The Morning After


Hi. How ya doing? Feeling ok this morning? Not too tired after staying up until all hours watching the election returns?

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.

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9 comments for “The Morning After

  1. November 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    You are smart, and you are also right. I sit here this morning well what can I do now and you have given me an answer. Thanks.

  2. November 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I try – I told them to stop working hard on healthcare and to fix our economy for cry-i. Look where that got them – all of mine re-elected anyway. I want reform on healthcare too, but what good is great health and no job…

    I live in the MOST liberal district in MN and for the LIFE of me cannot figure out how we live soclose to Michelle Bachman, yet vote in a Muslim. ;P

  3. anthrogrrl
    November 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I am a fairly liberal Democrat. My Senator is Orrin Hatch. I pretty much figured I was screwed in this state. But I have to say, when I have contacted his office, he has always responded.

    When I wrote to say, I’d like universal healthcare, he responded with a letter that essentially said, I’ll do what I think is best for my state, and that was OK. I am sure he got a lote more letters from his constituents telling him the opposite.

    But I also contacted him when Kyrgyzstan was in turmoil, urging him to let the State department and Hilary Clinton know that we should be helping them out. It’s a little country that almost no one knows about, but I lived there for over 2 years and I actually care. And I got a letter back, saying he’d talked to Mrs. Clinton about my concerns, and would keep me updated on developments. I was impressed that he claimed to have talked to the Secretary of State for me, but wasn’t going to hold my breath on a follow up.

    And then one came. Seriously. A few months later, I got a cover letter from him and an enclosed letter from the State Department with *my name* on it letting me know what the US decided to do to help Kyrgyzstan out.

    So even a representative with fundamentally different beliefs than mine listened and did something on my behalf.

    You know, I think I should follow your lead and write my own blog on this topic! Thanks!

  4. amy
    November 3, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you for what you wrote cuz it is so true, 😀

  5. November 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Wait–you mean it’s not all fixed today? Sigh… 😉

  6. November 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve never met an “insider” before but can be very passionate about the way we govern. My question to you is…is the government currently run by corporations to the extent that we have to have a whole “do over?”. I hope I don’t sound too much like a conspirisist. Maybe I have just lost hope…

  7. November 3, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I would just like to know who we elected. MN has a habit of doing that…damn recounts.

  8. November 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    SO true – it seems like everyone kept talking about incumbents being voted out and big changes but in my district we re-elected a man who’s been in that seat for 30 years. And I know I voted for him not only for his seniority and influence for my community but because of his interaction with his constituents. If you write or call or email his staff responds and knows who to get you in touch with and truly seems to care. And isn’t that what the government is suppose to do?

  9. November 3, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    You know what? Thanks for that. I get so disheartened after bad elections that I feel like there’s no point to me voting or trying to stay involved [and I’m pretty involved]. But you’re right, I can keep on and keep trying. It’s an option.

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