We all love ONE, but when they ask us to contact our members of Congress — actually call or visit an actual congressperson — does your stomach do a flip? Mine does. Calling a congressional office seems so intimidating.
But then I did it.
Pittsburgh ONE members calling their members of Congress at a call party.
Guess what? It was the easiest thing in the world: easier than calling the cable company, faster than leaving a message for a friend. And, arguably, as important as casting my vote.
It took something urgent that I care about passionately — protecting lifesaving aid from the fiscal cliff — to push me past my anxiety to actually pick up the phone, but I did it.
I’m not a policy expert, nor am I particularly interested in politics. I don’t follow news headlines nor the stock ticker. But I do care about people. I care about the millions of lives that will be threatened by the loss of HIV medication and mosquito-repelling bednets if funding is cut to these programs.
I care enough that I was willing to brave picking up the phone and saying so to a very nice congressional aide in Washington, D.C. We talked for a moment, he thanked me for my time, and I hung up. And then I wondered: Why was I so nervous? This is the whole POINT of congressional representation!
Every call, every handwritten letter, every visit gets logged and tracked by each congressional office. While my call won’t make much if a difference by itself, our collective voice speaks with incredible power. All that matters is that we care, and we take that one extra step: we tell Congress about it.