PEOPLE change the world...
I cribbed the following from a fellow activist on FB.
What? Any way you can get your message across counts.
You can either sit back and drone on about the end of time, or you can do something. I get the sense that sometimes people feel powerless. THAT'S the whole strategy, believe it or not.
I hope this serves you in some way...
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-=[ A Field-Manual to Getting Your Voice Heard ]=-
-- Margaret Mead
Dear Facebook friends,
As you will see below, I recently wrote to my Facebook friend, Connie Schultz, asking for some guidance for you and me on how we might best impact Congress as the health care reform legislation process continues. Today, Nancy Pelosi unveiled the House version, and earlier Senator Reid put forth the Senate version – both with at least some form a public option. Now the real work of crafting the final legislation begins, and we deserved a seat at the table. Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and coincidentally is married to Senator Sherrod Brown, D-OH. Connie has in the past told me that our telephone calls really do make a difference. Today I asked her for her counsel on which of the many options we all have available to us might really be the most effective. Connie doesn’t advertise her relationship with Senator Brown, nor does she hide it, but she doesn’t want to be thought of as a “back alley” into his personal office. I have always respected that, and you will see that reflected in the correspondence below. With that in mind, I asked Connie how she would want me to share with you the information I know you all would want to have. She replied that she had no problem with revealing my sources (as journalists like to say!), so I have elected to simply reproduce our correspondence verbatim below. Connie’s’ initial response to my query contains all the information any of you will need to make your voice heard in Washington in these critical days and weeks ahead. Yes, we can..!
Use this simple link to easily call ALL your representatives NOW:
Please re-post this note for the benefit of all your Facebook friends.
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Now that we have a real health care bill in both the House and the Senate, it’s clear that we all need to be contacting our representatives - supporting those who need our support, and convincing those who need our convincing. Many Facebook friends are asking me, “What’s the best thing we can be doing at this critical moment to make our voices heard?”
I have great respect for you, and you’ve told me before that Senators really do pay attention to their phone calls from constituents. We grassroots citizens have many options for action – we can phone our own representatives: we can phone representatives from other states and districts; we can send e-mails; we can send faxes; we can send real letters via the USPS; we can sign any number of online petitions; we can even protest in the streets and go to jail, as some of my Facebook friends bravely did in Baltimore yesterday.
My question to you is: which of these efforts is the best use of any citizen’s limited amount of time? Which are the most effective?
I look forward to hearing your response, and I’d also love to get your take on today’s House bill (your take, not the Senator’s) - and on where you believe we go from here.
All my best,
BELOW IS THE RESPONSE WITH THE ACTION PLAN:
I am so grateful for your in-the-trenches activism.
Here's what works best: Original messages -- via e-mail, regular mail and phone messages -- to representatives and senators FROM THEIR CONSTITUENTS. I capitalize that because most offices have automatic filters for area codes, zip codes and IP addresses. Constituent mail is the only thing they care about because that is who they represent and -- in too many cases, unfortunately -- that is who is eligible to vote for or against them in the next election.
Even if you're fairly certain that your particular representative and senators will support what you support, it's important to weigh in. It gives them crucial ammunition to stand on the House and Senate floors and say: This is what the people of my state, my district, want. Can't overestimate the importance of this.
Online petitions and form letter/e-mails are far less effective. Personal narratives have the chance of inclusion in floor speeches.
I can't overemphasize the importance of weighing in now, in every direct and personal way possible. This is it. This is the time, particularly if we want to preserve the public option.
Also, calling in to local radio shows on the issue, and writing letters to the editor matter. I always encourage people to write letters to their local newspapers because, even if their letters do not run, editors are counting the responses as a way of gauging the mood of their readers.
Does this help?
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Thank you so much for your kind note, and for taking the time to answer in such a comprehensive manner. Does it help? Absolutely!
May I copy your recommendations and broadcast them to my nearly 3,000 Facebook friends? I could do that in any number of ways: I could just send out copies of your note, of course, but I could also do so with modifications and without mentioning you, if you prefer. I would probably not mention your relationship to the Senator, assuming that's what you would prefer, but I would like to give your advice some extra credibility by saying something like, "Pulitzer-award winning columnist and wife of a sitting Senator." lol Doesn’t give you much cover, does it..? You tell me what works for you.
The other thing I can do is simply offer your advice as mine, and figure out a way of saying I have this on very good authority, but leaving you completely anonymous as the source.
In any case, I again give you my sincerest thanks for the helpful information. My friends are working on this, and they will pass on the marching orders to their hundreds of friends, and we will have thousands working on this - literally.
All my best,
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John, if it helps you to identify me in all my roles -- ahem -- then do so. I've made no secret of my support for a public option, nor am I shy about publicly expressing my love and admiration for my husband, who has worked tirelessly for this issue since his election to the house in 1992. He still refuses to take the Congressional health coverage until all Americans have access to affordable health care. I made him get on my plan when we married in 2004; we pay about $350 a month for his coverage. Could not be prouder of him.
Excerpt as you see necessary. We need to pass to health care reform.