Are you feeling outraged? Alarmed? Concerned? Curious? Depressed?
In two days, the 45th President of the United States will take the oath of office. I will probably listen to the proceedings of the day on the radio, for I’ll be barreling down the highway to Washington DC. I feel deeply the need to get involved.
I am more politically energized since the election than I have been in over forty years. Why? Because so much is at stake. The life I have been privileged to take for granted is no longer guaranteed to me.
For me, having a goal, doing the “next right thing” helps keep me sane when life feels like it’s careening off center (after I sit in silence for at least 45 minutes and journal). Today, I’m wanting to help us focus on just what that “next right thing” will be.
Of course, what that “next right thing” will be for YOU will depend on you: your priorities, your energy level, and your level of commitment.
I’ve written elsewhere about the importance of staying vigilant, of taking care of ourselves, of staying informed, and of listening.
I’ve written here in Speaking out with Your Checkbook, about finding organizations that are already working in the issue areas you care about and supporting them. Get on their radar; they will feed you action steps. These are still important.
But now it’s time to move to the next step: Getting Involved. I want to suggest you start here, with this website.
Click on the image and it’ll let you download the content in either a .docx file or a .pdf file. That’s first for today. Reading it is next. Tomorrow is OK. No; on second thought, better read it today. Time is of the essence.
Do you know who your Legislators are? Your Members of Congress, or MoCs, as they are known inside the beltway.
We’re talking about an action step that may very well change the mind of an important, fence-sitting legislator. At the least, they will give you something else to do when you might otherwise want to curl up and suck your thumb.
We’re talking about writing letters and making phone calls. Reaching out. Speaking out. Letting your voice be heard. And doing it in a reasoned, organized, sane, and civilized manner.
The bottom line: KNOW WHO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES ARE, both Federal and State. Let them hear from you. You are their constituent: they work for you. And we’re talking today about letting your representative’s office know that you are watching them. You are paying attention and you will hold them accountable. That’s all.
Do you know their names? Do you know which Congressional District you are in? How many Congresspeople a state has is based on population. These districts are remapped every 10 years, following the census and over the decades this process has become more and more political. But, I digress. Here in Vermont, we have one Congressman for the entire State (hello Peter Welch). My two Senators are Bernie Sanders (yes; feel the Bern) and Patrick Leahy.
Do you have the phone number of their local office?
Here are two sites that can help you find their number: (don’t go there now; come back later). I imagine your phone book would have it too. Does anyone have a phone book anymore?
- Call To Action — A brand new, super-easy web app that connects you with your Congressional representative with just a tap. It also provides a template for what you might say.
- WhoIsMyRepresentative.com — This site will help you see who represents you in Congress. It also provides the full list of Representatives and Senators for each State and District.
Here’s your pop quiz for today:
Choose an issue you care the about. (Need a list? See the one below)
Find out how your MoC feels about that issue. Are they informed, at least? In support of or opposed? Do you feel heard when you talk to their office?
It’s time you found out AND it’s time to let your representatives know where you stand. Even if they agree with you. (It’s actually as important to let your representative know if you agree with him or her as it is if you disagree.) I can explain that in the Comments, if anyone asks. The Indivisible document I linked to above will also explain that.
So many issues, so little time.
Health Care Reform
National Security/Foreign Affairs
Feel free to add more in the Comments below.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take on all of them. Just one. One for now.
Now make that call (or write that letter) and ask what your MoC’s position is on it. Let them know how you feel in this current political climate. Let them know you are paying attention, that you want them to do the right thing. And that you and your friends vote.
How about you? Or, what motivates you to action? What keeps you from calling or writing? Can you add to my list of issues? Surely there are more.
I never expected this Blog to become so overtly political. But critical times call for critical action, IMHO. In the Comments section, please feel free to express your opinion on just how political you want this to be.
January 25: The March on Washington. My Personal Reflections
February 1: My Proposed Mission Statement. Learn what the future holds for And So It Goes.
February 8: My first guest post for the new year.