09 February 2017

No. 93: Become more politically involved. Sigh.

No. 93: Become more politically involved.


I wish I didn't have to do this. I have always been a big believer of the checks and balances of our great country. Four or eight years of one political party was okay because inevitably the other party would resume power preventing too much power (or too much destruction). Our presidents have for the most part been reasonable and thinking men (sigh, again, always men) that governed with a nod to history and the decorum expected of the highest position of the most powerful country.

Until now. The American people voted for change and Boy! did we get it.

Twitter has become our White House press secretary. The actual press secretary seems to be in the dark half the time. Business is getting DONE. Act first, think later. Ruffle a few feathers and then send someone else along to smooth things over.

My messy desk. 
Apparently our new President likes a messy desk, also. 

On the bright side I now am aware of the different cabinets, who has been nominated for these cabinets and what the qualifications (or lack of) the nominees have for these same cabinets. With a normal Presidential change of regime, cabinet members are installed with a minimum of fuss. Presidents tend to nominate people who are qualified and knowledgable in that particular field. There might be some debate as to whether they are going with the status quo or about to make some changes, but at least the nominees are familiar with their department.

Nope. Not now.          
Now apparently all that is required is the President knows your name and he wants to give you a job.

Our Senators and Representatives are mostly voting along party lines to confirm these people, furthering the platform of our elected leader.  Whatever that platform is...

Which brings me to No. 93.

In the past three weeks I have written and called my Congressional representatives multiple times. I have signed petitions. (Yes, President Trump, I do still think it would be a good idea to produce your tax returns. I DO care.)

I was at the post office this week buying pre stamped postcards to keep handy. My distinguished representatives have phone lines that go straight to "this mail box is full" recordings.   Letters may be held up if they look suspicious. Post cards are easy to read and require no effort so they have become my communication form of choice.

I am more aware and more involved than ever and I know many of my friends are feeling and acting the same.  That's a good thing.

I have been remiss.

Not anymore.

Links for your assistance if you, too, would like to get involved.
Positive involvement is also appreciated. I sent thank you cards to the two brave Republican women 
who voted against Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education.

Who do you contact?  Click here
Responsible news sources? Click here for  most trusted, here for some independent resources and here for an entertaining and reliable Monday through Friday update.

Labels. Not just for return addresses.
These are ready for the postcards.

How should you communicate? Here's some good advice from Ben Wideman, a Mennonite pastor in Pennsylvania about a visit to his Republican senator's office:

Just got back from a visit to Senator Pat Toomey's Johnstown office with 15 other Borough of State College & Penn State area people to talk about the immigration ban. Here are my takeaways;
1. Everyone we spoke with was rattled. They have never experienced this much constant feedback. The phones haven't stopped since the Inauguration and they admitted they can't check voicemail because there is no pause to do so.
2. Letters are the only thing getting through at this point [Note: I've heard that postcards are better because they can impound letters for five weeks to check for contaminants]. Regional offices are a much better mail destination because the compile, sort, and send everything. DC mail is so backed up right now it takes twice as long to send things there.
3. Toomey's staff seem frustrated with Trump. They said his barrage of Executive Orders are not how government is supposed to work, and was what they hated during moments of the Obama era. One of them said, "we have a democratic system and process. Trump needs to stop behaving like a Monarch."
4. Our representatives are listening because people are raising their voices. This feels like no other political moment in recent time for them.
5. Toomey's staffers are far more empathetic than I assumed. Also far more technology illiterate (one asked me how to use twitter, and how we already knew about Toomey's published statement). They resonate that the immigration ban feels immoral and unAmerican.
6. Regional offices are not designed to handle this volume of unrest.
7. Personal stories matter. Tell the stories of people being impacted by arbitrary religious and ethnic legislation. Staffers want to know.
8. Don't stop. Do whatever small part you can do to keep raising your voice to your representatives. Not just this issue, but every way marginalized people are being (or will be) exploited under this President.

Be involved. Our lives may very well depend on it. 

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