Where the Personal becomes the Political at our whim...
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:: Wednesday, February 19, 2003 ::
I Hate The MMM Already! Can we please find a new slogan? MMM sucks. Now we have the "Million Modem March" coming up. Now, I would suggest that you do this on any issue. Don't let a bunch of actors tell you when to give a damn. However, here a few rules to keep in mind:
1) Be nice to the interns. They get yelled at an awful lot when they are often clueless and just learning. Remember how long it took you to get used to your new job, whether it involved how to keep the copier from jamming or how to work the phones. Interns are leaving just about the time they are starting to figure these tricks out without asking for assistance.
2) Your local office is the best place to start. This shouldn't be a secret to anyone, but your legislators have local offices, usually two to five in a district. These are the best places to go to a) actually hear a human voice as opposed to a machine, and b) generally feel like you are getting some results. The DC offices handle the day to day stuff, the committee meetings and the votes. The district offices are there to get a sense of what constiuents want.
3) Don't call, fax, or email people that don't represent you. Included in this is that you should always include your full name, your mailing address and your phone number with your letters or emails. We don't listen to people that aren't in the district. The people that you and your fellow voters elected in your district is the one paid to listen to your bitchin'.
Amendment to this rule: State your name, address and phone number at the beginning of your phone call. You are wasting your time, the office staff's time, and your money on long distance (in many cases) if you aren't represented by the person you are calling. They will be nice and give you all the information you need if you don't fall into the category of the people we give a damn about.
4) Be nice to the interns. Most of them aren't getting paid, especially the ones answering the phones. Let me put it this way. First year, I was an intern for my congressman in Virginia. My roommate, the daughter of a prominent Democrat, also interned for a congressman. I made copies, answered the phones, responded to emails, checked every damn newspaper in the district for mentions on the guy, handled the crazy visitors, and did lots of filing. My roommate spent her days surfing the web, sending me emails and wishing for more work to do. The other interns in her office got more work than she did, and she couldn't understand why. I don't hold this against my dear sweet roommate. But, I can tell you that the college kids in charge of answering the phones want to be there. They don't want to be abused. They love the experience, and they are doing it for next to nothing. Be nice to the interns.
5) The bright paper rule (the one that says write your letters on bright paper so they'll be noticed) doesn't apply. I swear that it makes no difference in the world other than how hard it is to read. I can't read most things on yellow paper either, so just go with plain white. Your letters will get read because they hire interns to do that kind of stuff.
6) Be nice to the interns. Every time a new rule gets posted, this one will be repeated. (Note: This post has, and will continue to be, updated as I slowly recall my days as an intern. Forgive me, in my old age, I'm becoming a little flakey.)
:: Bitter 10:30 PM [+] ::