Thursday, December 01, 2011


I've been thinking about it since I wrote yesterday's blog post. People turned to me for advice on writing their senators and representatives, for looking up congressional info, and... I knew the answers. Before this, I'd never really seen my penchant for writing snarly letters to elected officials as a protest, but you know, it is. In my mind, a protest involves picket lines and chanting and possibly mild violence of the 'throw a few punches' type. But then, my dad was a member of the UAW (United Auto Workers union), so I suppose it's not shocking that image was in my mind.

Writing seemed more civilized to me, and I don't know what I thought of it as. But it's a protest as surely as waving a sign at city hall.

See, this is all Ralph Regula's fault.

He was my congressman, where I grew up. We had a great government teacher at my high school, and she and Ralph would organize government orientations, for lack of a better word. I've actually met the guy; he retired in 2009 after 18 terms in the House. While I didn't agree with everything he ever did, he was an old-school politician who actually acted like a public servant.

With all that, then, it didn't seem odd at all to me, to write a letter or call his office when there was something I was unhappy about going on in office.

Then I married the husbeast and moved to Virginia, just in time for the Ollie North vs. Chuck Robb senate race. You remember Ollie North, the "I was just following orders" dude from the Iran-Contra hearings? Him, running against Chuck Robb, who was almost a cartoon of a corrupt southern politician. I spent about a year writing nasty letters to both Robb's offices and North's campaign offices. I don't remember if I refused to vote, or if I voted and wrote in Kermit the Frog. (I do a lot of both.)

Then on to Hawaii, and again, letters fired off to relevant people. I actually got into a face-to-face confrontation with one of the congressmen while I was there. Do not rag on the enlisted military in my presence, I will chew your face off.

Well, you get the idea. Apparently I've been protesting with the pen rather than the picket sign all this time and it just never occurred to me.

So, it's time to protest some more.

The bill discussed in yesterday's post? S.1867? It passed in the senate today, a vote of 97-3. There's a petition to impeach every senator who voted in favor of it. You can sign it, here. (The internet makes all this with-a-pen protesting much easier and faster.) While I don't think they will impeach the entire senate, I DO think that thousands of signatures on that WILL get their attention. It's a small thing. It's an easy thing. If you're outraged, go sign it.

I hope the president vetoes this thing or I'm going to be writing in Kermit the Frog again next year.


Barbara said...

Jesus freaking Christ, what are they thinking out there in Government Land? I was going to say "smoking" but I don't want to tar harmless stoners with the same brush.

Sarah {The Student Knitter} said...

okay... I think I'm getting confused by this news coverage. Here's the bill you mentioned: said it's passed, like you said.

IS this article saying the provision passed?

from the second paragraph:
"The measure, part of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, was also opposed by civil libertarians on the left and right. But 16 Democrats and an independent joined with Republicans to defeat an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would have killed the provision, voting it down with 61 against, and 37 for it."

paint me confused.

Teri S. said...

Unbelievable! I couldn't find who voted in favor of it ( seemed to have the tally for the amendments and cloture). I have no idea what these guys are thinking but whatever it is scares me. Who defines terrorism? Can terrorism be defined as anything counter to what the state wants? Can it be defined as civil disobedience? Can it be defined as protest?

I thought the Patriot Act was bad but given the circumstances I mostly understood the motivation behind it. But what's the motivation for the detainee sections in S. 1867?

I wonder what it takes to emigrate to Canada...

Mel said...

My husband just read that the bill passed but the amendment didn't.

Can you clarify this?



shadowbat said...

We have anti-terrorism laws here in the UK and while no doubt they are useful, every couple month or so there's a story about how they misused it - like when they sent an 8 year old boy to court for holding up a sign on an environmentalist protest or multiple times, they used it against people who didn't paid their taxes.
Period of detention without charge is 28 days down from the planned 90 and i remember when they made this into law, it was everywhere, i wonder how it is possible the US version is not even in the news?!

Sandra M. Siebert said...

Thanks for the link. I signed, as I have signed lots of other online petitions. I keep signing and just keep getting more pissed off. I've written personal e-mails to congress people and been disatisfied with their replies, if I get one. Only one of my current state representatives seems to have a clue. Wish people would wake up.

Emily said...

According to good old Snopes, internet petitions are useless.

As to the lack of publicity: there is a world-famous hospital not far from me which is in danger of being shut down because of gross mismanagement by the CEO. In an effort to "save money" (read, plump up directors' salaries), they cut back on nursing personnel to well below the legal limit, and then continued to cut. Is this in the news? Nope.

Another hospital closer by me merged with a neighboring hospital, thus eliminating I-don't-know-how-many-beds, plus the closer ER now has no cardiac facility. By law, an ambulance has to take a heart attack victim to the nearest ER; anybody arriving at that ER will likely die before the transfer to the bigger hospital can take place. There has been no word of any of this in this county's news, but the surrounding counties followed the whole drama quite closely.

I know this is not on the same level as this bill's lack of public attention, but there are lives at stake here. Big money wins, damn it, every time. Just sickening.

Amy Lane said...

I signed it. I can't think about it too much, or it will make me just crazy, but I signed it.

Corlis said...

Read your blog post (Knitters Unite!) and the next day NPR carried a story on the senate bill. Congratulations on your scoop!

There are a lot of puzzle pieces hitting the news.

Time carried a blurb about us exporting oil, although we import huge amounts.
Australia is selling uranium to India because the US is doing it despite India's refusal to sign nonproliferation treaties.
US and Pakistan relations are deteriorating.
As of Jan 2012, the US gov't will no longer issue savings bonds.

Andrea said...

You rabble rouser, you! I signed. I mean, really, first a protesting war veteran gets hit in the head with a rubber bullet, my 84 year old mother gets pepper sprayed in the face, seated kids at Davis are pepper sprayed, a teen gets denied boarding on her flight because of an gun applique on her purse now THIS! And SOPA! What is going ON in this country? Send everyone to Guantanamo? Are our elected officials just doing this stuff to avoid fixing the real problems our country faces?
Then there is the other matter of Martha Stewart wearing what appears to be a table runner on the cover of the Holiday issue of Vogue Knitting.
Maybe I should move to Canada.