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Yes. Call your blue Members of Congress (MoCs).
Most blue senators and House Representatives are in office because big donors got them there. Don’t let them forget who they really work for (you).
Make these four kinds of calls to progressive MoCs:
- Ask them to write new legislation.
- Ask them to co-sponsor other MoCs’ legislation.
- Ask them to make public statements for/against issues that matter to you.
- Ask to meet them in person to discuss an issue important to you.
- Indivisible often suggests tactical ways blue MoCs can increase leverage in a Republican-majority Congress.
Call. Tell your red Members of Congress (MoCs) things like:
- They need to uphold traditional (not extreme) conservative values.
- They must return to regular order in Congress.
- You want them to prioritize bipartisanship and cooperation.
- You expect them to protect the dignity and equal rights of every American.
Whether you’re a blueberry in a red district or a conservative ally, our democracy is relying on your participation. With a Republican majority in both houses, moderate Republican swing votes matter. Americans in blue districts are counting on you.
It might feel like you’re shouting into the void, but you’re not. When enough people call, this can—and does—change how even red MoCs vote, negotiate, and legislate. But nothing will change without clear, consistent communication from you.
It might seem repetitive, but it is important to call multiple times. On your second (or more) call, you can say something line, “I’ve called about this issue before. Could you give me an update on the progress [name] has made on this?”
Often we assume that registering our opinion is the only point of the call, but you can ask for more than that. Request that your MoCs make a public statement of opposition or support, to co-sign specific legislation, or to use their influence to speak to the committee in charge of an issue. Insist they work for your vote.
You can’t. Please don’t try. You are only the boss of your own MoCs. You elected them, and they represent you in Congress. MoCs outside your district work only for their own constituents. Calling other MoCs might unintentionally sabotage local activism efforts.
Two workarounds: If another MoC is doing something you detest, tag them and say so on social media. Express clearly what you oppose and what you want. Their own constituents may catch wind and carry your efforts forward.
The second exception is expressing gratitude. When an elected official does the right thing, the Americans of Conscience checklist includes an address to send them postcards of thanks.
DC and PR residents can appeal directly to Congressional committee chairs on legislation (since they represent all Americans in that capacity).
Location location location. DC residents can also volunteer to hand-deliver letters to MoCs for their friends. DC’s residents can stage rallies and protests that MoCs will see and that other Americans can’t attend. Consider those as a viable alternative to calls if you’re able.
Muddy focus, muddy results. Americans of Conscience Checklist focuses on three issues:
- – Voting access for all people.
- – Equal rights for all people.
- – The rights of aspiring Americans.
We believe that no matter who the president is, these three issues are central to the integrity of our democracy. But it was really hard to choose. If you’re concerned about the climate crisis, check out Calvin’s List. For groups that endorse progressive candidates, see Rogan’s List, 5 Calls, and Small Deeds Done.
When elected officials speak up for democracy, go against their party’s group-think, and advocate for what’s right it’s praiseworthy—regardless of party.
Although conservatives and progressives opinions differ on the speed of change, we’re all Americans. Polarization is not helping our country. One of the ways to heal our democracy is to find common ground—no matter how small—with people we’re normally quick to judge or dismiss.
Gratitude is good for the recipient and the giver. Is it easy? Not always. Is it worthwhile? I believe it is.
Jen Hofmann, the checklist’s creator and queen bee, is a professional writer, teacher of social media strategy, and research nerd who cares deeply about justice.
Each week, our amazing team of volunteers…
- Scours the Twitter feeds of grassroots advocacy groups in search of recommended actions and good news.
- Finds articles with supportive background information from high-quality publications.
- Writes clear, no-drama scripts for you to use.
- Shares the checklist by email and on Facebook and twitter.
We make it look easy, but it takes hundreds of hours each week to make it simple to use (and we’re rather proud of that!).
Perhaps you’ve experienced the fatigue of being over-involved in activism and growing weary. We’ve learned that rest and self care are essential parts of staying engaged long-term.
For that reason, we produce a Checklist on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Sundays of each month. On the 4th Sunday, we take a week off for rest and self-care. Be sure to plan time away from the news and social media regularly to tend to your spirit.
I was in the basement of my favorite local coffeehouse a few weeks after the 2016 election. Skeptical of the memes and pleas for donations that followed, the women there who’d gathered for solidarity wanted to know what was trustworthy online and how to speak up.
Since I teach social media strategy and enjoy research, I offered to compile my findings in a weekly email. It was such a relief to have something to DO.
This 30-member list of local women turned into 30,000 subscribers by the first Women’s March in January. A few months later, it had doubled. Each week, I focused on simple language, clear “asks”, and short scripts that were easy to read on a call. We still do.
In fall of 2017, 20 volunteers joined me to share the checklist on Facebook and Twitter. In early 2018, I recruited researchers to help scour and review the many sources we consult for actions each week. While I originally did all the work myself, the quality and scope of the Checklist has improved vastly. (Although I seem to be working harder than ever!)
Creating this checklist is a labor of love. I care deeply about our country and believe it can be better and kinder. Being able to contribute some clarity in these dark times toward that vision is an incredible honor.
The best support is to use the checklist and share it with like-minded allies. If you want to financially support the time and technology expense behind its production, donations are welcome. Here are three options:
- Becoming a regular patron through Patreon provides stable income to commit to this project for the long haul (2020!).
- One-time donations can be made through PayPal.
- If you prefer snail mail, checks (to Jennifer Hofmann) can be sent to: Jennifer Hofmann, P.O. Box 9233, Brooks, OR 97305. With gratitude.
A financial note: As a self-employed professional writer, I pay federal and state taxes on all donations. For you, this means they’re not tax-deductible.
Bottom line: All support–whether emotional, practical, or financial–is appreciated more than you know. Thank you. We’re in this together. <3