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View Diary: Lawrence O'Donnell's message: Stop whining, assault weapons ban NOT dead unless YOU do nothing (67 comments)

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  •  Is there any evidence (7+ / 0-)

    that these literal calls to action have ever changed a vote let alone gotten a borderline bill passed, and aren't just a way to make ourselves not feel completely useless as we speak to a bored 22 year old intern just marking time and padding their resume until they land a fat gig at a lobbying firm?

    Seriously, isn't there something more effective we can do, like hold daily rallies in front of their offices and shame them into doing the right thing? Has making a 30 second phone call become this era's version of the sit-in?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 06:14:26 AM PDT

    •  Calls do matter. (21+ / 0-)

      But it can't just be one or two calls over an entire day to the office.  Part of what spooked so many Congressmen was that their phones were ringing off the hook non-stop from angry Tea Partiers in 2009 over the pending "Obamacare" bill.

      I've had friends who've worked those phones before, and they say it does indeed matter, but only if there's enough people calling on the same subject.  They have to keep track of what each phone call was about, and what the caller's position was.  Some offices use a 10:1 ratio, as in, they assume that for every one call they receive on a particular issue, 10 people in their district feel the same way.

      So if only one person calls, yeah, they're not going to care.  If 10 people call, they may still brush it off as just someone who sent an e-mail to their friends to call their Congressman.  But when 100, 200, etc. people call, yeah, they start paying some serious attention.

      And this is where Democrats are far behind Tea Partiers in terms of organization.  Even Congressmen representing districts where Obama got 80% of the vote get multiple calls PER DAY from angry pro-lifers wanting to ban abortion.  They NEVER stop calling.  They're constantly pressuring EVERY Congressman, from the deepest blue to the deepest red districts.  Over time, you damn well bet it shifts Congress's view to the right.

      We have to push it back to the left.  We cannot simply cede this ground to the Tea Party.

      •  I'll make it easy for you, here are some to call: (12+ / 0-)

        Reid, Harry - (D - NV)
        (202) 224-3542

        Udall, Mark - (D - CO)
        (202) 224-5941

        Bennet, Michael F. - (D - CO)
        (202) 224-5852

        Manchin, Joe, III - (D - WV)
        (202) 224-3954

        Baucus, Max - (D - MT)   
        (202) 224-2651

        Tester, Jon - (D - MT)
        (202) 224-2644

        Hagan, Kay R. - (D - NC)   
        (202) 224-6342

        Johnson, Tim - (D - SD)   
        (202) 224-5842

        Heitkamp, Heidi - (D - ND)
        (202) 224-2043

        Shaheen, Jeanne - (D - NH)
        (202) 224-2841

        Coons, Christopher A. - (D - DE)
        (202) 224-5042

        Kaine, Tim - (D - VA)
        (202) 224-4024

        Warner, Mark R. - (D - VA)
        (202) 224-2023

        Leahy, Patrick J. - (D - VT)
        (202) 224-4242

        Nelson, Bill - (D - FL)   
        (202) 224-5274

        Kirk, Mark - (R - IL)   
        (202) 224-2854

        Donnelly, Joe - (D - IN)   
        (202) 224-4814

        Landrieu, Mary L. - (D - LA)
        (202) 224-5824

        Collins, Susan M. - (R - ME)
        (202) 224-2523

        King, Angus S., Jr. - (I - ME)
        (202) 224-5344

        McCaskill, Claire - (D - MO)   
        (202) 224-6154

        Heinrich, Martin - (D - NM)   
        (202) 224-5521

        Udall, Tom - (D - NM)
        (202) 224-6621

      •  "Democrats are far behind Tea Partiers"=Bingo! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aquarius40, a2nite, DvCM, SilentBrook

        Hot eyed true believers have that advantage.

        I am convinced that until "our side" learns that a few feel good actions such as rallies and petition filing is near useless and strategic voting at all levels in every election is the only way to shift things we will be at a disadvantage. We tend to throw away big wins with childish "mission accomplished" or spiteful "stay home next election" inconsistency. Just look at 2010, particularly in my state of Virginia.

