Thursday, 26 January 2017

Resist Part 1

Great and specific tips from an elected official. Please copy and share widely.
From a high-level staffer for a Senator-
There are two things that all Democrats should be doing all the time right now, and they're by far the most important things.
--> You should NOT be bothering with online petitions or emailing.
1. The best thing you can do to be heard and get your congressperson to pay attention is to have face-to-face time - if they have townhalls, go to them. Go to their local offices. If you're in DC, try to find a way to go to an event of theirs. Go to the "mobile offices" that their staff hold periodically (all these times are located on each congressperson's website). When you go, ask questions. A lot of them. And push for answers. The louder and more vocal and present you can be at those the better.
2. But, those in-person events don't happen every day. So, the absolute most important thing that people should be doing every day is calling.
You should make 6 calls a day: 2 each (DC office and your local office) to your 2 Senators & your 1 Representative.
The staffer was very clear that any sort of online contact basically gets immediately ignored, and letters pretty much get thrown in the trash (unless you have a particularly strong emotional story - but even then it's not worth the time it took you to craft that letter).
Calls are what all the congresspeople pay attention to. Every single day, the Senior Staff and the Senator get a report of the 3 most-called-about topics for that day at each of their offices (in DC and local offices), and exactly how many people said what about each of those topics.
They're also sorted by zip code and area code. She said that Republican callers generally outnumber Democrat callers 4-1, and when it's a particular issue that single-issue-voters pay attention to (like gun control, or planned parenthood funding, etc...), it's often closer to 11-1, and that's recently pushed Republican congressmen on the fence to vote with the Republicans. In the last 8 years, Republicans have called, and Democrats haven't.
So, when you call:
A) When calling the DC office, ask for the Staff member in charge of whatever you're calling about ("Hi, I'd like to speak with the staffer in charge of Healthcare, please") - local offices won't always have specific ones, but they might. If you get transferred to that person, awesome. If you don't, that's ok - ask for their name, and then just keep talking to whoever answered the phone. Don't leave a message (unless the office doesn't pick up at all - then you can...but it's better to talk to the staffer who first answered than leave a message for the specific staffer in charge of your topic).
B) Give them your zip code. They won't always ask for it, but make sure you give it to them, so they can mark it down. Extra points if you live in a zip code that traditionally votes for them, since they'll want to make sure they get/keep your vote.
C) If you can make it personal, make it personal. "I voted for you in the last election and I'm worried/happy/whatever" or "I'm a teacher, and I am appalled by Betsy DeVos," or "as a single mother" or "as a white, middle class woman," or whatever.
D) Pick 1-2 specific things per day to focus on. Don't go down a whole list - they're figuring out what 1-2 topics to mark you down for on their lists. So, focus on 1-2 per day. Ideally something that will be voted on/taken up in the next few days, but it doesn't really matter - even if there's not a vote coming up in the next week, call anyway. It's important that they just keep getting calls.
E) Be clear on what you want - "I'm disappointed that the Senator..." or "I want to thank the Senator for their vote on..." or "I want the Senator to know that voting in _____ way is the wrong decision for our state because..." Don't leave any ambiguity.
F) They may get to know your voice/get sick of you - it doesn't matter. The people answering the phones generally turn over every 6 weeks anyway, so even if they're really sick of you, they'll be gone in 6 weeks.
From experience since the election: If you hate being on the phone & feel awkward (which is a lot of people) don't worry about it - there are a bunch of scripts (Indivisible has some, there are lots of others floating around these day). After a few days of calling, it starts to feel a lot more natural. Put the 6 numbers in your phone (all under P – Politician. An example is McCaskill MO, Politician McCaskill DC, Politician Blunt MO, etc...) which makes it really easy to click down the list each day.
An addition: Some live in DC, with no voting representation - what do I do?? I've been calling senators on committees who are dealing with nominations. I figure their job is to represent all of us, and where staffers ask for my zip code, I give it to them and politely say D.C. has no senators. (For some I'd like to say, "and also your boss thinks it's his/her business to f*** with the District's democratically passed laws.") It's not perfect, but it's better than not calling, and some don't ask for zip code/location at all.

Gaslight


Friday, 20 January 2017

Creative Defiance


We March

Blow in and leave your colour
Joyous and defiant. Turn the line to shade.
Quiet the "Not Enough". They'll take it and use it and leave you with a vacuum.
With nothing there is at least space.
Where they take and forget all the space
We will seep in and the traces remain,
As we go on.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Onward

Trump changed everything. Now everything counts | Barbara Kingsolver

If you're among the majority of American voters who just voted against the party soon to control all three branches of our government, you've probably had a run of bad days. You felt this loss like a death in the family and coped with it as such: grieved with friends, comforted scared kids, got out the bottle of whisky, binge-watched Netflix.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Fully Awake

Fully awake. I slid into domestic bliss and now it's time to wake up. Like many I thought the good work of others had gifted the marginalized with a chance for a seat at the table. True there were battles to fight, but others were doing that and they didn't need me to help out. It was all justification for my apathy.

Let me be clear: I did not buy the brand of the American dream. I am British and as such patriotism is something I am suspicious of. But the house and the car, the pleasant and progressive city were like Oz poppies. Fuck all of it.

Materialism is the opiate of the masses and democracy was a pipe dream.

So I march, not just on Saturday but everyday.