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All Politics Is Local

TipOneill.gif

Tip O’Neill was famous for his "all politics is local" style of working the crowds.  And working the nation for the Democratic party while he was Speaker of the House. 

Well, you don’t get any more local than putting on your walking shoes and going over to your Senators’ offices for a chit chat about the illegal domestic spying without a warrant in which President Bush has been engaging.  If you have time to do so — today is the last day of the current recess, and we would really appreciate you putting a face to the cause for Senate staffers.

This truly is a case where local politics — with a few faces in each state — can make a world of difference.

VichyDems has a great post on the issue, including links to help you find your local Senate offices.  We’ve all been making phone calls, and staffers who have been manning the phone lines have been taking down notes on what we’ve said (or not, depending on the Senator, I’m sure) — but it is impossible to ignore a face to face visit from  a constituent who looks you in the eye and says their piece.

Glenn has some updated information on the non-existent Senate investigation into the NSA mess.  It makes for a good read, but an even better source for discussion points with your Senator and/or staffers.  Be sure to make the point that no one ought to be above the law — that as a citizen, you are held accountable when you break the law, and the President ought to be held to account as well. 

He is not a King, he is a man who holds a public office — and you expect that your Senators will do their jobs and hold him accountable, or ask them to explain why they hold the laws of this nation so cheaply.  (I’ve used the speeding ticket analogy to my advantage in discussing this with wingnutty friends — feel free to use it as well.)

So please, if you can find a few minutes today to get out of the cubicle and down to a local Senator’s office.  If you can’t get to the office in person, at least take a few minutes and call your nearest local office and register your concerns. 

Every little bit helps — this issue is gaining momentum bit by bit.  The fact that President Bush felt free to add another signing statement to the Patriot Act when he signed it on March 9th, a direct end-run of the specific oversight provision that Congress had written into the law doesn’t exactly add to his credibility — especially with Senate egos being what they are.  Please feel free to point this Presidential snub of Congress out to your Senator when you see him or her.

President Bush feels that the laws do not apply to him or his Administration.  He could not be more wrong.  It is time that the citizens of this nation stood up and said "no" to his unconstitutional disregard of the separation of powers.  If Congress won’t do it on their own, it is up to all of us to drag them along with our public sentiment on this issue.  It’s about time that everyone in Washington remembered that they work for us, not the other way around.

We really appreciate everyone’s hard work on this.  And so do our Founding Fathers.

UPDATE:  Pach reminds me in the comments that a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and/or a call in to a local radio talk show would also be a great and effective means of bringing your voice to this issue.  I know for a fact that most political officeholders have staffers who keep an eye on the issues raised in LTEs, so this is also a way of doubling up if you have already spoken with your Senator.  Every little step forward helps — all of you have done some great work on this already.  Let’s keep working to move this forward.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com