This one feels beaten to death, but while we all say it, I bet less than 5% of you have actually called your Congressperson and two Senators. I’ve called mine twice each since the NSA scandal broke out, and it’s easy.
First, how to find them: for Senators, Google. Simply type in their name (if you know it) or type in us senators statename to find the pair for your state. For Reps, use the handy tool put out by the House.
Next, what to say: all you have to do is tell them what you like or don’t like. You can be polite if you want: “Hi, my name is Jon Corbett, I’m a constituent in Miami Beach, and I’m concerned about the NSA’s collection of the information of Americans like me. Is the [Rep./Sen.] working on this?” You can be less polite if you want: “I’d like to know why my [Rep./Sen.] hasn’t gotten off [his/her] ass to fix this whole NSA mess. Has [he/she] not heard of the Constitution? What am I paying [his/her] salary for?” Either way, the person on the other end will probably give you the briefest of statements (or say “I don’t know”), ask you for some demographic information (ZIP code, area code, etc.), and then record your opinion in a database, which gets aggregated and put together as a report for your Rep. or Sen.
Remember, everyone has 2 Senators and 1 Representative, so you have the opportunity to make your voice heard — if you feel strongly about an issue, there’s no reason not to call all three. Each call will likely take 60 seconds. Don’t e-mail, don’t write. Your phone call is the best way to make an impression because you are using one of their resources for the time you’re on the line.
This is one of a 30-part series, “No Surveillance State Month,” where daily for the month of June I’ll be posting ways to avoid invasion of your privacy in the digital age. The intent of these posts is not to enable one to escape detection while engaging in criminal activity — there’s still the old-fashioned “send a detective to watch you” for which these posts will not help. Rather, this series will help you to opt-out of the en masse collection of data by the government and large corporations that places Americans in databases without their knowing and freely-given consent for indefinite time periods. We all have the right to privacy, and I hope you demand it.