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No Time to Get Involved

Posted by: Jason Zacher on Monday, February 9, 2015
We’ve all seen or heard (or used) the quote: “This week’s sign the apocalypse is upon us….” I felt that way last week when I saw one of those Buzzfeed clickbait headlines: “23 Most Important Moments in Left Shark History.” If you don’t know who Left Shark is… bless you. Left Shark was the not-so-good dancing person in a shark costume during Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show. Didn’t see it? Well, I didn’t either since I was driving two exhausted kids home from a party well after their bedtimes. That post received 1.32 million views in less than a week after the Super Bowl. This week’s sign the apocalypse is upon us…. I timed myself to see how long it would take to read the entire post. It took me just more than two minutes. Which means 1.32 million people took two or three minutes out of their work week to read a ridiculous post creating a life behind a dancing shark. I’m not someone who doesn’t want you to have fun. I spend plenty of time on Facebook arguing the finer points of the European soccer leagues, so I do understand the need for diversion. But last week, decisions were being made in Columbia and Washington that directly impacted your business. Do you deal with healthcare? The S.C. Senate was holding confirmation hearings for our new director of the Department of Health and Human Services. The S.C. House approved legislation that limits your liability if a trespasser is injured on your property. Our entire state government is debating whether to raise your gasoline taxes, cut your income taxes, or both. The Federal Government took concrete steps to regulate the Internet as a utility. Your elected officials truly don’t know how you feel about these issues. If each of the 1.32 million people took two minutes and emailed their Congressman about one of those issues, their offices would have been flooded with nearly 2,500 emails. Drop those numbers down to the state level and it’s the equivalent of 110 emails going to each House member and Senator. If 110 people in every House and Senate district emailed their representatives in support of a particular issue, that issue would skate through the General Assembly like greased lightning. Most of your representatives take notice when as few as 5 or 10 letters or emails come through – I’m talking about personal emails, not the “click here to send a form letter” emails. Two minutes isn’t long. It took me about five to write the first draft of this post. This doesn’t need to be a polished argument. A simple:
Dear Senator Smith. I live at 323 Avenue A in your district. I’m very concerned about the condition of our roads in our state, and I hope you take action this year. I’ve read a number of articles about the different plans being considered and I hope you vote for (or against) _________. Please call me back or email me when you get a chance. I would love to hear your position on the issue. Sincerely, John Doe 864.555.1212
Quick. Easy. And you’re on record. Keep it courteous. Explain you’d like to discuss the issue. Just use the Golden Rule when you write these, and you’ll get heard. Don’t make threats. We have more than 8,000 businesses in the Upstate Chamber Coalition and 52 of the 170 members of the General Assembly. We can change the debate in Columbia. Easily. We just need two or three minutes every couple of weeks. Is that too much time for an issue that could dramatically impact your bottom line? Click here to contact your representatives. (And click here if you can’t help yourself and want to see the life of Left Shark.) Thank you for your support of the Greenville Chamber and the other 12 local chambers that are part  of the Upstate Chamber Coalition. As always, if you’re a member of a Coalition chamber, feel free to shoot and email to me or to Katie Busbee and we will be happy to answer any questions you have about public policy.

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