I just called Obama's office to encourage him to oppose the FISA bill, and the call was answered by a young woman in tears. She placed me on hold and a colleague answered the phone after her.
I have no idea why she was crying, but reading the hysterics on this site (which I do largely agree with) makes me fear that an overzealous supporter verbally attacked her. This was backed up when I apologized to the next staffer on behalf of anyone who had rude, inappropriate or vulgar.
THIS BILL IS HORRID. Don't get me wrong. But yelling, cursing, or insulting the Senator (or any senator) or his staff is counterproductive. I know that most of us know and recognize this and will be polite on the phone. However, for those of you who call while hyperventilating, think about what you are trying to do and whether your tactics are productive.
a) The Senator is with us on this one, it's just a matter of convincing him to use his political capital here. I believe he should, but there is a downside to him. Pelosi's been a solid ally of his, and she is committed to this bill (even if it may be to protect her own ass).
b) Senate staffers are often interns, or just out of college. They're given little leeway to answer definitively and they do not make the decisions. BE RESPECTFUL!!!!
c) Whatever happens here (or any other issue he may disappoint us on), we brought him here, but now we need him more than he needs us. Keep that in mind and be firm but polite.