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October 11, 2013

Drunk Dial: It’s Time to Contact Congress.

I’m certainly not above enjoying the latest parody about the shutdown.

Like this one from Funny or Die, for example:

On the other hand, the shutdown’s side-effects aren’t really all that funny—from upsetting stories about deceased soldiers and their widows receiving improper treatment to the children affected through Head Start—our government shutdown is churning out some real problems that are certainly no laughing matter.

So, yeah, I might find temporary relief through Miley Cyrus’s SNL skit (and I think that’s perfectly alright), but it’s also time to start thinking about actions that can potentially bring relief that lasts longer than two minutes—like writing to Congress.

Check out this website, the Borgen Project. This organization is geared specifically to bringing attention to an issue you feel strongly about through effective correspondence, but these tips are also put to good use when (not ifwhen) you write your letter about the shutdown.

Here’s another site that shares tips for appropriate congressional communication (email correspondence is specifically addressed). 

And if you have no idea who you’re writing to, visit here, Contacting the Congress

Still, like I stated earlier, I do enjoy a powerful joke—and this is the best one I’ve seen yet: Drunk Dial.

Yep, for real, “DrunkDialCongress.org is a website that launched Thursday morning, which puts you in contact with a random member of Congress so you can “Call & Yell.”

Their mission statement:

“Note: As Members of Congress quickly returned from their final symbolic, non-effective and otherwise useless votes to avert a government shutdown, the heavy drinking began. Reports of our representatives getting plastered on the government’s dime—the one we have left—have come streaming in from witnesses all over Capitol Hill. Now’s your chance to tell your Representative what you really think of their actions.”

CNBC’s Jane Wells tried it out.

“I tested it out. On the site I entered my phone number and received a recorded call from a man who sounded like he’d had a few too many. “I like to tell people whasss on my mind,” he slurred. Soon I could, too. Through that phone call I was randomly transferred to someone on Capitol Hill—Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind.

“Has anyone called you using DrunkDialCongress?” I asked. “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” said the friendly receptionist after a pause.

I was their first known call from the website. While Rep. Rokita has been getting calls about the shutdown, “This site is news to me,” said the woman answering his phone (she did confirm my number was obscured). When asked if any drunk dialers had called at all, like, people who were really drunk, she replied, “No.”

Not yet at least.”

Drunk Dial also offers “Talking Points” like “Why don’t you make yourself useful and at least mow the lawn?” or “My grandma can’t get her cancer treatment.”

Also offered: five drink recipes.

“The Southern Congressman

2 oz Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey
1 tsp lime juice
5 oz sour mix”

and

“The Bad Representative

1 oz Scotch whisky
1 oz cherry brandy
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz lemon juice
1 slice lemon”

So do go ahead and drunk dial, but also, please, take the time to write to the person who actually represents your specific area.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a letter to write…

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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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