Congress in the palm of your hand
I first heard about the app “5 Calls” from Ronni Bennett on her blog “Time Goes By.” It sounded almost too easy. Fire up the app and the very first screen is a list of bills being considered in Washington. Click on a topic and up pops a description of the bill and the name and phone number of your congressman or senator, along with a brief script to use, if you need it, when your call is answered. When you’re finished, click your result at the bottom of the screen and the next person to be called appears. Or you’ll be returned to the list of issues.
I was disappointed at first because when I tried it, the name and number that came up was my Democratic senator. I wanted to call my Republican senator (we have one of each), but he wasn’t listed. (I knew there was a catch!) Eventually I figured out that all I had to do was click “Skip” at the bottom of the page and the Republican’s name and number would come up. When a bill is in the House, my congressman’s name and number appear.
Modern technology being what it is, long distance calls are now toll free (something millennials probably don’t appreciate). So there’s really no excuse not to do this. Writing letters used to be the recommended way to reach a legislator in Washington, but these days we’re told a phone call is the way to go. Since your pro or con position is the only thing that’s tallied, you might as well take the path of least resistance and call. (Of course there’s no guarantee this won’t put you on their robocall list … but you can always block the number if they call)
If you don’t think calls make a difference, just remember how fast the Republicans dropped their plans to hamstring the Office of Congressional Ethics when their phone lines were jammed with protests.
March 21: I neglected to mention that the app is free and available for both iPhone and Android. And while it leans liberal, you can skip the scripts and state your own opinion. The contact names and phone numbers are there for anyone to use.