Politics

Call YOUR Senators: The PUSH to End the Filibuster is on!


Earlier this week we all awoke to the news — that’s AWOKE, not “woke,” y’all — that President Handsome Joe Biden was at Senator Majority Leader’s Chuck Schumer’s disposal as soon as he wanted to end the filibuster. Biden was ready to work the phones and bring what pressure the President and White House could to bear on those senators who were recalcitrant on ending or reforming the filibuster.

The national progressive political roller coaster was finally starting to climb that majestic mountain that would get us over the hump and plunge us headlong into progressive nirvana of an actual protected right to vote, limiting climate change, building infrastructure, reforming immigration, lifting the middle class, and reducing poverty. Some of us even dared to hold hands and share our heart-shaped cupcakes and sing a few halting bars of Kumbaya.

All that ended when absolutely nothing happened by week’s end. No reports of phone calls between Biden and Manchin or any other senator. In fact, Manchin came out and said, “Meh, I don’t know about the infrastructure package and I got some voting rights protection hanging low in your voter ID.” He voted to throw trillions into the bottomless pit of an endless war on terror, that we could afford, but to do anything to get us to temper our use of fossil fuels or help impoverished West Virginians? That was just a dollar too much to spend. After all, he has lobbyist interests to represent if he expects to be Senator of West Virginia for life, which is, science fact, the only thing standing between us and complete anarchy and social and moral decay and breakdown. If we didn’t have Joe Manchin sitting in the Senate taking fossil fuel and Koch Bro money, the world as we know it would end, and who would want that? Certainly not the Koch Bros. They like the world just as it is on this trajectory, thank you very much.

So, what is the lowly full-time citizen to do? Call YOUR Senators, of course.

Timing is everything. If Biden actually is working the recalcitrant senators of which there are more than just Manchin and Sinema, then it is time to help with the effort by contacting your senators’ offices and letting them know how you feel. Don’t give me, but my senator is Conservative McRecalcitrant Face who will never budge. Call ’em any way, let ’em know you’re voting based on this issue.

There’s lots of other people working on it, too, so you’ll be in good company. There’s the Reverend Dr. William Barber and his Poor People’s Campaign who have been driving and marching and rallying all over West Virginia and DC and other parts of the country. And, you know, he’s good company to have.

We had a lot of action around this issue all summer with two, count ’em, two blog posts here on Ye Olde Blogge about it and everything. And, if two, count ’em, two blog posts on an obscure little read blog doesn’t change the world, then surely a third one will tip us over the top and break that ding-dang-dumb camel’s back to use a phrase my favorite drunk uncles is so fond of using.

Stacey Abrams had her #HotCallSummer Campaign to get the filibuster ended or reformed by having us all call our senators’ offices every single day and say, “End the filibuster!”

All y’all called every day, right? Of course you did. Why am I even asking? It was Stacey Freakin’ Abrams’ campaign. Everything she does succeeds, right?

For the life of me, I don’t know why anyone cares about saving the filibuster. McConnell and the GQP are going to end it the next chance they get. If the Dems “reform” it, he’ll claim the Dems started it and he’s fully justified in ending it. If they don’t, he’ll just say, “Fuck it, it’s gone, we’re going full authoritarian on all y’all’s asses, go ahead and try to vote us out of office.” Tell that to your senators.

So, from one of them posts over the summer, we’ve cribbed the following:

Dem Senators

You can call YOUR Democratic senator. Don’t call Manchin or Sinema or anyone else. Call YOUR senators. Here’s what you tell them:

  • It is more than crystal clear that the GQP and some Dem senators are not “negotiating” in good faith to protect or democracy, reform the police, or fund infrastructure. Mitch McFuckin’Connell has already said that (a) 100% of his focus is on stopping the Biden agenda; (b) he will block any judicial appoints made by Biden when he’s Senate Majority Leader after the ’22 elections; and (c) the Dems are going to have to raise the debt ceiling by themselves without GQP help and he’ll do everything he can do to block it. So, what the actual fuck, can we stop playing freaking charades and actually govern?
  • With the voter suppression and nullification laws that the GQP is enacting at the state level, they will just appoint GQP candidates to state and federal office even if they don’t “win” the election. Do your really think that Georgia is going to certify and Warnock victory in ’22? Arizona, Kelly? Really? They won’t unless we make ’em.
  • Tell YOUR senators to lobby Manchin and Sinema and whoever else is against filibuster reform to reform the filibuster because McConnell will next chance he gets.

