Long Night

My apologies for being offline most of the day, but today was an in-office day where I had stuff that needed to get done while I was there. Tonight was a club meeting, and I had Bitter spending the day printing letter templates she pre-wrote. As legislative chair, I had to give my report. I had felt my report was getting kind of dry and uninteresting. What a difference a month makes. I got what I needed from the Board for further action, partly thanks to the vote of confidence from the previous occupant of my offices (both of them) vote of confidence.

My idea was to give people a bit of a helping hand in communicating with lawmakers. The response was quite a bit more than I expected. Usually it’s hard to get people to take that next step, but they did at my club tonight. This is where the hope meets the change, I think, only not in the way the Administration likely wants. People are scared. They should be. Everything we’ve achieved in the past 12 years is on the line now. I will crawl over broken glass to do whatever I can to beat this back, and if we do, I don’t want to stop there. There have to be consequences to our opponents for raising the stakes.

9 thoughts on “Long Night”

  1. You’re doing great work, and people are waking up.
    No matter how this shakes out, let’s make it a fight to be proud of.

  2. Thanks for being here and being a positive light. Any possibility those templates will make their way here? My writing skills are…..subpar at best.

  3. Templates would go a long way for people in general. Sometimes they just need a little help writing down what they are thinking. I second any posting of the templates.

  4. I don’t have a template, but if you email, please use a short clear subject line, and repeat it as the first line of the body of your email.

    “Senator X – protect the Second Amendment and Fight any new gun laws.”

    It can’t be cute, or vague. You don’t want to leave any room in the subject line for somebody to think you are pro-banning guns.

    The reason is that the representative you are writing probably won’t see the letter or email. A staffer will enter it into a database. Emails get the lowest weight. Phone calls slightly better. Written letters are a big deal. Showing up in person is a huge deal. Making an appointment is the hugest deal. If you can’t get in to see your representative because they are in DC, ask to meet with an aide instead.

    The staffer enters your letter into the database, and has to code it. You want them to use the right code – against gun-bans.

    For context, coding abortion letters is really hard. Is the author for abortion or against it? What parts of abortion? The staffer won’t spend much time figuring out what you mean, so try to be absolutely clear in your subject line. Just like the abortion, the ‘pro’ side can be pro-choice or pro-life. If you just say you are pro-gun, and the staffer is not familiar with the terms of the debate, they don’t know whether you are pro-gun ban or pro-gun rights.

    If you donated to the pol you are writing to, mention that. That information gets coded, and your opinion gets more weight.

    If you voted in the last election, and if you vote in every election, mention that. That information gets coded.

    If you want them to know, mention your age, sex, race, the # of years you have lived in the district/state the politician represents, and your income. If you provide that information up front (not buried down where no one will read it), that information gets coded.
    If you get any response (even just a thank you letter), send a thank you letter/email for the response, and re-iterate your points. If the response is signed by a chief of staff instead of the representative, write your thank you letter back to that chief of staff, not the representative.

    1. Yes, I want to endorse what dustydog said. Writing “long thoughtful letters” in fact does not impress legislators, any more than a concise one-liner, and the more you/we ramble, the more they may deduce some chink in our defenses, a point of softness, that they can turn into a meme to divide and conquer us.

      I also do not like to cite organizations that may be influencing my thinking, as in fact no one speaks for me but me, and if an organization goes soft or goes batshit, I don’t want it assumed that all opinions that aligned with them can be written off. And, I have a theory there is some value in keeping them guessing where opinions are coming from. The appearance of there being organization, but with none identified, I believe worries them. With the NRA or GOA, etc., they know exactly what they are dealing with — for better or worse.

  5. Short sentences about your expectations are always best. “I am writing to ask you to oppose any new gun control legislation”

    Here is a portion of the form letter response I just got back from Sen. Bob Casey:

    “As you may know, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Pennsylvania has a fine hunting and sporting tradition, and I will defend the right to bear arms as it is enshrined in our Constitution. However, I also believe that the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School highlights very serious dangers posed to public safety by the misuse of certain weapons and technology originally developed for warfare. According to reports, the shooter was able to kill many children and adults very quickly because he possessed a military-style semiautomatic weapon. He also allegedly used magazines containing up to 30 rounds of ammunition and carried hundreds of rounds more. After much reflection and careful study of the issue, I have decided to support a federal assault weapons ban as well as legislation restricting high capacity clips. In light of what occurred at Sandy Hook, these are two measures that will lessen the chances that this will happen again soon”.

    I am going to send a brief, polite response that gun control will not lessen the chances of another Sandy hook and reiterate my opposition.

  6. Wow, thank you everybody. I know this was directed to more than just me. Many of the points mentioned I would never have thought of like coding organization membership etc.
    Thanks again

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