        One or two terms ours and then one or two theirs leads to exactly the kind of back and forth crap we've seen over the last decades. It leads to shallow "benches" for local, state and national office occupied by lots of opportunists knowing all it takes is one off win to get name recognition, donors and long tenure because those voters really are not paying attention. Over the long term it leads to tattered—not updated and better—safety nets and policies

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:47:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rallies? Street theater? Largely useless because (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah, a2nite, SilentBrook

      O'Donnell is precisely correct that unless "there is a re-election risk involved" not much happens. The only time we have a voice that counts is during those few seconds at a ballot—all the rest is throw away. I used this diary in another, about the 1% having all the voice, in a comment I'll partly repeat:

      Citizens United v. FEC? Does not mean a damn thing if the voters pay attention instead of listening to the sound bite, leaflet and "decide at the last minute" pattern all that money focuses on for electing people only loyat to the 1% or 5% and such.

      Incumbents who sound good and then never quite seem to vote for us? They won't last if the electorate pays attention and then actually holds them accountable.

      Petitions to Harry Reid or any other leader for whom you cannot personally vote? Useless, in fact apparently now mainly a new fund raising scheme (including this site) causing numbing floods of e-mail into the boxes of the struggling 47%—if they have e-mail.

      Marching on the Mall with signs? Pretty much the same and pretty much unnoticed because the media no longer covers those much. Feel good self publicity, but rarely does it change a vote.

      closing with
      And then all of us have to pay attention and vote, vote strategically and carefully in every election down to county officials (where registrars of voters live) because you don't change the course of a huge nation overnight or in one or two presidential terms.
      Personal communications in large numbers raise the specter of "election risk" in those heads. Format petitions? No. Cut 'n paste language? No. This is "me" to "you" and how I expect you to represent me? If in enough numbers, yes.

      Snail mail handwritten used to be the best. Since all such mail is blasted with rays and delayed weeks not so much now. Fax, probably best short of the still available telegrams at huge expense. Their web mail in which you have to show you are one of their electors is probably second best. Call? Don't expect a transcript unless you really come up with a top quote. It will be most likely a check box on some issue "sensor" for the office. Representative's webmail followed by a call in enough numbers might shift some votes. Forget about any communications with those you cannot show that you vote for directly. It is round file stuff unless you are a contributor of four figure dollar amounts.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:29:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not the theater, it's how the theater is (0+ / 0-)

        accepted by the masses.

        The masses will have nothing to cheer unless there is theater.

        It is a mic check. It is a media without the 'media machine'.

        guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

        by 88kathy on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 09:53:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once in a generation or so and when combined with (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          lots of effort some big rally may change the course of things. Otherwise, these events are very important to the organizers and participants, pretty much ignored by everyone else and consigned to "whatever happened after the XXX march?" and Wikipedia.

          The illusion that these things are more than blips when not accompanied by long, boring work to make those electoral moments that actually count work for us is one of the greatest illusions of the "politically active" short term thinkers. They may promote internal loyalty and "calls to action" but in general have damned all effect on the general public, policy makers or Congress. It is "feel good" politics.

          What counts is personal interaction that convinces others. Shoe leather and assistance with campaigns when the candidate and election count. Long term strategic voting. The rest is just fluff.

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:32:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  At the same time an excuse to linger on your (0+ / 0-)

            couch is not going to move anyone. A big rally gets people up off the couch. Then they have to actually move. That is true. But first they have to get up.

            guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

            by 88kathy on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:36:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well if you don't'll never find out: (0+ / 0-)

      I called Sen. Toomey's office and his voice mailbox was full, so I sent a detailed e-mail.

      I went to Sen. Casey's office and tried to send an e-mail,but strangely he doesn't offer an easy link to sending e-mails unless they are about specific sectors.  So I called and left a voice mail.

      I told them both I wanted:

      Ban on automatic weapons.
      Limits on magazine sizes and...
      Strong and detailed background checks on ALL weapons sales and denial of weapons to criminals and those with mental or social problems.

      Do I think this will have an effect....only if LOTS of Americans get really pissed about this and make their opinions known in a short period of time.

      It is one thing to know from polling that over 90% of Americans support background checks.  It is entirely another if all those 90% were to take two minutes and call or write their representatives and let them know that in person.

      Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

      by dweb8231 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:32:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I was in Seattle (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I used to call my critters all the time. And yet nothing changed. We need more effective means of pressuring them.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 11:00:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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