the American people.
When Democracy “Really” Works
On the other hand, individuals collectively make up the country - about 400 million strong (though of course a portion are children under age 18). So think about it - if you have 10s or 100s of “millions” of individuals who can vote contacting our elected officials about certain issues, who do you think will be listened to? In their own self interests of re-election, do you think that our elected officials will most likely listen to the majority? (Note: Every letter/email/phone call that our elected representatives receive is multiplied by a formula to determine an estimated percentage of the population that thinks the same way, similar to the TV Nielsen ratings. So your one contact really counts as more than just your individual comment.)
And so it turns out that when huge numbers of people get interested in a proposed law or issue and contact their elected representatives, that’s when democracy works! You can see that the “many versus the few” has worked with many key issues, such as with smoking, etc.
But the catch is that, we the people, need to be pro-active and reach out to our elected representatives - in-between the voting seasons, when they’re making the laws of our land.
And that's when our government becomes "by the people, for the people" as envisioned by our founding fathers.
Otherwise, by default, if we don't participate in the lawmaking process, our government could become "by the multinationals, for the multinationals".
Inventors' Voice TM Mission
So the challenges to our government system working by the people, for the people, and to individuals making a difference, would seem to be:
1) informing enough people to help them become aware of proposed legislation
2) getting them up to speed quickly on what's important since people don't have much time in their lives
3) having ways of being able to quickly and easily contact our elected official for little or no cost and with minimal time
This is the goal of Inventors Voice TM in relation to independent inventors and the 200 year old U.S. Patent System. Fortunately, due to access to the internet today, you can quickly and easily contact your elected officials through email forms on their web sites, which takes just a few minutes.
And by reading through this blog, hopefully it'll bring understanding of what the issues are facing independent inventors. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Instantly Find and Email Your Elected Officials
U.S. Senate web site: Find your state's senators by entering your state at:
It'll bring up a quick form that you can fill out and email to them!
House Web site: Find your state's representatives by entering your state at:
It'll bring up a chart of the states, click your state, and it'll bring up the web sites for your House representatives.
Then be sure to email other individuals that you know, who should also let their voice be heard on these important issues.
Labels: First-to-Invent, H.R. 1908, independent inventors, intellectual property, inventors rights, patent reform act of 2007, patents, proposed patent changes, S. 1145, U.S. Patent law, U.S. Patent System