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...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, February 07, 2009

So I Called Washington Friday

Specifically, I called the soi-disant "Wobbly Republicans" who are alleged to be amenable to this Stimulus insanity.

I had, in the past, trusted the handy email delivery system to voice my concerns with legislators. Since I am fortunate to live in a State, and in a region with a Republican Governor, three Republican congressmen and woman, not to mention a Republican Senator, my correspondence with them was by force, practically nonexistent.

They were doing most things right, according to my thinking, anyway.

But when I found out that Senator Mel Martinez, a guy I had voted for with enthusiasm, was on the weebly-wobbly list, I almost hit the roof. He would have to be on a reverse Pedro Pan flight, just to escape my wrath.

So I called his office, and spoke to an assistant there. This is more-or-less how the convo went.

Her: "Senator Mel Martinez' office, may I help you?"
Me: "I'm calling from Florida to voice my concerns against the Stimulus Package. To whom may I speak about this?"
Her: "To me. My name is Heather. I can note down your opposition."
Me: "Thank you, Heather."
Her: "May I have your zip code?"
Me: "33139"
Her: "Is there anything you would like to add?"

(I wasn't expecting to hear that, for some reason. Though I am quick on my feet, and know exactly what I dislike about this Porkulus Bill, I became a little nervous. I stuttered my way through it)

Me: "I--iii, first of all, I realise Senator Martinez has announced his decision not to seek re-election. When I heard he was amongst the Republican senators who were, mm-mmore or less on the side of voting for the package, I was aghast. Perhaps he doesn't think he has anything to lose, in terms of votes.

Please let him know in no uncertain terms that I and my family are vehemently opposed to him voting 'yes' for this Bill. At the very least, I expect him to fillibuster it. It's a ridiculous, insulting piece of legislation, and completely unfair to future generations."

Her: "Thank you for your call. I will pass it along."
Me: "Thank you, goodbye."

...having gotten a taste of what it was to call one's legislator, I decided to try my hand at being an Alaskan too. I called up Senator Lisa Murkowski's office.

Him: "Hello, Senator Murkowski's office."
Me: "I would like to voice my opposition to the Stimulus Package, and urge Sentor Murkowski to vote No, instead of the rumoured Yes she is considering. To whom may I speak about this?"
Him: "My name is Ephrem. Are you from Alaska?"
Me: "Err, yes. (quick look at the list) From 99501. Anchorage." (thinking, 'damn, that sounded unconvincing')
Him: "Thank you for your call." (click, thinking 'damn, why do I always get the fakes?')

Despite my joking reference above, I didn't intend on passing myself off as an Alaskan. That would've been very funny, given my regard for Governor Palin. No, I just wanted to be amongst the many people around the country, urging legislators to vote against this Bill. In the heat of the moment, I relocated myself, perhaps under the influence of a very cold spell we've been having down here.

Hey, it was in the 30sF! Close enough.

As my old grannie used to say, in for a penny, in for a pound, so with that in mind, I also tried calling Senators Collin and Snowe of Maine, plus Voinovich of Ohio, and lastly, dear old Arlen Specter.

Didn't get through to a single one of 'em.

Senator Collins, last seen being very upset at Democrats for running a bitterly fought campaign against her last year, actually had an answering machine on.

"You have reached Senator Collins' office. This mailbox is full. Goodbye."

Sheesh. I haven't gotten such a curt, short message on a voicemail since I called my last ex-boyfriend.

But I felt I had at least tried to do my civic duty, although I think I'll send Senator Specter a singing telegramme.

At this point, can't hurt, can it?

IN THE COMMENTS: Michael S, a blogger colleague from Illinois, relates his mother's phone call to Steny Hoyer (D-MD-5) in a blogpost named, Fed Up. She had asked him to vote no, and the helpful congressman staffer actually took down her name, address, and promised a return letter -- very impressive. None of this was done to me.

Michael S. continues.

"I asked my mom about making the call -- I had never known her to be passionate about politics and suspected that this was exceptional. She said that she was just sick of the wasteful spending of our tax dollars, all the 'pork' being proposed. She said it wasn't a 'party' issue, she always voted for the candidate that she felt would best represent her and do the best job. But the more she learned about HR 1, the angrier she got and she just had to tell her elected officials how she felt -- for the first time in her life.

Mom, you're not alone."

To put it mildly.

Labels: ,


  • Indeed, perhaps one of the side-benefits from the ascent of Obama is that the public has been shaken and is waking up, paying attention to their government.

    And acting upon it.

    I'm making the calls also -- and writing a letter to my representative asking to explain his vote on HR 1 and to answer one question for me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Feb 07, 03:25:00 am GMT-5  

  • Don't these guys have caller ID?

    Only in DC could they rationalize spending and borrowing as a reasonable way to get us out a hole which spending and borrowing got us into. I've been particularly fond of Robert Reich's New Deal Mk2 Road Show. Dude, get back into the clown car!

    By Anonymous Starless, at Sat Feb 07, 08:20:00 am GMT-5  

  • Don't these guys have caller ID?

    I thought of that. I could've star-67ed if push came to shove, but I didn't.

    Dude, get back into the clown car!

    I have to tell you Starless, this entire Congress, and Presidency, all of them Dems and Repubs both -- remind me nothing so much than a circus. It's very disheartening.

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 07, 06:19:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hehe. I was actually making a mean comment about Reich's height.

    I heard Reich going on and on about how stupid tax cuts are and how much more government spending returns on the dollar--completely ignoring the whole problem of, you know, how much its going to cost to REPAY the money you borrow to do that government spending. All of east Asia is going to wait for only so long before it wants its money back. With interest.

    By Anonymous Starless, at Sat Feb 07, 07:03:00 pm GMT-5  

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