An Unholy Alliance

I’ve just been told that I must remain here until Mack and Carter get back from smoking.  The two of them together, plotting, makes me nervous.  Hopefully they’re just discussing where to get good tamales.  But imagine if they find common ground of some sort.

Also, I need a haircut.

You know what tickles me?  Every single legislator we’ve talked to has made a point of telling us how busy they are.  No one has asked about it, so clearly, it’s a perception they feel people have of them and they’re worried about it.

Oh, and I asked about the best ways for constituents to get a hold of their legislators (especially after Rachel’s whole form letter incident) and this is what I learned.

Form letters from out of a person’s district get deleted or disregarded almost instantly.  Form letters from within a district get answered, but not really considered.  A personal email is considered, but all of them said that they’re inundated with so much email that it’s probably not that effective.  So, either an old fashioned letter or a phone call is the way to go.

Who knew?

Well, I guess some folks.

But isn’t that the trick?  Some folks just know that they can call up a legislator and be heard.  The rest of us, I believe, feel ahead of time that our voice would not matter to people in power and so we don’t bother.  I don’t know how you overcome that on your own.  It takes something or someone to show you a different way.

I mean really how crazy is it that here I sit blogging away in the state capitol?

I don’t know.  It’s like Plimco said.  If someone had told me ten years ago that this would be such a big part of my life and it would take me here or out east or where ever, I’m not sure I’d have believed it.

Ha, Carter just poked his head in so I guess they’re back from their smoke.  I’m going out to watch the New Americans have their day on the hill.  Maybe more later.

13 thoughts on “An Unholy Alliance

  1. I don’t know whether calling state legislators works, but I’ve had no luck calling members of Congress. The aide who answers the phone says s/he will pass your message along, but you figure s/he probably won’t, and there’s no acknowledgement except once in a while a form letter thanking you for expressing the opposite opinion from what you actually said.

    I have gotten responses to e-mails to members of Congress, evidently forms but at least on topic and seemingly aware of the opinion I’ve actually expressed. I’ve also gotten helpful responses when asking for advice/assistance.

    So go figure.

  2. Your doing great.
    I’m so disappointed that I couldn’t be there. Seriously. I would have loved it.
    And I would have smoked with Carter and Mack, so I got that going for me.
    Smokers do plot.
    Bwwhaahaa.

    Just saying.

  3. Okay, seriously, I think I can help here nm and Katherine.
    Find out who each of your legislator’s assistants are. Many times, legislators are on the floor or in committee.When they aren’t there, I also know that when they aren’t on the Hill, they are doing the meeting with special interest groups and then the required public service thing.
    I realize I’m being sort of generic here but bear with me.
    I get through to them by talking to their assistants who I’ve created a dialogue with. Also, go to their pages on-line and many times their work phone numbers in their hometowns are listed.
    That’s the best bet. Most legislators are home on Fridays (not all the time, but a lot of the time.)
    I don’t know if this helps. I realize it takes some time and effort, but most times, they should respond. If they don’t, you politely make them accountable for not responding.
    I hope this is helpful.

  4. My impression has been that the staffs of members of Congress are knowledgeable and ready to be helpful when I ask for help or information. As I said above, I’ve been told what to do and where to go (in the constructive sense) when I needed to find out. And that was with no previous contact–they were just great. But when I wanted to express an opinion, they couldn’t be bothered, or at any rate couldn’t be bothered to get things right.

  5. I understand.
    You know, nm, the thing that does bother me about politicians, it doesn’t matter if they are local, state or federal, is the inst-arrogance which sets in.
    I agree with what you’re saying. Sorry I misunderstood.

  6. On the one hand, I’m sort of thrilled to realize that that many people DO take the time to let their feelings and opinions be known, form letter or not. The other hand, of course (if what you say is the norn and I suspect that it is), is that the great majority of those are completely ignored. So what good does it do? Who exactly, are our representatives then representing? Just the special interests? I am cynical, so that’s what I believe. And like newscoma, said, that arrogance sets in. So what do they do and vote how they vote in the lack of any real feedback? Vote for just a few instead of the many they are supposed to be representing?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. And why I don’t want to know. I just dutifully vote every time I am expected to, and only occasionally think that it matters. Bah.

  7. Yes, B, don’t forget that you have to jump through the correct hoops to get an appropriate answer! Didn’t you learn that on our day without feminism? :P

  8. I can’t help thinking that if everybody who ever sends email (in whatever form) to their legislators started calling instead, the legislators would be saying they’re too inundated with calls to respond to their constituents.

  9. You know, nm, the thing that does bother me about politicians, it doesn’t matter if they are local, state or federal, is the inst-arrogance which sets in.

    I can’t help thinking that if everybody who ever sends email (in whatever form) to their legislators started calling instead, the legislators would be saying they’re too inundated with calls to respond to their constituents.

    Exactly. This is what I’ve been bitching about for two weeks now. And I love that ACK basically responded with the White Male Privilege answer of “if you are elected you are a leader”. There’s too much arrogance and entitlement among the elected of both major parties. They’re apparently too busy playing Call of Duty during floor votes to actually REPRESENT the people they are supposed to be representing.

    /rant

  10. Good points, all. I’m just miffed about the form letter thing, because, as I was saying to Carter, that’s what a lot of us are told is a good and useful way to reach our representatives and come to find out that the best way to reach them is to just somehow magically discern that they don’t mind being called.

    I mean, really, this is one of those things where I feel like how I was raised works against me because I was raised to not bother folks while they’re at work. That’s why I like the idea of email. You email someone and when they have time, they get to it. You’re not interrupting.

    But it turns out instead that we are supposed to interrupt.

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m not articulating it well, but it just makes me mad that we seem to raise girls to be ineffectual in the public sphere and that indoctrination happens so subtly that you don’t even notice all the ways in which you’re “not bothering” people to your own detriment.

  11. Also, using a form letter from an organization doesn’t mean you care any less about an issue. I’m not convinced it’s appropriate to say, “Oh, this was started by organization X, therefore all of these constituents’ opinions don’t count.”

  12. Rachel, if I could have gotten a word in edgewise, I was trying to tell him that, surely, when you recieve an overwhelming amount of form letters on the same subject, clearly there is reason to respond.

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