Share your communication with representatives again! January 8, 2021 7:48 AM   Subscribe

The last thread for sharing our communications with our elected representatives was really successful! Obviously a lot is going on in the U.S. especially right now, and with democracy itself under attack, now is as good a time as any to recommit ourselves to the idea of participatory democracy by reaching out to our elected officials.

I'd like this to be a space for people to share how they're engaging with their elected officials. I'd like not for it to be a space for debating whether this is a worthwhile activity; that's a perfectly valid discussion to have but will drown out any other discussion here.

Last time I pitched this specifically as sharing letters to representatives, but I think being a little more broad is good. If you called or left a voice message, a summary of that communication could be good too!

A few suggestions for this thread:
  • This isn't just for Mefites in the US! Democracy works best with an engaged electorate everywhere. If you feel comfortable sharing the information, you can let us know where you're writing from.
  • Likewise, this isn't just for engagement at the national level. Share your communications with state/provincial and local officials too!
  • Share your letter/summary, redacting any personally identifying information you don't want shared. You can give a little context (e.g., local issue, relevant information about your district, etc.) if you like!
  • Contacting representatives who are politically opposed to you is just as worthwhile as those you expect to be more likely to actually listen! Remind them and their offices that you're engaged and watching them.
  • Let us know if you don't mind others borrowing your ideas or text for their own communication to their elected representatives.
  • This is mostly for sharing, not critiquing/discussing. The most important thing is that you're engaging with the process and communicating your thoughts to your reps. Don't give unsolicited criticism or advice on others' writing.
  • On the other hand, if you're planning to write a letter and want help composing it, this could be a good place to ask!
A few helpful links for Americans wanting to contact their elected officials at the federal level:

Find your Congressional representative
Find your Senators

Mefites from countries other than the US are invited to share resources for contacting elected officials in their home countries as well!
posted by biogeo to MetaFilter-Related at 7:48 AM (12 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

(Apologies to biogeo for the delay in posting this; it's been a very busy couple days and this post got caught in an eddy.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:54 AM on January 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

(No worries on the delay, LM, I figured you all have your hands full right now!)
posted by biogeo at 10:26 AM on January 8, 2021

I sent the following to Senator Pat Toomey:
Dear Senator Toomey,

Following yesterday's incitement to an armed insurrection taking over the Capitol building, in a clear attempt to subvert our nation's democratic electoral process, Donald Trump must be relieved of duty immediately. He is a clear and present threat to our nation's system of government and is endangering the lives of citizens, law enforcement officers, and elected officials. As a constituent, I expect my senator to remember that his oath of office is to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that his oath calls him to rise above his party affiliation or his personal political concerns. Therefore I expect you, Senator Toomey, to work with Democrats in both the Senate and the House to remove Donald Trump from duty as the President of the United States by any legal means available, whether by cooperating with the Vice President and the cabinet to relieve the President from duty under the 25th amendment process or by assisting the House in any way possible with impeachment proceedings, then immediately voting to convict.
posted by biogeo at 10:28 AM on January 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

I called both my Rep, Jackie Speier, and my Senator, Dianne Feinstein. (Alex Padilla isn't technically my senator yet), and it was an interesting conversation with both staffers. The person I spoke with in Jackie Speier's office was quite adamant that she supported impeachment when congress reconvened if the 25th hadn't been invoked, and then at my proding about not turning this into a Gerald Ford pardon situation, asserted that they really would work to ensure that that didn't happen, and that they would actually try and pursue consequences.\

Feinstein's rep was a lot more ambiguous, supports impeachment, but can't give details etc. I asked if she was going to hug McConnell again so I wasn't the most neutral of callers, but there was a lot more hemming and hawing about what comes next and that they're taking things under advisement.
posted by Carillon at 11:26 AM on January 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

I would love a script to help me make a call like the one Carillon describes. If anyone could share one, I would really appreciate it! I want to make a call like that, but I’m one of those people who finds phone calls mildly terrifying, and I doubt my ability to actually get it done without a script.
posted by jacobian at 5:33 PM on January 8, 2021

I used the resistbot.
posted by aniola at 7:35 PM on January 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's tough jacobian! The first few times I Carter it was awkward and I didn't say much. Practice definitely makes perfect. I game planned out what I wanted to say in a Google doc so that helped. But essentially I said I'm concerned about what's going on in DC, I'm curious as to X's thoughts on next steps.

Then depending on what I heard if either say yes, and I hope that we won't repeat the situation of avoiding accountability like we did with Nixon. Or with feinstein I had a few specific complaints, so if you have now would the time to mention those issues and that as a voter you have strong issues with the conduct.

Generally I'd say write out a few main points, approach is a first part with a comment questions, then have a small flow chart from there.
posted by Carillon at 10:46 PM on January 8, 2021

I used the contact forms on my representative's and my senators' websites to write and ask for support of impeachment. Rep. Kirkpatrick (D, AZ CD-2) responded with a form letter saying that she supports 25th/articles of impeachment/whatever else necessary, which was nice. I'm hoping the existence of a form letter means the office has been receiving a lot of correspondence about this. I guess I'll follow up with the senators should the articles pass on Monday.
posted by egregious theorem at 7:08 AM on January 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

This morning I sent the following message to my two Senators, and I sent similar messages a couple days ago. I haven’t received a reply to my first message but I’m hoping that means they are over-run by incoming messages at this time. I tried calling the phone number provided for Mark Kelly, but his box is full. I was able to leave a message for Kyrsten Sinema and used my written message as a script. Both my Senators are Democrats who pride themselves in working across the aisle so I’m hoping to appeal to this “strength” to get them to convince Murkowski, Sasse, and other Republicans to convict Trump. I am truly terrified by what happened on Wednesday and that the so-called patriots (traitors) will use more lethal force in their next attack. I plan to continue to write letters and call, but I’m keeping an eye on this thread for other ideas and for stronger language.

