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C*O*N*G*R*E*S*S*I*O*N*A*L

As most of you already know, AFN is refusing to make any changes to their line up. This really doesn't come as any surprise to those of us in the military community. Change comes slowly and it never comes from petitioning the military directly.

As I stated in my diary of two days ago, the military community is responsive to an action called a Congressional Inquiry. These are triggered when members of congress call military offices to find out answers to questions. That is why I asked all of you to write Congress! And so many of you did! Thank you very much for taking the time to do that.

We even had people sending letters to Republicans that they think won't do a thing... why? Because not everyone in the office will be a man. Many of the staff that deal with the daily phone calls and emails are women. They are women who receive birth control through their government sponsored health care plans. This isn't just about your Representative and your Senators; this is about fomenting a revolution of women.

And, today, we are taking more action!

First, we want to see folks following up on emails.

Second, we are targeting the leading Senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Levin and McCain, with a petition on Change.org.

Today, I am asking that we start calling our congressional offices. And we are going for the Direct Ask:

Has Senator so-and-so called Secretary Panetta about Rush Limbaugh?

Will Senator so-and-so call Secretary Panetta about Rush Limbaugh?

If the answer is no, the next question should be Why not?

Please remember this is about Sexual Harassment, not Freedom of Speech. Many of those in the Republican offices will turn to that again and again. Our women in uniform have the right to serve in an environment free from sexual harassment, including over military airwaves.

If the answer is yes, then give them a resounding thank you and try to find out what transpired. And ask what they think we should do next to push this issue through the chain of military command.

In the meantime, I decided some targeted action would be a good idea so I created a petition for us to send:

Dear Senators Levin and McCain,

As chairman and ranking leader of the Senate Armed Services Committee, we are petitioning you to cut all ties between Rush Limbaugh and the American Forces Network, also known as the Armed Services Network. In your capacity as Senators, it is your responsibility to contact Secretary Panetta and question him as to the continued presence of a misogynist on military airwaves.

Both of you have listened to testimony about sexual harassment in today's military. You both understand the severe toll that sexual harassment takes on the ability for our current force to it's job well. In the first 18 month of the war in Iraq, over 100 cases of sexual assault were reported. Your esteemed colleague, Susan Collins, said at the time, “What does it say about us as a people, as a nation, as the foremost military in the world, when our women soldiers sometimes have more to fear from their fellow soldiers than from the enemy?”

We ask you, our Senators, what does it say about us as a people, as a nation, as the foremost military in the world, that we allow a misogynist daily access to our military airwaves in the name of Free Speech?

We believe the the women serving in our military deserve a better atmosphere in which to work. We believe that family members, the wives and daughters of our male service member, deserve it as well.

The freedom to speak freely is a right that military members and their family do not take lightly. In fact, active duty members partially give up that right when they sign the dotted line. It is your responsibility, as Senators and fellow citizens, to speak for all of those who have sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Please, cut all ties between AFN and Rush Limbaugh immediately.

Sincerely,

Please share widely!

And, if you haven't already, please sign OleHippieChick's petition at WhiteHouse.gov... that one needs only 8,600 more to see some attention from up above.

We can do this... the tipping point is near. It's always harder to make change in the military world but when it does happen, it happens big. Thank you for your help in pushing this damn log up the hill!

5:22 AM PT: Another petition has come to my attention. This one is directly to the Pentagon from VoteVets. Like the direct emails to AFN, they will add to all the noise going on! Let's hit this from all angles: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/...

5:31 AM PT: From JaxDem in comments below comes this added ammunition for when you speak to your congressional reps:

The timing of your petition and your mention of continued sexual harassment in the military is bolstered by this suit filed yesterday:

Eight female service members sue US military for alleged rape, sexual assault

Eight current and former U.S. service members filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging they were raped, sexually assaulted or harassed while serving in the military and were retaliated against once they reported the abuse.
[snip]
"Although defendants testified before Congress and elsewhere that they have 'zero tolerance' for rape and sexual assault, their conduct and the facts demonstrate the opposite: They have a high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks, and 'zero tolerance' for those who report rape, sexual assault and harassment," according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington.

Originally posted to A Progressive Military Wife on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 04:29 AM PST.

Also republished by IGTNT Advisory Group, DKos Military Veterans, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, and Sluts.

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