I loved the Sopranos. We just finished the entire series, and I promptly started watching it all over again. My favorite character is Dr. Melfi. Tony's therapist. I love how he can sit there and let out his frustrations. It might not change anything in his universe, but for a brief moment, there is hope of healing. Hope for change.
And that is why it was so nice to call my local representative today about the Government Shutdown.
I've hesitated calling because:
a) He's proclaimed [in large bold caps] his hatred for "Obamacare" and vows to speak up for his constituents and rail against it as fiercely as possible and no matter what.
b) My name reveals my religion and perhaps seeing that will just make him immediately dismiss whatever I have to say. I do live in a conservative state, after all.
c) Would aides even be there to answer calls with a government shutdown?
I finally decided that even if they crumpled my note up after learning my name. Even if the odds of him changing his mind or taking me seriously was as likely as my toddler convincing me to feed him ice cream exclusively until his eighteenth birthday, it was worth trying. It was worth making the call.
So I looked up his contact information using my zipcode on this representatives database. Anyone in the United States can use it to find their representatives. And then I took a deep breath, and I dialed.
Immediately someone picked up. I gave them my name and address. Then, they asked me to state my concern. I expected to keep myself cool, calm, and collected. And at first, I was. I told him I don't vote strictly based on democrat or republican lines. That I vote for the people who are looking out for their constituents and are sincerely trying to help our country. That I didn't believe the stance he has taken helps our country. That my husband is a government employee. And that there are people we know living paycheck to paycheck who are going to now fall behind on their bills creating a domino effect of chaos that will grow worse with each passing day. And then, to my horror, I felt my voice shaking, and tears forming, because I was sending a message to someone who had the power to change things and that even as I said my part, that these words were hardly a drop in the ocean.
The call took exactly two minutes. When I hung up, and took a deep breath, I knew that even though it might make no difference and I am fully aware of that, in that moment? When I spoke to the aide? To let out my frustration to the source of the frustration? There was hope. Hope for healing and hope for change. And that? That was worth five minutes of my time.
I love my country. I'm blessed beyond measure to live here. And thankful that there are options available to speak up and say how we feel about what is happening to those who are making it happen. I'm realistic, one call likely makes little impact, but the more that call, the more the call matters.
If you have two minutes out of your day to spare, please consider calling, or e-mailing, and letting your congresspeople know: a) that you are a voter b) that you are watching c) and that you don't like what you see. Tell them in your own words, tell them in your own way, but if you can, if you are inclined, please tell them to stop the shutdown and let people who need to put food on their tables do what they need to do.
It takes less than five minutes. It's a drop in the ocean. But its something.