The next four years are going to be rough to say the least, and this guide is designed to help you become more informed about the structure of politics (federal, state, and local) and empower you to fight. Today, I’m going to talk about how to piss off your federal representatives because it’s important to have hobbies.
I say this from the bottom of my ice-cold, Capricorn heart - there is nothing I love more than being organized and petty. Calling my elected officials every day fills that need perfectly. Here in this dumpster fire we call Georgia, our senators are pretty heinous. Johnny Isakson is a centuries-old, sentient turtle with an A rating from the NRA and an incredible 0% from the HRC. David Perdue loves Trump hats and discrimination.
What do you do when your elected official has like 0% in common with you? BE. PETTY. #wastehistime2017 honestly. Easiest way to do this is calling their office! Every day while I do my makeup, I call my senators. I have their numbers saved in my phone. It’s fun and cute and takes approximately five minutes to attempt to drag them into the 21st century. Why? Because the five minutes his staff takes to answer my phone calls each day is five minutes they could’ve spent doing evil shit. Plus, as my dear friend Greg Pikitis once said, it’s important to remind these men that they represent people other than the klan.
So, I call them and I talk about a different issue each day - like “please don’t repeal Obamacare because I will die without it”, “please don’t confirm Jeff Sessions because he’s a white supremacist”, “please don’t confirm Betsy DeVoss because she’s thinks bears are attacking our school children”, etc. It’s not so much that my one call matters, but the overall volume of calls matters. So if we can all get together and commit to blowing up their phone lines just once a week, it puts the fear of god into them and can actually cause change.
When you call, make sure the person answering the phone knows you’re a constituent. They’ll put down what part of the district you live in (zipcode generally), and then which way you feel about the issue. They essentially just tally up how many people call in for and against each issue, and then they tell the representative. So if we can all blow up the phone lines and have a huge amount of people call in against an issue, it gets passed on to the boss. When the office is constantly ringing, the staff gets pissed and they make sure their boss knows how upset people are. Like most things in life, size matters.
In case you’ve never called an elected rep (nothing to feel bad about, most people haven’t!) here’s how it works.
Look up their number using http://whoismyrepresentative.com/ (you can also find the contact info for your representatives here and if you have a Republican representative I recommend bugging them too). You can call their state office and DC office or just one. Doesn’t really matter.
Perdue: Atlanta office (404) 865-0087, DC office (202) 224-3521
Isakson: Atlanta office (770) 661-0999, DC office (202) 224-3643
A staffer will pick up and that’s when we get to the fun part - talking
MOST IMPORTANT WORDS YOU CAN EVER SAY: “Hi my name is [x] and I AM YOUR CONSTITUENT from [city], zip code [blah blah whatever yours is]” - they don’t really care unless you’re a constituent (aka someone who can vote them out of office).
Tell them what you’re calling about! “Today I’m calling about [Obamacare, the gay agenda, my continued disappointment with your inability to say anything about the fact that a literal white supremacist is our President’s chief advisor]”
The staffer will say something like “ok, I’ll pass that along” and I always respond by saying “thank you, I’ll keep calling and organizing and voting against you until my voice is heard” because I LOVE TO BE AGGRESSIVE but there’s nothing wrong with saying “thanks, bye!”
Sometimes all the phone lines are full and you get to leave a voicemail. Just stick to the same script and you’re good!
Phonecalls are fairly easy and low effort but when done en masse have a big effect. And for people who aren’t able to make it out to protests/have a limited amount of time they can devote, it’s a really easy way to get involved.
As you can see, you can script out the calls in advance which is great for people with phone anxiety. If you’re still nervous, just remember you’re talking to a person who’s paid just to write down your zip code and what you called about - they aren’t gonna fight you! They just put down info. Twitter generally has scripts floating around - just search “congress + phone + script” and you’ll find good results to use. Another great resource is this google doc that sets weekly goals and gives you scripts. It’s pretty intense, but if you get fired up this is a super helpful strategy guide!
Stay petty, xox