Maybe you didn’t stay up all night watching returns. That was smart. Staying up all night watching election coverage is pretty stupid unless you do it the way I did when I was working on a Congressional campaign in 2004. I was packed into a hotel room with some other campaign staffers with a bathtub full of beers, watching the returns and yelling at the tv. Good times. These days I do it the lame way, in my pjs on my couch with my laptop and MSNBC. Actually, last night I skipped MSNBC and watched Millionaire Matchmaker instead. I just checked few races that matter to me on my computer every once in a while. I have friends on the Hill and their jobs were at stake.
If you guessed that I’m a Washington insider, you’re almost right.
I do federal advocacy work for a non-profit. My husband is a government employee. Between us we know a lot about government and how it works. Or doesn’t work. We care a lot about outcomes because different configuations of Democrats and Republicans affect how easily we can do our jobs. In that way, politics is personal.
In every other way politics is so not personal.
When I started doing advocacy work, Republicans were in control. It didn’t stop us from getting good things done at my job. Then Democrats took over. We still got good things done. Now Republicans are in charge again. We’ll get some good things done. I’m personally a Democrat and I have my reasons for that but when it comes to telling truth to power about the important issues of our day, I don’t care what party elected officials are in, I’ll talk to them all the same way.
For the record, I have never called a politician a “cock-smoking asshat” even though I used that phrase on my blog to great acclaim last week. In fact, if you Google “cock-smoking asshat”, I’m the first listing. So. Very. Proud.
See, here’s the deal about America and our government, folks: it doesn’t end the day after an election. In the First Amendment we are all guaranteed the right to petition our government for redress of grievances. That’s why lobbyists exist: because they can. But you don’t need to hire a lobbyist to petition on your behalf. If you have a computer, a phone, a pen and paper, you can petition for yourself. If there’s an issue that matters to you, tell your Member of Congress and Senators. They are Constitutionally obligated to listen to you. They might not do anything about it but they have to listen.
Nothing drives me more nuts that people who claim their elected officials are out of touch with them only to find out that the complainer never once reached out to said elected officials. How are they supposed to know what you’re thinking if you don’t tell them? It’s just like in dating: your boyfriend won’t know to buy you orchids on your birthday unless you tell him how much you’d like orchids for you birthday. Being mad at them for not reading your mind is dumb.
There will be another election in two years but I hope you won’t wait until then to make Congress and the Senate accountable to what matters to you. Stay in touch, tell them what you think of the job they’re doing. They all have newsletters, they all have email address for you to write in with your concerns. You can find out all of this information at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
Pay attention, stay in touch, and make government work for you.