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Good morning! I hope everyone is doing well and that those who have contracted the Omicron variant, or anything else, are healing quickly and staying warm and cozy. Today’s post will be short and sweet because I am hoping that each and every one of you that reads this will do something today to help save Democracy in America.
The US Senate will begin to debate legislation today that combines two separate bills already passed by the House: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Senate Democrats have combined both House bills into one so that the Senate can bring the bill directly to the floor later today, which will avoid an initial filibuster.
This strategy could ultimately still allow Republicans to block it from coming to a final vote, because Democrats lack the unanimous support needed in their party to change Senate rules to muscle through the legislation themselves. (Sarcastic shout out to Senators Sinema and Manchin.) Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated the vote will move forward on the new legislation regardless. This will do two things: Republicans will have to publicly declare their opposition to the bill on the record, and Senators Sinema and Manchin will also have to defend their decision to the rest of the country.
It would be easy to get frustrated and just tune out, considering how hopeless this cause seems at this moment, but I would like to encourage you to do just the opposite for a few reasons. The first is the guiding principle I have used in the last four-plus years of my own advocacy: always do the right thing, even if your chances of winning appear hopeless. This is the premise that has always guided me in my Twitter account: put yourself on the right side of history and always put the words down to document it, so that everyone can see it now and so that others who see it later will know who stood up.
Another great reason not to give up this morning is John McCain and the ACA. Remember that historic moment on the floor of the Senate in the summer of 2017 when McCain shocked everyone and voted against his own party’s initiative to destroy Obamacare? You can watch the moment again in the video embedded in the tweet here:
You never really know what can happen in a Congressional vote — even if you think you know where the votes lie — John McCain proved that. Today’s vote is on an issue that typically enjoys bi-partisan support and protecting voting rights is an issue that should concern every American, regardless of political allegiance. This means that it is possible for one or two Republicans, along with the two Democrats in question, to have a change of conscience at any time.
Today, I am asking each and every one of you to call both of your Senators to urge them to vote in favor of voting rights protections today. Even if both of your elected leaders are staunch Republicans, it is still important to call them and to put your voice on the record for history. I would then urge you to call both Sinema and Manchin’s local offices (see information below). Do not fax or email or leave a message — you need to keep calling until you get a live person on the phone. This is the most effective way to push the dial and it is no doubt a factor that helped to change John McCain’s mind in 2017.
In the event that you are nervous about what to say, here are a few scripts for you that you can just read to the staffer who answers the phone:
Calling Script Sample 1:
Hi, my name is __________ and I’m a constituent from _______ [CITY, ZIP].
I'm calling to recommend [SENATOR’S NAME] support abolishing the Senate filibuster so Congress can break free from obstruction and gridlock and enact important legislation needed to secure our democracy.
Calling Script Sample 2:
My name is __________. I am a constituent, and my zip code is _______.
For far too long the Senate filibuster has been used to block essential legislation and civil rights laws that serve and protect We the People. I urge you to eliminate the filibuster entirely. If that proves politically impossible, then at a minimum you must prevent the filibuster from being used to block emergency pandemic economic relief, healthcare expansion, climate catastrophe, racial equity, and voting-rights legislation. And also prevent it from being used to block statehood for the District of Columbia. If the filibuster has to be retained for some matters, its operation must be returned to the original requirement that filibustering senators have to hold the floor in a public display of their obstruction so that their sabotage is no longer done in the darkness of a Senate backroom.
Calling Script Sample 3, if your Senator has indicated support for reforming the filibuster:
Hi, my name is name is __________ and I’m a constituent from _______ [CITY, ZIP]. “The Senator has indicated that they’d be open to reforming the filibuster in the past, and I’m calling today to ask: Is the Senator planning to support eliminating the filibuster to pass the For the People Act?”
[If they say YES!] That’s great! Please let them know I’m glad they’re supporting HR1 & eliminating the filibuster, and I hope they can encourage their colleagues to do the same.
This morning on Twitter, I had someone comment that my “false hopes are dangerous.” I disagree. What is more dangerous is doing nothing, even in the face of possible imminent defeat. What if we had all done nothing during World War II? Do what is right and don’t give up. You need to make the proper record for history because all of our progeny will be watching and judging us. There are more than 15,000 of you who are signed up to receive this post via email, so imagine if just 10% of that total number make these calls — that WILL have an impact.
Please call now:
To find your two Senators’ names, go to this website and use the “find your Senators” pull-down in the top, left corner of the webpage.
Google” “local office phone number for [put in your Senator’s name here] and then call the local number, you are more likely to get a staffer to answer your call.
Call Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s local office at : (602) 598-7327 or (520) 639-7080.
Call Senator Joe Manchin’s local office at: (304) 342-5855 or (304) 343-7144.
Do not be concerned about calling Sinema or Manchin because you do not live in Arizona or West Virginia. Both Senators are making decisions that affect the entire country and you have a right to politely but firmly express your dissent.
Make me proud.
Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines, and analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.
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