Since the United States' foundation, the people have constitutionally been granted the right to assemble and express themselves freely. The most effective assemblies over time have become the active voices of the people, pursuing fair legislation when deemed necessary through the lobbying of congressmen, senators and other members of government. It is democracy in action, and it can be an arduous process with a long and gradual learning curve. Lobbying is a form of education with its own distinct set of defined skills within the parameters of broader teaching techniques. Utilizing theories of communication and literacy, complex dialogue between lobbyist and legislator, and strategic explanation of data, a lobbyist's goal is to bring the legislator to the logical, educated conclusion that a certain issue-at-hand must be acted upon for the public good.
[...] A further argument is that critical thinking skills, the ability to think independently, decisively and wisely, are requirements for responsible, popular leadership. In that aspect, it is the duty of a lobbyist to educate his representative in fields where he would otherwise be lost. While the lobbyist may not convince his targeted Congressman to co-sponsor a piece of legislation, he certainly can spur a valuable discussion. It is in the best interest to act as a secondary educator. These representatives, contrary to some beliefs, are quite brilliant individuals in their own right. [...]
[...] The most contentious issue of a representative democracy is that the Congressman works in the interest of the voters, often times those with little comprehension of any federal issues, "problems of poverty and political powerlessness are, as among some populations in developing nations, inseparably intertwined with problems of access to knowledge and levels of literacy skills" (Scribner 12). In a situation such as in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where there is a large lower class, coal- mining population, it can be difficult, for example, to persuade a Senator to agree to legally restrict emissions of greenhouses gases. [...]
[...] a determinably more difficult subject to define. Sylvia Scribner aptly points out that literacy is not merely an individual accomplishment, but "literacy abilities are acquired by individuals only in the course of participation in socially organized activities with written language" This correlates to the work done by lobbyists. The written language is so important in the lobbying process that it is often overlooked by a judgmental bystander- for all the discussions and debates and persuasive arguments given, there must be a complete, written framework to pass on to the representative. [...]
[...] Without practicing educational techniques, the representative will never expand his literacy at a social scale. He will be functionally innate, and ultimately elected out of office for a lack of responsiveness. The lobbyist, while a hassle at times, must dutifully provide the respectful insight of the people based off of nothing more than hard researched factual evidence. As the communication of ideas between worker and legislator, lobbying is, in a sense, the literacy of the interest of the people. Where the masses may be disorganized, divided and apathetic, there comes a need for citizens who can face the government and openly discuss and educate topics that would otherwise be neglected. [...]
[...] Deborah Brandt would describe the effect of a lobbyist, then, as a sponsor of literacy, which she describes as such, "sponsors, as I have come to think of them, are any agents, local or distant, concrete or abstract, who enable, support, teach, model, as well as recruit, regulate, suppress, or withhold literacy-and gain advantage by it in some way" (166). Clearly, if the lobbyist does not sponsor a politician's readiness and adeptness with constantly evolving literacy, then he is not doing his job to further the influence of his special interest. [...]
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