Resistance In Our Republic Looks Something Like This Citizens
It’s frustrating I know. You’ve been voting, calling, writing, emailing and marching but now feel helpless under this regime. There is no need to despair Democrats and others who oppose fascism. There are a couple of things you need to remember in order to maintain resistance.
November 6, 2018
That’s the date on which 33 US senate seats, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and 39 state and territorial governorships (and numerous state and local elections) will be up for election. Voting for those opposed to Trump, or even running ourselves, is how we take the power away from a would be tyrant in our system. The goal is to turn these current minorities into present and future majorities. This is almost 2 years from now though. We came close in the last round of senatorial and congressional elections but still failed to hit a majority. What do we do until then to keep the resistance going?
This Is What Resistance Is In Our Republic
There are two things that all Democrats and the resistance should be doing all the time, right now, and they’re by far the most important things. Those things are not online petitions or emailing. Electric attempts to work within the system are generally wastes of time.
Get Face to Face With Your Representative
The best thing you can do to be heard and get your congressperson to pay attention is to have face-to-face time. If they have townhalls, go to them. Go to their local offices. If you’re in DC, try to find a way to go to an event of theirs. Go to the “mobile offices” that their staff hold periodically (all these times are located on each congressperson’s website). When you go, ask questions. A lot of them. And push for answers. The louder and more vocal and present you can be at those, the better. But those in-person events don’t happen every day.
The absolute most important thing that people should be doing every day is calling. 6 calls a day should be made: Two each to the DC office and local office of your two Senators & two to your Representative. Any sort of online contact basically gets immediately ignored, and letters pretty much get thrown in the trash (unless you have a particularly strong emotional story – but even then it’s not worth the time it took you to craft that letter).
Calls are what all the congresspeople pay attention to. Every single day, the Senior Staff and the Senator get a report of the 3 most-called-about topics for that day at each of their offices (in DC and local offices), and exactly how many people said what about each of those topics. They’re also sorted by zip code and area code.
Republican callers generally outnumber Democrat callers 4-1, and when it’s a particular issue that single-issue-voters pay attention to (like gun control, or Planned Parenthood funding, etc…), it’s often closer to 11-1, and that’s recently pushed Republican congressmen on the fence to vote with the Republicans. In the last 8 years, Republicans have called, and Democrats haven’t. But what do you do when you call?
Calling DC Offices
Ask for the Staff member in charge of whatever you’re calling about (“Hi, I’d like to speak with the staffer in charge of Healthcare, please”) – local offices won’t always have specific ones, but they might. If you get transferred to that person, awesome. If you don’t, that’s OK. Ask for their name, and then just keep talking to whoever answered the phone. Don’t leave a message unless the office doesn’t pick up at all. It’s better to talk to the staffer who first answered than leave a message for the specific staffer in charge of your topic.
Make sure you give it to them. They won’t always ask for it, but make sure you give it to them, so they can mark it down. Extra points if you live in a zip code that traditionally votes for them, since they’ll want to make sure they get/keep your vote.
Make It Personal
If you can do so, do it. “I voted for you in the last election and I’m worried/happy/whatever” or “I’m a teacher, and I am appalled by Betsy DeVos,” or “as a single mother” or “as a white, middle class woman,” or whatever. This makes it real.
Pick 1-2 Specific Things Per Day to Focus On
Don’t go down a whole list. They’re figuring out what 1-2 topics to mark you down for on their lists. So, focus on 1-2 per day. Ideally something that will be voted on or taken up in the next few days, but it doesn’t really matter. Even if there’s not a vote coming up in the next week, call anyway. It’s important that they just keep getting calls.
Be Clear On What You Want
“I’m disappointed that the Senator…” or “I want to thank the Senator for their vote on…” or “I want the Senator to know that voting in _____ way is the wrong decision for our state because…” Don’t leave any ambiguity.
Wear Them Down
They may get to know your voice or just plain get sick of you. It doesn’t matter. The people answering the phones generally turn over every 6 weeks anyway, so even if they’re really sick of you, they’ll be gone in 6 weeks.
If you hate being on the phone or feel awkward on it, don’t worry about it. There are a bunch of scripts floating around. After a few days of calling, it starts to feel a lot more natural. Put the 6 numbers in your phone (all under P – Politician. An example is Politician Schumer NY, Politician Schumer DC, Politician Gillibrand NY, Politician Gillibrand DC etc…) which makes it really easy to click down the list each day.
That’s it. There is no glamorous act that will cause the toppling of a threat to our Republic by a populist. Resistance is not easy. We have to do the work. The question is, do we want to do the work?