We swept Barack Obama in on a surge of pride, hope and desire for change. He was inaugurated only 20 days ago and now some members of Congress are making a mockery of the people's desire to turn the ship of state around and head for peaceful blue water. Maybe it's my weakened state that's making me sensitive or perhaps it's the video from President Obama that I received, but believe me I am feeling anxious about the stimulus package that is getting the hell beat out of it but that we need so badly.
Probably you are here because this is supposed to be about ART, but before anything, we are all citizens and need to be engaged in our government's operation. Our apathy led to eight horrible years of Bush/Cheney and unimaginable deviation from the rule of law under which America was founded. We need to pay attention and become engaged citizens. This is our country and we must speak up to claim it.
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Out here in western Mass., where incidentally Rachel Maddow got her radio start, there is another very smart political commentator, blogger and radio host named Bill Scher. Bill explains the political process in a clear and direct way and has an in-depth knowledge of the way things operate politically out here in the liberal boonies and inside the Beltway in Washington, D.C. (Liberal Oasis.com and Campaign for America's Future)
Apparently what moves congressional votes in Washington more than anything else is phone calls from constituents - not email and not letters. Who knew? I usually email. Bill says that no one understands and uses this fact better than the Rush Limbaugh army who will move to the phone when summoned and make their views known ad nauseum. These Limbaugh Conservatives have been phoning members of the House and Senate non stop and that is why Obama's stimulus package is getting so beat up. Bill has heard several reports that calls were running 100 to 1 from the Conservatives against either the whole package or various parts of it. (Notice that they picked off the contraceptives before anything else? - why do they always go straight to sex??)
Now that the call has gone out to Obama supporters, the tide is starting to turn, but it's really important that we get on the phone and call our senators and congressmen. If you don't know where to call, take a look at Congress.org. Just type in your zip code and it will pop up all your federal and state reps. If you click on one of them, you'll first get their bio page and you can select "contact" to get phone numbers, address, email, etc. (This is a handy website to know about because you can also look up voting records on particular legislation.)
By the way, since the Washington numbers are getting a lot of call volume, it will probably be better to call the local office. Your rep will still get the message about your support. And, it's not necessary to go into a lot of detail about what you want. For the most part, they are recording PRO or CON stimulus. If you think that it should be a big, bold package with certain things being put back into the package such as aid to the States (so firefighters, police officers and teachers are not laid off), education and school modernization funding, mass transit funding, ARTS funding (the Senate cut $50 million from NEA and banned any aid to museums, art groups and theatres), etc., etc. then just mention a couple of these items.
I was surprised to learn from Bill that even though in Massachusetts our senators and congressmen usually vote the liberal/progressive way, we still need to call because this is how they determine the strength of support they have. Please remember this and make your calls. This is too important not to spend a few minutes on it.
Call your senators and congressmen. Obama can't live on pride, hope and desire for change alone. He needs your help to bring the change. The country needs your help.
P.S. If you are not an Obama supporter and arrived here looking for Art, call in support of the stimulus package anyway. It'll make you feel more Ahrty. It's true.