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How to Lobby, Literally

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  1. Introduction
  2. The communication process of lobbying
  3. Acting as a secondary educator
  4. The most important technique in a lobbyist's arsenal
  5. The conversation between legislator and lobbyist
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

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. [...]

[...] This compares fairly to the education process, which does not teach the same idea daily but instead supplies varied information within a broader theme. It is a delicate process, because the lobbyist is simultaneously the expert on a topic and one of many (mildly annoying) people who hope to garner the legislators time: "Lobbyists must be careful not to 'carry their pitcher to the well too often,' as one Congressman put it. Most lobbyists perceive that they must save up their good will and access for a time when they want to see the decision maker about something really important" (Milbrath 37-38). [...]

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