Someone wrote me this week and said that he couldn't see how what we were doing was going to make any impact on the 2006 elections. He's right. We won't.
We're not about parties or personalities. We don't profess belief in political messiahs. But even if we did, we're still too small to make our impact felt right now.
Perhaps you remember the childhood fable about the tortoise vs. the hare. While the hare had a great deal of promise - the ability to win the race - the contest was won by the turtle. "Slow and steady wins the race."
Each day we grow. Each month, our force of DC Downsizers sends more messages with fewer prompts on our part. We're going to win the race by sheer relentless pursuit.
Relentess pursuit is how this must be done...
* All the revolutionary strategies offered in the past might've seemed like jackrabbits. But after a short sprint, following some initial promise, they petered-out.
* And the politicians are attempting to shut out any dissent - to protect their privileged positions from any and all accountability.
And it's this last point that is so disconcerting and the cause for me to send you this message.
The portals through which we can engage in peaceful dissent are being tightened and even closed.
1) the Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act (LATA)
We recently won a minor victory in the House of Representatives. Our pressure helped keep a provision regulating grassroots organizations like DownsizeDC.org out of the so-called lobbying reform bill. Congratulations!
But that victory was only the beginning of the fight. We could still lose when members of the House-Senate conference committee meet to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
Conference Committees are where a lot of mischief is done, because the full House and Senate almost never read the bills they get back from the conference committees, and may pay little attention even to the summaries they receive.
Worse still, bills get combined in such a way as to entice a yes vote, even if really bad provisions are included. In fact, the lobbying bill has already been combined in the Senate with another bad bill that would regulate political speech by 527 committees.
The thing to do now to keep grassroots groups like DownsizeDC.org from being regulated is to call the Senate members of the Conference Committee and ask them to accept the House version of the lobbying reform bill. Tell them you do NOT want grassroots lobbying organizations regulated.
REPEAT: Ask them to accept the House version of the lobbying reform bill. Tell them you do NOT want "grassroots lobbying organizations" regulated. (H.R. 4975 & S. 2349)
There are only 5 Senator's numbers to call. IF YOU LIVE IN THEIR STATES, IT'S URGENT THAT YOU CALL THEM.
Sen. Trent Lott MISSISSIPPI 202-224-6253
Sen. Ted Stevens ALAKSA 202-224-3004
Sen. Mitch McConnell KENTUCKY 202-224-2541
Sen. Christopher Dodd CONNECTICUT 202-224-2823
Sen. Daniel Inouye HAWAII 202-224-3934
This is very important to what we're trying to do with DownsizeDC.org, so we hope you can take the time to make the calls. THANK YOU!
For the rest of you, tell your Representative and Senators to inform their respective conferees that they don't want the grassroots lobbying provisions added back into the bill. You can do so here.
When you write, you can tell them that you rely on grassroots organizations to keep you informed of what Congress does and that grassroots organizations help you communicate your concerns to them. They need to hear from you now.
2) First Amendment Restoration Act
Current law prohibits citizens from running ads criticizing elected federal office holders by name within 60-days of an election and 30-days of a primary. Nothing could be more contrary to the principles of a free society and representative government. Fortunately, Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R.-MD) has re-introduced his “First Amendment Restoration Act” to repeal these restrictions on free speech and political dissent. Click here to send a message to your representatives asking them to co-sponsor HR 689.
Thank you for doing your part as a DC Downsizer!