Worried about getting into conflict or controversy by lobbying?
Perhaps you don’t advocate for your issues because you are worried about getting into controversy and somehow someone will get angry and retaliate. You are concerned that something bad will happen as a result because you’ve seen bare knuckled politics on TV. It’s not likely.
Think about your issue. Could be education. parks, scope of medical practice, mental health, taxes, insurance or water. These issues are not like abortion or gun control, where everybody has an opinion and strong feelings and some opinions and feelings are extreme. Most issues are not the kind of thing anyone will get emotional about. No one except you and your opponents care. Most issues never even make the back section of the newspaper, much less the television.
Even the most nonpartisan, apolitical group is expected to advocate or educate to win support for its goals. Politicians want and need your expertise and experience. There is a key difference between supporting issues and supporting candidates. As long as you stick to your issues and skip personalities and endorsing candidates, you will stay out of trouble.
Despite media reports to the contrary, Americans are usually able to disagree agreeably. The media folks have to emphasize conflict and maximize the appearance of conflict or they lose their audience. Do not accept the media portrayal of politics as reality.
Another obstacle to advocacy is time. We’re all so busy surviving, dealing with family and jobs; we think we don’t have time to get involved in politics. You may envision “getting involved” as having to stay on the phone, go to a lot of meetings, write a lot of letters, and travel to the capital.
If you are focused on one issue, you probably won’t need to write or call more than six times as the legislation moves through the process. If you make contact six times, taking less than a half hour each time, you can have significant impact. How long does it take to scribble a note and fax it or to make a phone call urging your elected official to vote yes? Is your issue worth three hours of effort?