The deliberate words and encouragement from President Trump incited Wednesday's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. We cannot simply wait out the next 11 days hoping Trump just goes away. Unless there are clear and immediate consequences for his acts of sedition, it's just a matter of time before Trump, or someone even more dangerous, attempts another attack against our Democracy. While I believe that Trump is incompetent as the leader of our nation, and that the 25th Amendment should be invoked, I believe even more strongly that his acts rise to the level of treason and other high crimes and misdemeanors, justifying impeachment. I’m writing to ask you to not only vote to convict Trump when the Articles of Impeachment arrive at the Senate, but to work purposefully with your Republican colleagues to get them to join you in voting to convict.

I am absolutely terrified over what might happen between now and January 20th, including during the inauguration ceremony). I’m counting on you and ______, as my elected Senators, to uphold your oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic – even though that enemy is the current President.

Thank you for your service. Be safe.

posted by kbar1 at 11:01 AM on January 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Jacobian, has really helpful scripts and tools. Check it out.

But I think the main thing is to just make the call. I also found making phone calls mildly terrifying! At first I spent hours getting my script right and researching what I wanted my reps to do... but it's been my experience that it doesn't really matter. They don't need my reasons.

They will be just counting volume of calls for and against, not looking for advice.

When you call, because covid and "all this", you are almost certain to get an answering machine. Just state your name, the fact that you live in their state/district, and that you fully support (immediate impeachment, or whatever action).

If you do get a person to pick up the phone, it will be a very nice staffer. You can ask for your rep's views on (topic), and depending on the answer either state your support, or demand they reconsider.

(Might also express thanks to the staffer for being there today.)
posted by evilmomlady at 4:54 AM on January 11, 2021

And to actually answer the prompt: I called both my senators and my rep, got their machines, identified myself, and said basically:

I'm calling to thank senator x for their support of immediate impeachment. I urge them to make sure that everyone who participated in the disgraceful and dangerous spectacle is held accountable for their actions.

And to my rep, who is a long time trump supporter but made a statement condemning the assault:
I'm calling to thank representative Y for their statement condemning yesterday's assault on our government. And demand that they go further by acting to make sure everyone who participated in the disgraceful and dangerous spectacle, including the president, is held accountable for their actions.
posted by evilmomlady at 5:06 AM on January 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

I received the following response from Senator Toomey, which is not exactly addressing what I wrote him about, but is actually not terrible, considering.
Thank you for contacting me about the certification of the Electoral College results for the 2020 presidential election and the impeachment of President Trump. I appreciate hearing from you.

The Constitution states that a United States citizen's right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged." It is important for this fundamental right to be protected to preserve our representative democracy. Elections are the mechanism by which voters choose their leaders and hold them accountable. Voting enables us to remain, as President Abraham Lincoln famously said, "a government of the people, by the people, for the people."

It is also important to protect the integrity of our election system by putting in place safeguards and enabling every eligible voter to participate. For example, I was supportive of Pennsylvania's efforts to pass a voter ID law that provided free photo identification to Pennsylvania voters. I have also been critical of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's unconstitutional decision to re-write state law and require county boards of election to count mail-in ballots, including those with illegible or no postmarks, that arrived three days after Election Day.

I stated publicly that the final outcome of this year's presidential election would be reached when the election process concluded, which would be after all legal votes have been counted, litigation was resolved, and any recounts were completed. In our own state, that became clear on November 21, 2020 when federal district court Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, dismissed the Trump campaign's lawsuit challenging the state's election results. Three Republican-appointed appellate judges upheld that dismissal. In light of these court decisions, President Trump exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania.

On January 6, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate met in joint session to certify the votes of the Electoral College. While Congress was trying to fulfill this constitutional duty, throngs of protestors broke through the line of law enforcement officers working to protect the Capitol and laid siege to the building. As a result of the ensuing violence, several people died, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who succumbed to his injuries after being struck in the head while he tried to help regain control of the Capitol. The actions of these rioters are an absolute disgrace, and the thugs that are responsible for Officer Sicknick's murder must be arrested and prosecuted. The law enforcement officers who helped secure the Capitol are patriots, and I am grateful for their service.

Despite this futile attempt to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election, Congress resumed its work to certify the votes of the Electoral College once the Capitol had been secured. Several Republican senators and multiple Republican House members objected to certifying the election results in two swing states-Arizona and Pennsylvania. These Members justified their objections by observing that there had been many allegations of fraud. But allegations of fraud by a losing campaign cannot justify overturning an election. They failed to acknowledge that these allegations had been adjudicated in courtrooms across America and were found to be unsupported by evidence. President Trump's own Attorney General, Bill Barr, stated that "we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election." Early in the morning on January 7, 2021, Congress formally certified the votes of the Electoral College in favor of President-Elect Biden, completing the final step in the election process.

On January 13, 2021, the House of Representatives impeached President Trump for his actions leading up to the siege of the Capitol. Two weeks later, the Senate voted, with my support, to proceed with an impeachment trial. I recognize that there are legal and constitutional arguments both favoring and opposing an impeachment trial of a former president. In my view, the text and the context of the Constitution, the meaning of the term "impeachment" to the founders, and the most relevant precedents indicate that it is constitutionally permissible for the Senate to consider the impeachment of President Trump. As the Senate conducts the trial, I will again fulfill my responsibility to consider arguments made by his lawyers and the House managers.

Thank you again for your correspondence. Do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I may be of assistance.
posted by biogeo at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2021

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