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This is a short diary about activism.  My mother, who recently moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, is frustrated, because she cannot contact any Senator who will even consider blocking Samuel Alito's nomination.  But Democrats, she noted, held Bush below 60% in most of the Southern states.  And yet, many of them have no representation in the Senate.  But their opinions deserve to be heard, she maintains.  We discussed this dilemma, and we formulated a strategy whereby Southern Democrats can ensure their opinions are voiced and heard this crucial weekend.  I outline this strategy in the extended body.  

We have six Southern Democratic Senators:

Mary LANDRIEU (D-LA)
Blanche LINCOLN (D-AR)
Mark PRYOR (D-AR)
Bill NELSON (D-FL)
Robert BYRD (D-WV)
Jay ROCKEFELLER (D-WV)

These six Senators represent Democrats from 15 states.  And even though each Southern state has its distinct topography, culture and economy, the region is unified socially, despite its historical racial divisions.  The Democrats should therefore be responsive to the concerns of fellow Southerners whose only representation in the US Senate is a Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) or a Jeff Sessions (R-AL).  We therefore believe Democrats from certain Southern states should direct their concerns to certain Senators.  Here is the division I propose:

Virginia - Jay ROCKEFELLER (D-WV)
North Carolina & Kentucky - Robert BYRD (D-WV)
South Carolina & Georgia - Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Alabama & Texas - Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Tennessee & Mississippi - Blanche LINCOLN (D-AR)
Oklahoma & Missouri - Mark PRYOR (D-AR)

Broach your letter with an introduction that resembles the following:

Dear Sen. X:

A Southern Democrat from xxxxx, I do not have a representative in the US Senate.  I therefore must rely on you to represent my concerns and values....

Emphasize your regional affinity with the Senator, and explain how you have been supportive of his or her campaign in the past.  Make it clear to the Senator that Alito does not represent the Southern values you uphold, and assure the Senator that you will be supportive of them in the future.  

  • If you are writing Mary Landrieu, discuss Alito's problematic relationship with "one 'man'-one vote" statutes and civil rights.  Remind her she supported anti-lynching legislation, and tell her her family's committment to these issues compelled you to write her this letter and ask her to filibuster Alito.

  • If you are writing Mark Pryor, remind him of his leadership in the commemmoration of the Little Rock Thirteen.  Tell him you believe he is a leader in civil rights, and explain why you believe Alito's problematic relations to issues important to African-Americans in the South warrants a filibuster.

  • If you are writing Blanche Lincoln, tell her her many speeches about growing up in Eastern Arkansas during desegregation have provided a unique perspective rarely articulated on the Senate floor.  Also tell her you rely on her leadership, as she is one of the only Southern Senators who defends Southern farmers.  

  • If you are writing Rockefeller, emphasize FISA issues and government spying.

  • If you are writing Byrd, emphasize free speech, his inspiring speeches on the Constitution, the Republican Party's attempts to dismantle the Constitution, and especially discuss Alito on the unitary executive.

  • If you are writing Nelson of Florida, emphasize spying, as there was recently a scandal in Florida regarding this issue.

I hope this compels Southerners who normally feel it is futile to write a Kay Bailey Hutchison or a Jim Bunning to write their nearest Southern Democratic Senator and thereby help us solidify support for a filibuster.

Originally posted to formalist on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 02:48 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great idea! (none)
    Recommended.
  •  Thanks (4.00)
    It is worth a try.
  •  Sounds like a good idea (none)
    I'll get busy writing!
  •  Tennessee (none)
    I have Frist & Alexander as my "representation". So I am very frustrated at not having any type of voice.

    Alexander's voting record is almost as putrid as Frist's, but he has a calmer personality, so is percieved as not being as big of a nut-case as Frist.

    Great idea & Excellent diary!

    False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.--Socrates

    by Ranting Roland on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 03:33:42 PM PST

  •  Not just futile (none)
    As a Texan, I write Kay Bailey Hutchison now and then.  In return I get generic letters, mixtures of platitudes and Republican talking points, that I have trouble even associating with my comments.  "What did I write her about that she sent this reply?"  But at least her office is polite, and her web site is accommodating.

    Try writing Senator John Cornyn and you'll get a lesson in how to ignore your constituents.  His web site usually locks up your browser if you try to go to the 'contact me' page.  It's easier to find his fax number in the telephone book, and if you think of snail mail, there's a reminder that letters to the Senate go through a decontamination and inspection that takes about two weeks.

    We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on my dryer.

    by david78209 on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 04:19:53 PM PST

  •  Texans writing to Landrieu (none)
    might also bring up that many of her New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana constituents have been adopted, temporarily or permanently, by our state. The Supreme Court, through its decisions in takings cases, has great power to affect the Louisiana recovery, and consequently the ability of her constituents to return home. How would a demonstrated corporatist such as Alito decide in those cases?

    "You with your big words, and your...small, difficult words!" -- Peter Griffin
    ePluribus Media

    by Penny Century on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 05:41:45 PM PST

  •  These are great comments (none)
    We should also emphasize that many Louisianans reside in Arkansas.  Arkansans should also write Senator Landrieu.

    Allow me to correct an error: the Little Rock Thirteen or whatever I wrote above should read as the "Little Rock Nine."  I apologize for erring.

    Thank you again.  Let us do this.  I just wrote Landrieu, Pryor and Lincoln.

  •  my letter to Nelson (none)
    Senator,

    As a concerned citizen, I am writing to urge you to oppose the nomination of Judge Alito to a lifelong appointment on the Supreme Court.  This country has come a long way on a woman's right to control her body, on an American's birthright to live in freedom, unconcerned by the abuse of power by a near dictatorial one party rule, on the ability to express one's opinion without fear of political and criminal retribution. Yes these are trying times in which we live, certainly the shadow of those whom would do harm to US citizens looms, however, the United States and it's leaders and citizens have always risen to the fore to confront problems. Putting a Bush/Neocon yesman on the court for life is little different from appointing Dick Cheney directly to the Supreme Court.
    Can you in good conscience face our grandchildren someday and defend a Yes vote?

    You face a momentous decision in the coming days. I urge you to vote no on Alito and support a filibuster if necessary.
    The country deserves better than Sam Alito on the bench of the Supreme Court.

    I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain

    by route66 on Mon Jan 23, 2006 at 04:28:40 PM PST

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