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Getting Action in Washington
Old 07-09-2007, 11:25 AM   #1
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Getting Action in Washington

We all become exercised at one time or another about various legislation, issues,etc. So, when you're steamed up or excited about a topic, what is your favorite/best means to move things forward?

For example, I know several of us have participated in marches/demonstrations in DC. I can't see myself doing this--it's too far, expensive, and I'm not sure my single head in the crowd would really send much of a message. I could use that same day to crank out quite a few letters, and if I gave the $$ I would have spent on transportation and lodging to a group that supports my issue, I think it's likely to do more good than my attendance at some rally. Heck, I hear that a couple million bucks can buy a used but still serviceable Congressman.

On the other hand, going to a rally achieves the tent-revival effect and serves to get the attendees motivated.

So, without respect to a particular issue, what's the best way to have an impact? Maybe being ER is a factor--many of us have more time for these things now.
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:40 AM   #2
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So, without respect to a particular issue, what's the best way to have an impact? Maybe being ER is a factor--many of us have more time for these things now.
I e-mail local/state reps all the time. A short, succinct issue/recommendation summary will usually get a response (especially when it's 6-9 months before their re-election) that can expand into more detail. We were concerned about an old bridge in our area and our state rep dug up a DOT study (one that never would have made it into the media or anyone's newsletter) that reassured us.

If you don't get a response on the first one, send a second (shorter) missive and close with descriptive nouns like "Veteran, retiree, parent, in my 40s-- and I vote!"

I think groups like the Military Officer's Association of America and their ilk have a huge impact.

Affinity groups can attract politicians. In our case, our local day-long "Retiree Affairs Seminar" was exactly the demographic that Hawaii Rep Neil Abercrombie wanted to address a few months before his re-election. (The admiral had to boot the seminar off the naval base to avoid Hatch Act accusations.) I'd never been that close to a member of congress before but I think he felt that he'd be talking to a group containing an extremely high percentage of active voters. The attendees, mostly military retirees in their 70s, let him get through his pitch but then they gave him several earfuls on his Armed Services Committee business and Medicare. By the time he attempted his exit, several had smelled blood and practically chased him into the parking lot with their helpful suggestions.
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Old 07-09-2007, 12:03 PM   #3
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Let's see - I have written letters to the editor, I have written to the president and both of my senators; I have volunteered for and contributed to political campaigns; I have contributed to organizations espousing views similar to mine. At the end of the day, however, I would have to say that the results of all my efforts have been akin to p*ssing on a forest fire. The people in Washington who are not outright criminals are egomaniacs -- neither group cares what I think. I'm tired and I have essentially given up on the process.
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Old 07-09-2007, 12:54 PM   #4
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Let's see - I have written letters to the editor, I have written to the president and both of my senators; I have volunteered for and contributed to political campaigns; I have contributed to organizations espousing views similar to mine.
Same here. Some successes....some failures. But either way, I had my say!!!

If my ideals, desires, and views were not accepted or carried out by the thieving, lying, money grubbing, worthless pieces of sh*t elected officials, I voiced my opinion at the polls during the next election. Again, some successes....some failures. And again, I had my say!!!
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:23 PM   #5
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Just remember what Mark Twain (or was it Will Rogers) said. America has the best elected officials that money can buy.

Letter writing to your Congress entity helps, they do have someone in their office at least read the letter and there are reports of voter sentiment.

Starting your own PAC might be useful too.
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
We all become exercised at one time or another about various legislation, issues,etc. So, when you're steamed up or excited about a topic, what is your favorite/best means to move things forward?

.
I've had good responses using E-mail. I was having problems with getting my late husbands government pension supplemental benefit .I emailed everybody including Hilary and I got results .
Last year I had problems with my homeowners insurance and I emailed the head of the insurance commision in Florida and I also got some help.
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:37 PM   #7
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I had this conversation, more or less, with the wife yesterday regarding more generic 'service levels', contractor performances, and a retrospect into my working world days.

I always have tried to get underperforming people to understand their shortfalls and change them, and as a last remediation, make them feel an awful lot of pain and suffering for their efforts, or lack thereof. I figured "well, this will result in them improving their performance, because everyone really does want to do well, or at a minimum, avoid having me jumping on their desk and screaming in their face as a likely outcome". Never really happened. Tilting at windmills.

My conclusion is that you wont change anyone, just put them in the mood to lash back at you, or at best run up your own blood pressure for naught.

One thing that I can offer is that bad press and/or open press can create
a desired result on a matter, at least in the short term.

Once the media has its teeth in the issue, folks will make an effort to solve the problem and get it out of the papers.

I got GE to replace my fridge by sic'ing the consumer affairs guys on them. I stopped a broad and expectedly unpleasant effort to convert my town into a city by writing a factual letter to the editor.

You basically have to pull someones pants down in public to effect change. But anticipate the backlash.
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:43 PM   #8
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...Getting Action in Washington

To some, getting action in Washington is all about sex. But that is another subject altogether. Just ask Bill.
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