For a GQP Senator

You want to tell your Republican senators that the Republican Party no longer supports democracy. Trump and MAGA Nation no longer supports democracy. It is time for them to stand up to the party, stand up to MAGA Nation, stand up and support Biden’s agenda to save our democracy, save our economy, manage the pandemic, and save our climate. They should become one of the ten Republican senators to vote for Biden’s agenda.

The Scripts

Call YOUR senators to express your support for modifying the filibuster. Following Indivisible’s lead, we’re tailoring our appeals to each of the five types of senators. Search through for the types that best fit each of your two senators.

Calling or Writing

Use this script when calling or writing your senators and adapt as needed.

Regardless of the type of senator you have, they all should begin the same:

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [STATE and LOCALITY].

I’m calling today to express my support for ending or modifying the filibuster. It is clear that there are senators who are negotiating in bad faith and just playing for time to stymie President Biden’s agenda. It is clear that without ending the filibuster, McConnell and the Republicans will end our democracy, block attempts by the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling, and block all meaningful Democratic legislation. Besides, McConnell is going to end the filibuster if he should ever become Senate Majority Leader again. He’s not going to tolerate 40 Democratic senators blocking HIS agenda.

Find your type of senator from the list below and continue with that script.

The Member of Leadership (Democratic)

We cannot Biden’s agenda to be derailed. Please put all the pressure you can on Manchin, Sinema, and any other Democratic senators who oppose ending the filibuster to at least agree to modify it. If the Democrats are going to have a chance to hold on to the Senate in the ’22 elections, we need to pass Biden’s legislative agenda.

The Moderate Democrat

We know that the Republicans will brand everything that Democrats do as far-left extremism no matter whether its been negotiated with one of their members or passed with a straight party-line vote. We have to modify the filibuster in order to pass Biden’s agenda and have a chance to win the mid-terms. Please support modifying the filibuster so that crucial legislation can be passed in the Senate. Please convince your colleagues like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to do so, too.

The progressive Democrat

We greatly appreciate your support for progressive policy positions in general and abolishing the filibuster specifically. We know that abolishing the filibuster is the only way to pass Biden’s agenda and to have a prayer to hold Congress after the mid-terms… and so do the Republicans. Please, contact Sens Manchin, Sinema, and other moderate Democrats to ask them to reconsider their position on the filibuster.

The conservative Democrat

For the past ten years Mitch McConnell has done everything he could do to thwart the Democratic agenda. He is the person who held Merrick Garlands’s Supreme Court seat open for a year to put a Republican nominee in it and rushed Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination through before the election. He will block Biden judiciary picks if he should ever become Senate Majority Leader again. To have a chance at holding Congress in the mid-terms, the Democrats must pass Biden’s agenda even if it means modifying the filibuster.

The RepubLICAN

The Republican Party under Donald Trump and supported by MAGA Nation is no longer democratic. You must stand up for our democracy and become one of the ten Republican senators to vote for Biden’s agenda and support abolishing the filibuster.

Thank you for your time and attention.

IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied.

Tips for Calling

When you call your representative’s office, please remember the following:

  • Only contact YOUR MoC! They only listen to their constituents and dismiss requests from non-constituents.Ask for the aide working on the policy-related issues.
  • Be polite! No matter whose office you’re calling. No matter what their positions are. No matter how inflamed you are about the issue — and you should be very passionate — be polite.
  • Remember that the people you are talking to are people! So, be nice.
  • Call during business hours of the area code their office is in. Typically, that is 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Have a script or notes to follow so you don’t forget anything.
  • Maybe call with friends. You know like a party.

Other Suggestions

I’ve heard back from readers that some MoC’s voice mail boxes are always full! It’s as if they don’t want to hear from their constituents. Kinda like those MoC’s who don’t hold town halls or other open forum meetings. Here are some other ways to contact your MoC:

In Addition to Calling

  • in person visit, or what passes for in person during the time of #COVID19. Being in their office either in person or virtually and talking to the Congress person or a staff member is your best bet for getting your message heard.
  • Send a postcard to their office. Nothing says I care like kicking it old school and using snail mail.
  • Email their office. Lay out your concerns in a brief email and send it in. We all know how easy it is to email. Make sure you include the issue you are addressing in the subject line.
  • Use the contact page on their website. This is the surest way of getting a message to them. Each MoC has an official government website and each has a contact page that comes with it automatically.
  • Contact them using social media. It’s hard to break through all the noise on social media, but it can’t hurt to try given all the time we all spend using it. Be sure to tag your MoC’s when social mediaing about about a specific issue. Be clear and respectful, though, when addressing an issue that you want your MoC to act upon. Make sure you let them know you are a constituent.
  • A form letter or petition. You see these on social media all the time. Text to this number and they’ll send a postcard. Sign the petition and they’ll deliver it. It makes it easier for you to do, and I guess it makes up for its lack of impact through its larger numbers? But, you wouldn’t be here reading this and thinking about calling your MoC if you were all about ease and comfort. There’s nothing easy, comforting, or comfortable about reading my syntactically garbled ranting snarky posts.

