Much of the rhetoric surrounding the outcome of the election is missing a fundamental point in our representative government. Congressional representatives and Senators want to be re-elected, and they are very concerned about votes. VERY CONCERNED. Let me repeat in case you did not hear me - SUPER CONCERNED - especially House members who run every two years.
We have a divided, disaffected electorate, yet we (whatever your party affiliation) have fallen down on the job. We are not holding these folks accountable in a sustained, meaningful way. Like it or not, the government is not a foreign entity - it is a reflection of the American electorate. If you hate the government, on some level, you have to take responsibility (and maybe even hate yourself a little, too).
I suggest that we assert our collective power over Congress by sending each of our representatives and senators a letter like this or better yet, call their local office and deliver the same information:
Dear (insert name here),
I am very concerned about the dived and decisive nature of the past election cycle. I am very concerned about the tenor and tone of the election and what they mean for our future as a well functioning democracy.
As your constituent, I expect you to execute your constitutional duties with wisdom and equity, preserving the rights and dignity of all Americans. Our collective welfare is at stake, not simply the welfare of one party or the other.
You have sworn an oath to protect and defend the constitution and your duties and responsibilities are enumerated therein. It is only right that, as my representative, I hold you accountable.
I will be watching, and I assure you, I will vote accordingly.
Don't get tied up in specific issues - too easy for them to dismiss. Don't make it partisan, again, too easy to dismiss. Follow up with another every six months or so.
Of course, if you feel the need, say whatever you want.
How do you think your representatives will react if they receive thousands or tens of thousands of such letters? It will make them a bit more circumspect, as votes give them power.
You could also address such a letter to the White House if so inclined.
Again, one phone call or letter is not nearly as effective as thousands.
Don't think politicians care? Don't lose sight of the central reality of any election - it is all about the votes. This election proved that in spades.
We think we don't impact the process, but that is because we are passive. Don't be passive. This goes for liberals and conservatives.