Reprise: 25 Hours a Month
(Download this post as a pdf: 25 hours)
One of the things I like to point out is that the changes we seek to achieve in the sociopolitical world can all be done by a concerted effort of 20 or so people in each legislative district devoting only 25 hours a month to the effort.
That includes transportation time, btw.
If, of those 20 people, 5 do a little more, all the better. If those 20 people are joined by however many who lack transportation, even more so.
You need either a phone or the ability to get somewhere — only one of those is necessary.
Can’t go anywhere? The phone becomes your tool, and it is especially great since with the upcoming limitations on voting. So what are the 25 hours?
First, there is homework, so you know how to spend those 25 hours. The homework consists of finding out the following information:
- Your Precinct
- Your City councilman
- Your County representative
- Your State legislators (both chambers)
- Your Justice of the Peace
- Your School Board
- Your judgeships (where they are elected)
- Your Congressmen: House and Senate
- Where the offices for all of these people are.
- What the phone numbers for all these people are.
All of this should be put into a single sheet of paper, laminated or whatever, and keep it handy. You will, for the next several years, need it. Be prepared to change it when elections happen — elections you are seeking to influence.
Now, for the last bit of homework, you meet with as many people from your area as you can — with the goal of making that group into about 20 people, by any means you can.
When you meet, you pick 10 issues that all of you care about. Talk about it. These are the things you are for.
They need to be specific issues — you don’t need to focus on how to do them, just that they are things you think need to be done. These issues should apply at the city, county, state and federal level.
Then you begin planning your efforts out.
So, for the 1st hour: Go to the office of your city councilman or alderman. Get to know the staff. Don’t worry so much about meeting the Councilman or whatever — you are there to get to know the staff. As people.
When you visit an office, do 3 things:
- Ask for an appointment to sit and speak to the Representative. You will, most often, be directed to a staffer in charge of that area of interest.
- Get the names of everyone you speak to. Take pictures. Ask them how their families are doing — get to know them as people.
- Be clear that you are a constituent. That you are someone they represent, and that the way you are treated will reflect in how all of you in your group will vote.
These are key things because they need to know that you are a voter for them, not someone who is just basically threatening them.
A group of voters is always a very visible and startling sight: especially one that takes names and photos and has written questions, concerns, and points of what they expect. So bring along with you other people in your area — another reason to go to your Precinct meetings, but also reason to join indivisible groups in your area.
The photos, if they ask, are for a “group newsletter”. Because you are a special interest group — the most important one, if not the most moneyed one.
Also, be sure to get any position paper you can from them.
These things will be done when you visit any office, every time you go.
Basically, you are going to make friends with the staffers. You want to make friends with the staffers because then they will give you both more import and your voice becomes louder.
Which means it is really important when your Council person is not of the same political party as you.
That is one hour a week, in general, and you’ll be doing that for a few years — not gonna lie, this is the long game.
Do not go and bother city council people for other districts. They don’t give a damn about you unless you are doing some event that will benefit them and you have an issue that they consider part of their whole platform.
After about 3 visits, you start with the requests. Remember, it is important that you be *for* something, not just against something. You need both a carrot and a stick.
So we are now at 4 to 5 hours a month (we’ll call it 5). Now add travel time: couple hours for the month. So this is 7 hours a month.
Next up, is your County people. 30 minutes a month, unless they double as city (some places do). 30 minutes of travel time.
Same rules as before, same goals.
That’s 8 hours a month.
Next is your State Representative(s). Once a month, one hour, unless they are in session in which case it is weekly.
We’ll make that another 7 hours, so up to 15.
Then you have your State Senator. You can often hit them up in the same visit, but, just because, let’s add two more hours a month.
You also have your governor — once a month. Two hours — one travel — for them. That’s 20.
Then you have your federal Representative. Two hours a month here — and some of that is making phone calls or writing handwritten letters that you actually mail. With stamps and everything!
Do not email. Do not post on social media unless they are really big on it and very active (and if they are, they likely aren’t doing their job).
That’s 22 hours.
Then you have your Federal Senators: three hours a month, one hour for each.
That’s 25 hours a month.
That is it.
Now, if a group of you — 3 to 20, all of them actual constituents, do this, believe me, they will start to pay attention to you when you show up because holy cow, that *never* happens, and when it does, the media is usually around.
But that’s another reason for all the photos.
IF you get treated poorly, you make damn sure the media — your local television stations and local newspaper — hear about it.
If you get treated really well, you do the same thing. This is important — they love good press. Its like butter on a biscuit.
Now sometimes you will not be able to go to some office. So use that time to go to a different one. Do not stop, do not give in, do not give up.
And encourage others.
Others who cannot go out themselves? have them call. Don’t use a script, just give everyone certain points and let them say them for themselves.
Write those handwritten letters — don’t tell sob stories unless you are dealing with one, specifically, as part of your 10 goals (remember them? use them, all the time).
Doing this over the next several years is a daunting thought — but assuming that you don’t get bit by the bug, lol, you will be able to make a change to the way that even hostile legislators operate, and if we do the rest of the work — agitating, voting against bad folks, running candidates even if they might lose both in primaries and in generals — we can make a change in everything that will be amazing.
Do this for six years, and we can change the world.
The entire world.
We can undo anything thrown at us.
So it really is a matter of being persistent.
Of forging forward even when we are warned and we are explained to, we will persist.
And still be able to have a life — one that we are making better.