Coordination Makes an Impact

  • Group Action. Visiting, calling, or mailing letters as a group has a bigger impact than just one person doing it, and it’s more fun. So, get your friends, neighbors, acquaintances, kidnap victims, whoever together and pass the phone around. Make it a day drinking game. Call in sick to work. It’s fun for the whole family!
  • Join an Indivisible chapter. If you haven’t already joined an Indivisible chapter, consider doing it now. There are thousands of them dotted across the land. They sprouted and grew like invasive bamboo or mushrooms after 2017.
  • Subscribe to Email Groups. I know those emails that claim to be from Elizabeth Warren, other political celebrities, or at least a real name are annoying, but they do help coordinate national action on issues. So, if a Congress person realizes that they just got a gazillion calls on issue X on the same day, then they know there’s a group that is pushing the issue and has voters behind it. See how that works for the anxious-to-be-re-elected Congress critter?

Film at 11:00

If you meet with your Congress person or staffer, film the interaction — this is where having a group comes in handy, one person talks, another one glares, and the third one films. So, if they are squirming or hemming and hawing or saying stupid stuff, you could go viral, and isn’t that everyone’s dream in this age of social media?

Use the Local Press

Again, if you’re going down as a large group, the press will cover it. If you’ve got a large phoning party, the press will cover it. And, you know who reads the local press? Congress folk, do, or at least their interns do. If you make the hometown newspaper or TV news, you’ve got that Congress person’s attention! So, go on, grab ’em by the press!

Informational Links

Useful links for getting the contact information for your MoC’s and anyone else in government local, state, or federal as well as tracking legislation, activism, and other information.

  • Common Cause will give you the names, party affiliation, direct phone number, website link, and social media platforms of all of your federal, state, and local elected officials.
  • USA.gov is the official guide to information and services of the US government. This page explains clearly how to contact everyone from the Ol’ Pussy Grabber to your representative to specific government agencies. Through it you can find the following information about your MoC’s:
    • Their phone numbers: DC and state offices
    • Their mailing addresses both in DC and their state offices
    • Official website with their contact page including email, request a meeting, town hall schedules, and social media
    • And, the committees they sit on
  • Congress.gov is the official clearinghouse of information on all bills before Congress. You can find the sponsors, summaries, text, and status of every bill before Congress. It is a great tool.
  • LegiScan uses the LegiScan API to search the LegiScan Data Service to provide a non-partisan federal and state legislation tracking service.
  • 5 Calls: Sign-up for 5 Calls because they help you contact your member of Congress and keep you abreast of on going issues that are important to you! Now, that is a good deal.
  • The Capital Hill Switch Board: (202) 224-3121.
  • MassacreMitch and #MoscowMitch: His DC office, (202) 224-2541.
  • Nancy Pelosi: Her DC office, (202) 225-4965; her California office, (415) 556-4862
  • The WH Switchboard: (202) 456-1414 or the comments line at (202) 456-1111 during business hours

Join Indivisible

Follow the link to Indivisible to find a group near you, their campaigns, events in your neighborhood, and download their handy-dandy booklet!

If you want to be more active in our democracy and make your voice heard, sign up for our email list and never miss a post!

Image Attribution

“Silent Filibuster – Senate” by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY 2.0

9 replies »

  1. Ending the filibuster, necessary as it may be, is a high stakes gamble, betting the farm, actually. If the GOP ever take back the Senate majority with no filibuster, plus the House and the White House, it is game over for democracy. That means that the Democrats will have to get their “moderates” in line and pass everything and go BIG on voting rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, education, climate change, family supports, and JOBS JOBS JOBS and JOB Training for displaced workers (with pay).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      I’m of the opinion that if the Republicans are ever in the majority in the Senate again, they’ll end the filibuster just so they can push their agenda through, so it won’t matter if I’m right. Judging from their current intransigence and bad-faith negotiations, I kinda think I am. Also, given the ongoing threat that Republicans pose to our democracy, the next election is always the most consequential until they either lose so badly that they are destroyed or the win and they destroy our democracy completely.

      So, in the little time left to them, the Democrats should end the filibuster, pass Biden’s legislative agenda, and hope that they defy history and retain control of Congress in 2022.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

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