Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

I can be more political.

This week, for I think the first time, I wrote — as a private citizen — to members of Congress. I add "private citizen" because I used to be a newspaper writer-reporter who covered politics, so I was in touch with elected officials for my job. I got in touch this time because people I trust said this:

There's a bill in sub-committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, and it's a bad bill, especially for [the people who comprise a particular group]. We need people who are allies with [this particular group] to talk to Congress and add their voices to the message that this is a bad bill.

I am not a member of this particular segment of the population. Instead, I'm a friend, an acquaintance, and an admirer of several people who are. And they can use allies.

I can be a better ally, for them and for other people. So, I did what I hadn't done before:

These are two copies, each worded slightly differently, of a letter I sent yesterday to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Rep. Blumenauer represents my part of Portland; Rep. Nadler is a member of the subcommittee looking at this bill, and has invited comment on it. The gist of each letter is the same: This bill could hurt people..

I vote. I've voted since fall 1992, the first time I was eligible. I've missed a handful of special elections, but over the years I've, at least, gotten better about consistently voting; and I think I've voted in every federal election I could have. And in the past few months, I've slowly, slowly, expanded what I do politically. I've made calls to Senators and Representatives, asking them to help with certain issues. The last time I was this politically active was briefly in my high school senior year, when I helped out with a regional election campaign as part of a class project. (Huh: I haven't thought about that campaign for years.)

This is me going out of my comfort zone, because people can use my help. I'm not the only one. As I've heard someone joke, I'm a millennial; the only people I call are members of Congress. (I'm not a millennial, but I get where they're coming from.) More seriously, most reasons people give for not being more politically engaged are bullshit, and I've made those excuses before. They were bullshit then and they are bullshit now.

This is part of me wanting, and trying, to do better.
Tags: politics

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