Update 2/4/17 and 4/1/17: There are some excellent organizations using technology and growing staffs to do the very thing I wanted to do here (in fact, I wouldn’t mind working for one if the right person happens to read this). I recommend these sites/apps if you’d like to stay in touch with your elected officials on issues you care about. If there’s anything positive that came out of the last election cycle, it’s organizations like these and the voters who are engaging them. Democracy in direct action.
Women’s March: The organization that brought us the march on January 21 continues with a “10 Actions, 100 Days Campaign.” Sign up.
Daily Action: Text the word DAILY to 228466 (A-C-T-I-O-N), and you’ll receive a text that gives you an issue of the day, connects you directly to your elected official and tells you what to say. Well done and easy! They also have Facebook page if you’d prefer not to receive the texts.
5 Calls: You select the issue most important to you that day, they provide a script and phone numbers for your member of Congress. Use their website, download the app on your iPhone or Android, or find them on Facebook.
Countable: This organization provides summaries on a wide variety of issues and on pending legislation. Read up, see what others think, and contact your member of Congress. They have a user-friendly and eye-catching app for iPhone or Android, and a website.
What to say, or what to write, is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to engaging with our elected officials on issues we care about. Like many of us, I’m looking for ways to be useful in the new political landscape.
I’d like to make it easier for myself, busy friends, and family who want to call or write their elected officials with their concerns over Trump’s executive orders, agenda, cabinet appointments and upcoming/pending legislation in Congress. I’m a writer who used to write for politicians so I’m playing around with the idea of writing calling scripts and letter templates. It’s one way I can contribute.
I would choose an issue to write about, and you would use ‘as is’ or tweak according to your individual story or lawmaker. The script could also be emailed or written on a postcard, but calls are thought to be most effective. Some people, however, are not comfortable calling and writing is easier. The important thing is to contact our legislators— in any way possible.
I know there are many organizations starting to do the same thing right now. In the next week or so, I’ll explore some and share what I’ve learned.
In the meantime, here’s a practice round. What do you think? Each call takes no more than three minutes, most less.
It was my Dad who passed his love of our country on to me. He taught me that good citizens must stand up for our Democracy when called. This moment, more than any other in my life, is that time. Our nation requires it of us.
“…Democracy isn’t a spectator sport”
— President Barack Obama
Action Calls: Immigrant and refugee travel ban/Steve Bannon’s seat on the National Security Council
Who to call: Your representative and both senators
I’ve outlined two calls below. As a general rule, it’s suggested that constituents keep each call to one issue, but I’ve combined two below. Break them up into two calls over two days, if you’d like. You could also email these scripts and/or mail a postcard. Correspondence will reach district offices faster.
Find your Representative here:
Find your Senators here:
Please note: I have one Republican representative and both of my senators are Democrats. These scripts are written with them in mind. You’ll have to tweak them based on the party of your elected officials and their position on the issues.
Scripts for my Democratic senators
Longer version: “Hello, I’m a (state) resident and I’m calling for two reasons. The first is to thank Senator (insert name) for speaking out against Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees. The ban goes against America’s core values and I support her opposition. Please thank her for speaking out. Tell me, is there anything Congress can do to officially oppose this and some of the more egregious Executive Actions we’ve seen in the past week? Is there anything we can do as citizens? Secondly, please let the senator know I fiercely oppose the appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council. I find the appointment of an alt-right political strategist in place of our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff appalling. What can we do to stop this?”
Shorter version: “Hello, I’m a (state) resident and I’m calling to thank Sen. (insert name) for speaking out against Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees. Please let her know I support her. Secondly, I want to urge Sen. (insert name) to speak out against the appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council. Is there anything Congress can do to prevent this?”
Scripts for my Republican representative
Longer version: “Hello, I’m a constituent in (city) and I’m calling today to urge Rep. (insert name) to follow the lead of Sens. McCain and Graham in speaking out more forcefully on Trump’s immigrant and refugee ban. Not only do I find the ban inhumane and unAmerican, I believe it puts our national security in more danger, not less. It feeds right into ISIS propaganda that we’re in a religious war and I’m afraid it will radicalize even more young men. I’m particularly concerned about the Syrian refugee ban. These people have already been thoroughly vetted and a third of them are children under 12. I find it reprehensible that we would turn children away and send them back to a war zone. Secondly, I also agree with Sens McCain and Graham on Steve Bannon replacing the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the National Security Council. Our national security is not a partisan issue. Our generals should be directing it, not an alt-right political strategist. This appointment is radical and completely unprecedented.”
Shorter version: “Hello, I’m a constituent from (city). I’m calling today to urge Rep. (insert name) to follow Sens. McCain and Grahams’ lead on the immigrant and travel ban. The ban endangers our national security by feeding right into ISIS propaganda that this is a religious war. I’m particularly concerned about the Syrian refugees. One-third of them are children. I’d also like to urge Rep. (insert name) to follow McCain’s and Graham’s lead on vocally opposing the appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council. Our generals belong there, not an alt-right political strategist.”