I appreciate the passion and motives behind protests and speeches and other methods of displaying one’s displeasure and frustration with the backsliding this country is doing in terms of unfettered gun violence, limits on women’s rights to make their own medical decisions and hate-inspired policies disfavoring people of color, LGBTQ+ and other minority groups. The purpose of protest is to have one’s voice be heard.

Unfortunately, when your message is intended for people who refuse to listen, the only result is a sore throat. I am convinced the only way to influence what policies are enacted is to change the people enacting them. Vote. Get registered and vote. Help someone else get registered so they can vote.

It might feel sometimes like the wheels of democracy move too slowly to make impactful change, but in this polarized political environment where politicians’ minds are rarely, if ever, changed, using the power of your vote to elect people who best represent your preferences is the best, and maybe only, way to return to progress in this country.

Brooks Mierow, Seattle