Choose one person to ask politicians questions, everyone asking doesn't work

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If you're concerned about an issue and want to ask your representatives about it at one of their public meetings, one of the best ways to have little or no effect is to be selfish and compete to ask your questions or vent your concerns. Time and again, those who have weak questions or who just want to give an emotional appeal rush to the fore, have their say, and end up doing nothing besides making themselves feel better. That sounds harsh, but it's what happens almost every time a politician holds a public meeting. As a result, the concerns people have aren't addressed or are only addressed in specific cases.

For a tangible example of this variant of the Tragedy of the Commons in action, see this (link) story about a meeting Rep. Mike Coffman held in Aurora, Colorado. Attendees thought it was going to be a townhall, but it turned out Coffman was only meeting with a few constituents at a time:

When Berthie Ruoff arrived at the Aurora Central Library to meet with Congressman Mike Coffman, she was hopeful to find encouraging answers about the impending changes to the Affordable Care Act...

Krondia Siebert just wanted Coffman to hear her concerns. But, she ended up trying to organize the crowd that gathered outside the large community room.

"The Representative didn't have a plan. They expected just a small handful of people to show up," Siebert said. "We were under the understanding it was a town hall meeting and they were only allowing four people in at a time."

..."I am trying to get an answer and I can't even get in," Ruoff said.

...Ruoff still has questions.

"I am potentially going to lose my health insurance. I've had a preexisting condition. I've had breast cancer. What's going to happen to me?" Ruoff said. "My spouse who had health insurance passed away. What do I do? You know, what am I supposed to do?"

Per a caption on the photo, "[m]any [attendees had] questions about the Affordable Care Act". If someone who had concerns got to speak with Coffman, he might have agreed to help them with their concerns. That's great for them, but not so great for those like Ruoff.

What they should have done instead was taken a page from our representative democracy and selected a few people to speak for the group. That way all of their concerns would have at least been heard. Instead, because everyone was trying to get in the door at the same time, most were left out in the cold. Taking a page from the use of professionals, they'd choose the people who were most familiar with their issues and who'd ask pointed questions designed to get the Congressman to do what they want.

Most people realize representing themselves in court would be a bad idea, but then don't apply that to asking politicians questions. As a result, politicians are able to keep doing what they wanted to do anyway.

Most will tend to say "I want to ask my Congressman my question about my issue", and their issue is usually one shared by many but their question is almost always weak. As a result, they don't get the result they claim to want. People need to realize that, put their pride aside, and do things in smarter ways that will solve problems.