I needed a break from a home-improvement project and sat on the top step of my front porch in order to take it. I pulled out my cell phone and started scrolling through the names listed there on the off chance that I'd find somebody I hadn't had a chat with in a while.
Expecting to reach the end of the list - where the customer service number is located - before I found somebody to call, I did happen upon the name of a Kossack that I hadn't spoken with in about a year. Mostly because she NEVER calls me (hint-hint) but also because I should call her more often than I do.
So we have this conversation about all sorts of different things. What was supposed to be a 10-minute break turned into an hour-long-plus chat about this site, some of you (all good, I swear it!), and because we are Kossacks . . . current events.
When it was over, I had promised a diary. This is it. I was supposed to publish it on Tuesday, but Life has other plans for us sometimes. So while late, here it is. It was also supposed to be titled, "What Now?" After some thought, I decided to use the current title.
I shall now attempt to nudge you, dear reader, into taking just a little bit of action for your own good, that of your neighbors, and the nation as a whole. You won't have to go door-to-door! You won't have to do anything illegal! You'll probably have a terrific time and I guarantee that you will feel really, REALLY good about yourself at the end.
Sound good so far? Good. Now join me below the Kospaghetti for the details.
You have about 30 days to complete this small task. That's an entire month. Surely, we can find the time in that month to do this. Each of us. ALL of us. As was said by Country Joe McDonald to the crowd at Woodstock, "There's about 300,000 of you fuckers out there, and I want you to start singin'!"
Both houses of Congress are in recess for the rest of this calendar month and for about a week into September. This means that they're all back in their home districts and states - looking to make nice with voters and (especially) campaign donors. The Senate doesn't even go back into session until September 9th. The House - I'm not as certain of the date because my Google of their calendar reveals confusing bullshit. Which is the point, I guess. Let's say that the House starts on September 9th also.
You can already see what's coming, can't you? Yes you can.
Use THIS WEBSITE to find out how to get in touch with your senators and representatives, and then SCHEDULE A MEETING WITH THEM.
Do not accept that their calendar is full (it's a lie to keep you out of the office and a potential donor IN the office). Do not accept that they're too busy, or that there are important meetings for them to attend. That's a load of horseshit designed to keep the little, unimportant people (like you and me) safely out of the congresscritter's face.
Your job is to get in their face. Your representative and at least one senator. You have a month to do so.
If Markos would start issuing us all Press Credentials, we could REALLY get in their faces. But, that would be an unruly thing to attempt. There are too many of us.
Some tactics you can try:
Ask where you can get an on-line copy of the critter's schedule while they're on break from doing nothing in DC - just don't put it that way.
Tell the person lying to you on the phone that you are willing and able to show up with a couple of dozen people instead of just alone, and are perfectly willing to pack their waiting room solid for days on end.
Most effective: Tell them that if you're unable to schedule an appointment with the critter, you intend to reach out to every press and media organization that will listen and have THEM ask why a constituent can't get in to see their own elected representative. Save this for last, though. It's the nuclear option.
Speaking of nuclear option, I'm certain that the NSA has now picked up on this diary because the software flagged it for the word "nuclear". Well, the NSA can kiss my entire ass.
Let us now assume that you have (by hook or by crook) been able to secure a 15-minute window of opportunity with your respective critter. Do not accept a meeting with one of their aides. That's a cop-out on their part. You didn't vote for an aide and the aide does not vote on bills. At all costs, BE PREPARED with your issue(s). Whatever those issues may be, show up EARLY and with all the FACTS ready in your head. Take notes on what their response(s) is/are.
Don't bring up Ed Snowden! That's a dead-end issue for these dunderheads. While the USA would never consider turning away a Russian version of Mr. Snowden should he wash up on our shores, OUR Snowden is a no-brainer for 98% of these people. Besides, Ed is safely in Russia and there is nothing that our critters can do about him.
What they WILL respond to is the NSA's illegal spying on us. That's certainly a hot-button issue. Stay on point with that and hammer it home. We want their votes going our way on this. The Fourth Amendment is not negotiable.
Other things that you might want to bring up if they're important to you:
Prosecuting Wall St.
Natural Gas Fracking
Ending our Wars
Arms Dealing by the USA
The Militarization of the Police
The Out-of-Control Defense Budget
Caring for Our Veterans - especially the disabled
Healthcare as a Right
Campaign Finance Reform
Labor Issues (choose from the long list)
Gun Control - especially protecting the right of any home or business to prohibit guns.
There are lots more. Have two or three ready to go. And don't accept non-answers as answers.
When you leave, you will have plenty of material for a diary of your own. Tell us how it went, what they were wearing, all about their hair, and where you were able to get them to commit to standing on your particular issue(s).
We're not going to get anywhere on our issues if we don't get in their faces about these things. PHONE CALLS ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Strongly-worded letters are not good enough! We will get nowhere as the 101st Chairborne Division, chatting among ourselves. We will have impact when we are in their faces. If we remain in our comfy computer chairs just hashing things out amongst ourselves, we relegate ourselves to being ignore-able. When we show up at their plush offices, we become much more of a force to be reckoned with. Do you think that the right-wing dopes are going to miss out on this opportunity? Let's hope that they do! Let's plan that they won't.
"There's about 300,000 of you fuckers out there, and we have to start screaming!"
Now, for those of you who are REALLY ambitious, I'd like to discuss - DISCUSS, not plan yet - a short (2 or 3 day) gathering of Kossacks in DC for an "Afflict the Comfortable" session with our critters. If you can't get to one of 'em while they're home, maybe we can get some folks together who can schedule some face time with these do-nothings while they're in DC. I was hoping we could shoot for the week of September 16th.
The "Hit 'em While They're Home" assignment is not optional. The DC idea needs work.
What are you prepared to do? Let me hear from you in the comments!