Monday, September 7, 2009

It's Write Your Congressfolks Day! Labor Day in the "DO SOMETHING for Health Care Reform" series

It's Labor Day, I taught and held office hours all morning, went home and had a late lunch, went to bed for a nap (not enough sleep last night), and slept for four hours instead of two -- so I am running behind on my Congress post. More in an hour or two in this space!


Here we go. Happy Labor Day! Health care reform. Contacting Congress. That's today's action.

I mentioned NETWORK yesterday. NETWORK has a very useful resource page which I mentioned yesterday. On this page, among other resources, are those on citizen lobbying. They include, among others, guidelines for communicating with people who think differently (how 'bout that?), tips for writing and calling your Member of Congress, and tips for visiting your Member of Congress in Washington or in your district. Also tips for writing letters to the editor.

The page also includes reflection, meditation, and prayer resources. (NETWORK is a religious organization founded by Catholic Christians, though you will find that the reflection resources are ecumenically pertinent and may even be helpful for persons outside the Christian tradition.)

For now, let's keep it simple:

1. Write or phone your Member of Congress and your two Senators. Tell them where you stand on health care reform. Tell them clearly. Tell them now. Tell them to act. If they are working actively for either a robust public option or for single-payer care, thank them. Remind them that you are a constituent and that you vote. Stay courteous.

If, like me, you are from Greensboro, NC, here is contact info for your reps and Senators; the Senators, of course, are Senators for all North Carolinians.

2. Here are tips for writing them.

3. Here are tips for phoning them. I found this page particularly helpful.

...more below the photo....

4. Here are tips for visiting them. This is a good one to do with a group of people. Very helpful prep and check sheet. Note: You have to do your homework! Just as the President is about to say to the kidlings.

If you're not in Washington or can't get there, there's always the district office. (The document to which this links includes a link to a directory of Congressional district offices.)

*****Got some spare time tomorrow after the three-day holiday weekend is over? Are you unemployed? Use your time for the common good! You'll feel great.

5. And here, for your meditation, is "Engaging Differences," a reflection, with a few guidelines, on communicating with people who think differently from you.

6. Want to have a resource to watch with your friends, your religious community, your class, your union, your youth group, your family, your community action group, your retirement community? For $5 you can get a video and study guide (which can be used without the video) either in English or in Spanish. It's called "Your Voice Counts" or "Tu Voz Cuenta."
Here is the link to the order forms. The study guide includes all the tip sheets above and more.

Stay on message. Keep it simple. Even a very short note or phone call can make a difference. They count 'em, you know.

A personally written letter carries much more weight than those form postcards they distribute at community events.

If you're not feeling too shy, a phone call is also great. Have a phone-calling party, or buddy up with someone!

I know I'm getting this to you late in the day, but you can do a little prep this evening and then make calls tomorrow when the offices are open. Great time to do it. Skip the gossip at the water cooler and write a letter supporting single payer health care or, at the very least, stating that "the public option is not optional!"

THE PUBLIC OPTION IS NOT OPTIONAL. I just made up that sentence. Use it.

Thank you.

P.S. Feeling uninformed? AARP (which is actually for anyone over 50, you don't have to be retired, and yes, I'm a member) has a handy info page called Health Care Reform: Get the Facts.

P.P.S. The Congressional Progressive Caucus's letter to President Obama supporting a robust public option is here.
Photos: 1) American Planning Association, California Chapter; 2) At Your Service for Seniors.


lindy said...

This is a great, great, post. Thanks, Jane.

Also, don't forget to remind people that Ryan White is about to sunset with no re-authorization on the horizon. This represents a lot of health care dollars that need to be distributed.

Jane R said...

Oh, thanks for the Ryan White reminder!

Paul said...

I just wrote to all three: both senators and my rep. Blogged each one so it's out there for all the world to see.