Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dark days, continued

Remember this post I wrote back in December? My day-to-day life is basically the same, although I have since become more comfortable with calling my representatives. Also, I live in fear that I or people I know will survive a natural disaster only to learn that the president is too incompetent or childish to see to it that the federal government provides aid in a prompt manner. And I worry that we're one presidential tweet storm away from war. I used to worry a lot more about Friday news, but I've since become numb to that.

The reason why I'm writing this post is to include some links - then I promise I'll go back to posting nothing but reviews.

First, if you're like me and there are so many horrible things going on that you just can't keep track, the Weekly List is useful. Just be aware that it can also be deeply depressing. I looked at one of the earlier weeks and was appalled at how many horrible things have already stopped being talked about. But I guess you can't keep talking about old news when horrible new news keeps happening and the main people who need to be removed from office are still there.

Second, I figured I'd share links that I consider particularly helpful when calling my representatives. When I first started calling, I relied on them heavily. I still use them a lot because I don't always understand exactly what I need to be asking for in order for my call to be most effective, but I'm now relaxed enough (relatively) to call about topics not covered by a pre-written script.

1. Celeste P.'s Twitter - Celeste is currently a political staffer, although not at a federal level. Reading her tweets helped me a lot when I first started calling, because she gave me a better idea of what to expect and what a call to a representative's office should be like. She has a helpful website with call scripts that I'll link to next, but her Twitter account is more likely to have the most current scripts and advice. One thing I like about her tweets: she tries to avoid confirmation bias.

2. It's Time to Fight - Celeste P.'s website of current issues and helpful scripts. What I do: I pick one or two things I'm going to call about. I go over Celeste's script and edit it to more closely fit how I naturally talk. I try saying the results out loud and figure out if there are any personal stories I want to bring up. I scribble notes onto a scrap of paper or note card and then make my call. I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of every call I've made (since sometime in February, anyway), what I've called about, when I've called, and whether I got voicemail or a real person. If I have something more lengthy I'd like to say or if it's after hours and voicemail is full, I'll send an email instead.

3. 5 Calls - I include this mostly because others find it helpful. It's slicker, visually, than Celeste's site, and sometimes it covers topics that Celeste's site doesn't, but something about it also feels more inflexible to me. I've used it on an occasional basis, but I much prefer Celeste's site and scripts.

When I first started calling, part of the reason I was worried was because I had the impression that the calls might turn into a debate. For the most part, this hasn't been true. The person at the other end wants to know my name and ZIP code, what I'm calling about, and maybe my mailing address (I've gotten several pieces of snail mail from my congressman), and that's it. I have had someone try to argue with me a grand total of once. I told them that while I respected their opinion I wanted them to write down what I'd said and send it on to my representative, thank you very much. This worked very well.

There you go. Now back to reviews, when I can manage to make myself write them. I'm so far behind right now that it's ridiculous.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I had been calling more, but now I just feel like I don't where to start -- there are so many things to be concerned about. But that's a terrible excuse. :-) This has prompted me to do more!

    1. I feel the same. I had gotten to the point where I was calling daily, and now it's more like once every week or two because there's just so much that it's overwhelming. The one thing that's helped me is to sit down, tell myself that I will make a call, and then pick something, just one thing, to call about. It's only one thing, but I know from looking at Celeste P.'s timeline and from full voicemail inboxes that there are lots of other people calling. That helps.