A Day in Washington: resistance makes a difference!

I’m writing to update you on the impact of our resistance and the work being done quietly to promote our agenda. Beware: this may be lengthy but hopefully you’ll find encouragement as you continue to work tirelessly to save democracy.

As you are aware our IndivisibleHoCoMD group composed a multi group letter to express our concerns about the current administration, to explain our efforts and to demonstrate support for the efforts our MOC’s have so diligently shown in their work to represent us. The letter was signed by several central Maryland resistance groups. Tina from the COI team had a vision to collaborate with other groups to make a statement more powerful. This effort has opened doors to forge new ideas, resources and talents.

A group of 6 (3 members, 1 physician and her 21 year old son, and a 10 year old granddaughter) enthusiastically boarded Metro armed with letters to Senators Van Hollen and Cardin, protest posters, snacks, water and high spirits. We arrived at Senator Cardin’s office a little nervous about what we would say but our concerns were quickly quieted as we meet with Senator Cardin’s staffer, William Van Horne. Bill was impressed with our group, especially with the young people. He also was impressed with the fact that we had a multi group effort evidenced by the signatures on the letter. The staffer read and addressed every bullet point in our letter. Bill reiterated that our efforts are noticed by Washington and are making a difference. The grassroots organizations have bolstered our elected officials and they know we support them. Maryland is fortunate to have such ethical and dignified representatives that are willing to fight tirelessly for our values. One of the most important issues we wanted addressed by Cardin was: What can we do to be most effective and to support our Maryland reps. The response was heartening: we are doing exactly what we need to do. Bill reinforced the importance of the Indivisible Guide, he said it perfectly laid out an effective plan. Our phone calls are the most important thing we can do. Letters, emails, education and our protests contribute positively to the resistance to the counterbalance the current political atmosphere. Our continued efforts are the most important and effective actions in combating the negative consequences of the current administration. Rest assured that Senator Cardin and his staff are working with integrity, diligence and honor to fight for democracy and our values. We left feeling that although times ahead will be tough and the road bumpy, there is a glimmer of hope and we should not give up. Our country needs us, our children need us, our elected officials need us and democracy needs us. Keep working, don’t get discouraged even though some days are darker than others. We are doing what is needed as was validated by Bill. We left home baked cookies with the staff as a small thanks to them. I believe the cookies had disappeared before we left the office!

Our next stop was Senator Van Hollen’s office where we did not have a scheduled appointment. We were welcomed by the staff who did take time to attempt to find a free staffer to meet with us. We decided to present our letter to the reception staff where we were assured Senator Van Hollen would receive it in a timely fashion. We spoke with the staff briefly and handed them a tray of home baked cookies, which were whisked away immediately! Our group was honored to receive Senate Gallery passes good for the remaining Congressional term.

As the day went on we joined several demonstrations on the lawn of the Capitol supporting the current ACA health bill. We  stopped in the Senate for a short time where we discussed changes of procedures we would change if we were in charge (unlikely but ….).

Our day ended with participating in Planned Parenthood’s hands around the Capitol demonstration. Wow, what an experience! The organization was impressive! We marched around the Capitol holding up signs, chanting and talking with other pink clad protesters. Speeches by many Congressmen/women, singing and cheering completed our day.

Tips on visiting D.C. & MOC’s:

  • Make an appointment. Staffers have individual qualities and areas of expertise and are well informed of their elected official’s policies and positions.
  • Take time to say thank you. Staffers have been working especially long days for the past 172 days without breaks.
  • Walk the hallways of various office buildings: we meet and talked briefly to several Senators as we meandered the hallway.
  • Take time to explore the Capitol, the Library of Congress, the lawn where protests occur everyday, every hour with a variety of agendas.
  • Eat all your snacks before visiting the Capitol: no food allowed and they can detect every crumb! Your water bottle must be empty when going through security but can be refilled inside.