I just got off the phone after calling the White House comment line 202-456-1111. I was nervous to call them, always am nervous using the phone because I’m hard of hearing, but really I don’t need to be. I hear pretty well and if not, usually asking them to repeat what they said helps.
The other contributor to the nervousness was not knowing how one leaves a comment or speaks their mind to politicians and such. I always over complicate it for some reason. “What am I going to say? How will I say it? Who will I talk to?” Maybe it’s a self defense mechanism to prevent me from actually facing my fears. But the call to the comment line was really easy, what a relief!
I waited on hold for a just a few minutes, no more than five and then a woman answered and I told her I wanted to leave a comment about the President considering using military commissions instead of criminal courts for terrorist suspects, but I didn’t know what the process was and what I needed to do. She understood and concisely told me that I state my position on the subject of terrorist trials and then they record it and pass it along.
That’s what I did. I told her I wanted to President to use the criminal courts instead of military commissions because I feel they can handle the facts of the case and make appropriate decisions better than the military commissions. She summarized my position for confirmation, I agreed and then we said goodbye. It was easier than I led myself to believe. It also felt empowering.
I feel that speaking up, especially during the very contentious political climate we have in Washington, is really important. It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable speaking my opinions with those in Washington, but it’s also my job as a citizen. It sure beats signing a petition and not knowing if it does any real good. That’s not to say I think my call will change things by itself. But it at least feels like I’m doing something about it rather than complaining. It feels more direct and if more people called with the same position, it would have an impact I think.
© 2010, Reid Bryant Kimball. All rights reserved.