Thursday, January 21, 2010

Call Them On It

Tim F. over at Balloon Juice is urging supporters of the healthcare bill to call their Congressperson and urge them to support the bill voted out by the Senate and get it passed.

Don’t call a Congressperson because he or she will turn around and do what we say (if you’re new at this, they won’t). We should call because the caucus will meet tomorrow and probably a few more times after that, and then the Democratic majority will have a plan. Maybe the plan will involve fighting like hell to get HCR done before some other stupid thing happens, but it seems a little Charlie Brownish to feel confident about Dems doing anything that productive. If Reps show up buzzing about noisy supporters demanding HCR then we stand a slightly better chance than if they show up dwelling on their usual phobias turned up to eleven.

At least that’s my view. Small chance of having a meaningful impact, etc. etc.. At least it vents the frustration better than yelling at pseudonyms on an internetblog.

My problem is that my representative is Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and he’s about as right-wing as they come without wearing a tea-bag on his head. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t let my voice be heard.

So, if you call:

(1) Use a phone. Email has nigh on zero impact. Trust me on this. Letter mail gets read, but you don’t have time. Reach the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121 .

(2) Remember, this person works for you. You pay his or her salary and you voted for them. You’re the boss here, or at least one of them, and it’s they who should worry about what you think of them.

(3) Identify your name and the town or neighborhood where you live. If you are not a constituent, save your phone bill and yell at the TV.

(4) State the issue. This is easy: pass the Senate bill or the party gets it. We can (and certainly will) fix the shortcomings later.

(5) How strongly do you feel? Don’t apologize about feeling passionate or pissed off. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

(6) What are you going to do about it? Again, squeaky wheel. Will you reward good behavior with money or volunteers? Support a primary challenger if you feel let down? Stay home in November? Do you belong to a group who listens to your opinion or feels the same way you do? This part will get their attention and get the message passed on. Do not forget it.

Good luck!

Those of you with Democrats as representatives, start dialing. Those of us with Republicans should call too, just to let them know that not everyone in their district is one of them. And while you’re at it, start looking to see who’s out there to replace them.

PS: If you don’t know who your Congressional representative is, you can search here.