TUTORIAL: Writing to Democrats

This project is concerned almost primarily with what the title says: writing to Republicans in the Age of Trump. But as I watch and read the news, I’m realizing more and more that it is impossible to have these conversations – and impossible to make change happen – without corralling and working with your own. I initially felt that the priority should be to contact the controlling party, as they have the majority in Congress, but listening to interviews with Democrats has reminded me that this is short-sighted and perhaps a little biased. It puts the onus of change squarely on Republicans (and yes, they have a LOT of work and change to do), but the Democrats need to do their part. We aren’t perfect. Mistakes were made. Let’s fix them.

As hard as it is to realize sometimes, Democrats do have some power. We’re pretty weak – believe me, I hate writing that – but our liberal Congresspeople do have the ability to block Supreme Court nominations and Cabinet picks. They’re also stronger when they know they have people behind them. No one wants to fight alone. Let them know that you’re fighting alongside each other. We can’t abandon our Congress, even if sometimes it feels like they abandoned us. If they know that they have a big support base, they are much more likely to raise their voice. Really.

Personally, I actually found it a bit more challenging writing to Democrats over Republicans. Because we believe in the same general principles, morals, and ethics, it’s hard to convince someone of something when they’re already right there with you. There’s certainly a learning curve to all of this. As I wrote, I came up with some thinking points for you when you write to Democratic Congresspeople with whom you agree:

  • Don’t feel embarrassed to show your support. They need to hear it now more than ever. There’s something a bit cheesy about it, almost like writing to a celebrity, but try to push past it. There’s nothing wrong with being passionate.
  • Don’t feel embarrassed to show your lack of support, either. If a Democrat isn’t being held accountable for their actions, call them on it. I know that now doesn’t feel like the right time to be harboring divisions, but we can’t call out hypocrisy in Republicans if we don’t hold Democrats to the same standards.
  • I’d recommend postcards if you want to send mainly encouragement. That way the staff doesn’t have to open the letters; they can get the general gist faster, especially if there isn’t substance about policy that they’d need to go over or report. I also kind of hope that the optimism will help the staff, too.
  • If you see something, say something. If there is some kind of corruption going on that you notice – on any level – now is the time to talk. Everyone is listening. This feels like one of the first times where the entire nation really is engaged, and where our Congresspeople are finally taking notice. Let’s keep up the momentum.
  • Oh, and the same general ideas of how to write to a Congressperson apply (be clear, respectful, specific, and so on).

Examples:

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Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia)

306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-3954

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Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

713 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2315

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Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey)

359 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3224

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Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)

313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3753

Photo: Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia

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