Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lessons in Democracy

After reading the morning news I now need to take a deep breath and focus on something beautiful for a few moments. 

This orchid is soothing to look at.    

My neighbor gave it to me when she left for Florida in October and by January it looked dead.  The leaves looked dull and there were no buds, much less blooms.   It looked hopeless, but I kept following the instructions I'd been given to keep it on the windowsill and water it, and sure enough, the other day it surprised me by blooming. 

Those of us who aren't happy with the way things are going politically are instructed to regularly contact our Senators and Congressmen and tell them what we think.  (You probably know about the Indivisible Guide, written by former congressional staffers, which provides such instructions. ) Politicians are reporting huge numbers of calls and emails from folks like me.  Constituents are even showing up in representative's offices to communicate their resistance to the way things are going on the political scene.   

To join in this movement I first had to figure out who my representatives are.  After all, we've only lived here two years, and politics wasn't the first thing on my mind.  If you're in the same boat, you can go to this site to find out the names and contact info for your politicians. 

I thought that once I had the info I'd be ready to call or write my Senators and Congressman, but I realized that first I had to educate myself a bit so I could write something intelligent.  

By reading my Senators' web sites and Facebook pages, I found out that one of them seems to read my mind and votes just the way I like.  It would be silly to write him saying he should support a position when he'd already posted that he did.  With a little research I usually find that Senator Michael Bennett is doing a great job agreeing with me, so I occasionally contact him to say "Thank you and keep up the good work."  

But the other Senator persists in holding opinions that are opposite from mine.   When I research his stance on the issues I usually find that we're not in sync.  So I contact him quite often to tell him so.   I always email Senator Cory Gardner because I have a Maryland phone number and I don't want to encourage his belief that "paid protesters" from out of state are behind the flood of phone calls his offices are receiving.  

In response to my frequent emails I get form letter replies back.  But since they always mention the subject I've written about, I feel I've been counted, which is my goal.  

My Congressman is Jared Polis, who is a good guy who not only agrees with me but makes sure his constituents know what he's up to via Facebook.  

An interesting thing is that neither of my Senators include their voting record on their web pages, though Congressman Polis does.   He gets an A for that.  To  find out out how my Senators voted I have to go to a site like Vote Smart. 

Another interesting thing is that sometimes I start to write an email about an issue and then realize that I don't really know what I think about it.  As President Trump has found out, sometimes an issue is very confusing.  Well, at least he was willing to admit that about health care:  "Now, I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject.  Nobody knew health care could be so complicated." 

Well, duh, this is so true about a lot of issues.  As I research some of them I see that I have a big learning curve ahead of me.  

Speaking of President Trump,  just for fun I've emailed him several times.  And when Kellyanne Conway said that "no one cared about [Trump's] taxes" I was moved to send a short but impassioned hand-written letter to her boss.   

I get nothing back from his offices, so I can only hope my opinion has tallied.  

I'm hoping that by following the instructions of the political experts and adding my voice to the huge number of people resisting the current state of things, some good results will bloom.  

After all, Spring does follow Winter, as nature is showing us now.  You can't help but feel hopeful when there are signs of spring all around. 

And I am learning a lot, which is always a good thing.  


  1. Always good to learn something new, but I am not sure print media is the best way get the news. We have two major newspapers in the Los Angeles area...actually there are a few more, but, for the sake of argument, there are two. Depending on which one you regularly read, you can come away with a completely different (180°) opinion about what is happening in the government these days. It is becoming increasingly difficult to learn the real truth, and that is so disconcerting.

  2. THANK YOU FOR YOUR POST. I have been so frustrated about daily national news for months. I actually stopped watching it because it's only been bad news. I'm a little better now. I have found if I do something, anything, about what is bothering me I feel better. And, in this case I have not.
    I have not posted political feelings on my blog in fear of insulting someone, but here you have educated us! Thank you for the links. I feel your pain. Beautiful Orchid. mary in Az

  3. Kudos for participating in representative democracy, despite the best efforts of the current political climate. I'm afraid Senator Gardner and his staff wish I wasn't so plugged in to his Neanderthal views but having been politically active for the past 87 years (or so it seems), I find I grit my teeth a lot with his lame excuses and platitudes. It makes me crazed and yet there is a lot of satisfaction in being the proverbial thorn in the side. What kills me are the comments from media folks who continue to mis-label him as a moderate Republican. There is NOTHING moderate about Cory Gardner. Keep up the good work, both politically and with the gorgeous orchid. It's quite soothing.


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