My first letter to the editor was to the New York Post back in 1948. My high school journalism teacher made it an assignment. Several hundred published letters later, I realized that one role of the citizen in a democracy is the ability to directly address an issue to a newspaper, a legislator or even the President. I have written to every President since Harry Truman. Some have responded.
Talk-show hosts encourage people to call in. Likewise, when people make their views known, democracy is better served. In the recent Letters sections, The Times has published the numbers of letters received on current topics. The Sunday issue on the Persian Gulf (Aug. 25) indicated about 700 letters had been received on this subject. Considering there are more than a million readers, that is still a small number.
That hardly reflects the ability of the public to make its views known. It takes a few minutes, a postage stamp, an envelope and stationery. And when done, you'll feel a lot better.