First things first, I want to applaud my senator, Debbie Stabenow, for being hella legit. I just called her office for my daily check-in, and got a little insight on her process when it comes to the Second-Place President’s cabinet nominations: Sen. Stabenow has been meeting with each nominee one-on-one, preferably face-to-face, to feel them out and attempt to get answers to the specific concerns being raised by her constituents. None of the grand-standing or histrionics congressfolk are notorious for, just a straight-up, respectful Q&A. This also means that when Stabenow announced that she would not support Jeff Sessions or Betsy DeVos, she had already told them this to their faces. I respect the hell out of that, and knowing this bit about her process helps me feel less terrible. Thank you, Sen. Stabenow!
Second, I want to clarify two things about calling your reps (which you should be doing daily. Please!):
- Call your reps even if you know they already agree with you and are doing what you want done! Tell them “thank you!” If you feel even an iota safer knowing that they are going to bat for you, then say so. This serves two purposes:
- It’s a numbers game. They count calls, and those numbers mean something, not just in their office, but on the floor of the House and Senate. The Honorable Gentleman from BFE cares a helluva lot about 100 calls from folks in his district—at the very least, those people can fire him in a couple short years!—but he sure as hell doesn’t just ignore 10,000 calls in The Honorable Lady’s district over in Big City Metro Area, because he sure as hell doesn’t plan on representing BFE his whole damn life. He wants to go places. (This isn’t just my opinion; this is what Rep. Dingell’s office told me this morning: The number one thing you can do as an individual citizen is keep calling.)
- Your reps have the worst job, and they need moral support. They are going to get screamed at and threatened for sticking up for the things we want—that’s ludicrous, because you’d think all Americans should want well-funded schools, neighbors from all over the world, and safe drinking water, but here we are. Your reps have to get up every morning, put on uncomfortable shoes, and go get screamed at by weirdos. It is a lot easier for them to hang tough if they can keep in mind how many hundreds of folks back home have their back.
- Making these calls is as much about your mental health as our nation’s stability. Even when you’re on the losing end of an issue—and you will be, often—you are going to start feeling better if you take 10 minutes each day to talk to these staffers, to hear their confidence and enthusiasm and bravery and support of you, as a citizen and a fellow human.
So, go! Get out there! Make your calls and then get on with your day!