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FDL Late Nite: A Proud Moment in Citizen Patriotism

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Reader RevDeb writes in the comments:

Wrote this yesterday on a Kos Thread here. Andy, Selise and I went to see our senators. Andy was going to write up the report and post it on a thread here, but in the mean time, here’s what I wrote then:

Three of us inspired by FDL went to Kennedy’s and Kerry’s offices today to talk about censure. They were nice and polite at Teddy’s office and gave us an intern to talk to and she got quite an ear full from us. We talked about BEING the grass roots and needing to be heard. We talked about the IL-06 and what a fiasco that was for the big dem machine. We talked about lots of stuff. Three blog readers/writers—one minister, one medical researcher and one physics prof. from Harvard—none of us slouches and none of us twenty-somethings who sit in our pajamas and play with our laptops.

I mentioned the call I got a couple of weeks ago from the DCCC or DSCC, I couldn’t remember which. I told the caller who of corse wanted money that I was no longer contributing to the party apparatus, I was targeting my donations through the blogs to candidates that had backbone. It seems that that is the only way we can get their attention.

The Kennedy line so far is that he is looking into action that would be more meaningful than a symbolic gesture like censure. We said we didn’t care, we just need to see someone stand up and call W on his lies and illegal activity.

On the whole, a good experience and I’m sure the intern learned a few things. We also got the card of her boss to whom we will send further correspondence.

So from there, we went to Kerry’s office. We didn’t get past the security guard in the building lobby. Obviously Kerry doesn’t give a shit about what his constituents care about.

So what else is new?

I would add that the Boston Globe picking up the story on the Patriot Act "disclaimer" signing statement even got the attention of the intern—she had read it before we got there. So I think there is another level of red flags waving that I hope the d’s notice in front of their faces.

We actually talked with the intern about our fears of what it would take for us all to take to the streets violently—we were so angry about what’s going on. Ultimately though the largest voice we seem to have is when we get called and asked by the DSCC and DCCC to give money, we tell them over and over again that we are not giving them any more money, instead we are choosing to give through the blogs to candidates who stand for something.

Can I just say how proud I am of the three of you?  You guys rock.  Thank you so much — and thank you to every single FDL reader who has picked up a phone, or a pen, or a fax cover sheet or whatever it is that you have done to further the voice of the citizen patriots among us. 

Each and every one of you is making such a huge difference, and forcing the dialogue to shift — ever so slightly sometimes, I know, but still there is a perceptible change in how the public’s voice is being heard.  Kudos to each and every one of you.  You are all patriots!

Jane and I are working out some details on action plans for this week.  There is a further NSA hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, and a hearing scheduled to discuss and debate the Feingold censure resolution in the same committee on Friday.  It’s shaping up to be another busy week — and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to have all of you on board.

(Book cover from Frank M. Bryan’s work on Real Democracy:  The New England Town Hall Meeting and How It Works available from University of Chicago Press.)

UPDATE: More from Rev Deb in the comments:

Clarification on the office visits.

We had to go through security to get up to Kennedy’s office as it was in a Federal building. We did and then just hopped on the elevator and walked in. No appointment and they gave us a lovely young intern to chat with. She’s not a blog reader —yet. We gave her a couple of URL’s to start with.

Kerry’s office is in a regular office building. It was about 2:30 or so when we got there. The security guard in the lobby who had only been on the job for 3 weeks shook his head when we said we wanted to go up to the senator’s office without an appt. (for the record, I had e-mailed a staffer I knew on Wed. asking who we should meet with and did not get an e-mail back until I got home from our visit on Fri.) He doubted we could but called up on the phone. He put me on the phone with the receptionist who was cold and not very cooperative. I asked who would be the person we would talk with. She gave no name and said that "the person is not available." I asked about the staffer I knew—if she was still there as I had not heard back. Oh, she said, that would be the person we would talk with but she is not available. I left my name and phone number.

That was that. I got home and got an e-mail from the staffer that was sent at 3:02 pm. She would be happy to meet with us next week "if we are available." I leave that decision up the rest of the group and anyone else in the Boston/Worcester area. If ya’ll want to go in, I’ll make time.

It truly was an invigorating experience. I’d been to both DC offices on many occasions "lobbying" for Choice (hence I got to know the staffer who is now in Boston) but this is the first trip to their Boston offices.

Wanted to make sure everyone didn’t miss this addendum.

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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