Write your Representatives!

I’m having a lot of fun posting commentary over at change-dot-gov – maybe too much fun?

Because there are a couple of things I think we need to realize:

First of all, the chances of our President-elect actually reading these comments, or even so much as a summary or a report of them are pretty darn remote. I think this comment option is so much window-dressing and a way of anesthetizing genuine citizens’ activity (as in “But I posted at that web site! – wasn’t that enough?”)

Secondly, assuming he does get that report (I don’t have time to read it all, so we can assume he doesn’t, either), I think we’re naïve if we think it’s going to make a difference. After all, our President-elect is the same man who single-handedly opposed abortion restrictions like the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act while an Illinois State Representative and while U.S. Senator. His voting record on abortion is even more radical than Hillary Clinton’s, Barbara Boxer’s, Nancy Pelosi’s… We need to remember this and not mistake a combox on his agenda site indication of a softening of heart.

Finally, the President is only one individual in a complex and glorious process involving the Balance of Powers required to make law in this Nation. The FOCA bill has to pass either the House or the Senate before it reaches the Oval Office.

That is where our real efforts need to be directed.

Please begin now to focus your energies and attentions on those other elected officials. If you don’t know who they are, your Senators are listed here and your Congressmen are to be found here; you can also find local office addresses in your telephone directory’s blue pages, or through this handy guide – just click on your state and the information will pop up for you.

Start writing letters. Letters are more powerful than the petitions that are floating about in abundance via the internet and several nice websites (and cluttering up my Inbox) because they are personal and the sender is verifiable. If your representative has an office in town, and you chance to meet him or her on the street, make a point of letting him know you passionately oppose FOCA and hope he will oppose it, too.

In case you’re thoroughly intimidated by the whole letter-writing process and are afraid you can’t write a good one, I’m going to post a sample letter template below. You can copy and paste it to your word processing software, or hand-copy it, and make it personal so it reflects to your elected representative what you, his employer, value and want from him while in your employ.

Here we go. The format is simple. I’m showing you the most formal style because it saves you the trouble of having to fidget with spacing if you aren’t used to these things in your computer. I want to make this whole process as basic and un-intimidating as possible. All paragraphs and information are straight up against the left-hand margin. This is a formal business format,  the sort professional offices use in their correspondence:

Your Address (Street or P.O.)
Your City, State and Zipcode
(4 lines left blank)
Today’s Date
(4 lines left blank)
Your Representative’s Name
Your Representative’s Address
City, State, and Zipcode
(4 lines left blank)

Re: Freedom of Choice Act (House Bill #1964 or Senate Bill #1173)
(2 lines left blank)

Dear Sir/Madam:
As a citizen and constituent of (your locale) I wish to inform you of my opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act, referenced above.

I oppose this measure because (please be prepared to specify at least one but preferably three reasons, and more is not bad at all!).

This issue is important enough to me that I will be looking at the voting record on it when it comes time to vote again in the next General Election.

Please be assured of my gratitude for your service to my State/District, and of my best wishes for your success in Washington.
(2 or 4 lines left blank)
(4 lines left blank, in which you will hand-sign Your name)
Your name (typed)

I’ll be adding an additional message to my Congressman, Howard Coble: “Congratulations on becoming North Carolina’s longest-serving Congressman! I am grateful for your long-standing service to our District, and for your steadfast support of the fundamental rights of all Americans, especially the unborn. You have my continuing support and my prayers.”

You can personalize yours however you wish (“I am, like you, a member of such-and-such organization…” etc.

There! That wasn’t such terrible agony, now, was it?

2 Responses to Write your Representatives!

  1. Sunny says:

    A couple of notes on contacting your senator. If you send a letter to their washington office, it takes a lot longer for them to receive because it has to go through more careful security screening. He or she will receive your letter much faster if you send it to their local state office.

    Emails and letters are both generally handled the same way. Senators and representatives have office drones that read the correspondence and basically report how the constituency is leaning based on the letters.

    I do agree that a letter is more personal than an email, but an email is better than nothing.

  2. Laura says:

    Thanks, Sunny. Agreed! And – when you email, be sure you put your physical address in your signature line, so the representative knows where you are.

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