I've called Tim Ryan's office a few times. I think representatives have decided they can pretty well ignore phone calls urging legislative action. Both he and Senators Voinovich and Brown have very polite staffers who answer the phone, thank you and promise to pass along your concerns. You have to be a cynic to believe these don't get passed along. They don't take your name or your number, don't offer any information on how the reps feel about it and don't tell you where they have appearances in the near future so you could shake their hand, look them in the eye and tell them exactly what you think. In Voinovich's case that's because he's made no public appearances in northeast Ohio during this vacation. I figured the best way for a citizen to make an impression would be to have a petition and deliver it to Ryan's local office. I imagine if you had some sheets full of local voters' signatures and you show up at his door you might get more than a polite "thank you", so the plan could go like this:
1. Get a clipboard, pen and petitions.
2. Find a good, high traffic place with lots of potential signees.
3. Collect signatures and deliver.
I knew there would be more to it than that but I figured it would be a good outline to work with. The big piece is to find a good place and reserve it properly - showing up somewhere out of the blue isn't terribly persuasive. In fact, doing that seems about one step above walking around with a "THE END IS NEAR" sandwich board. I live near a university so I figured: High traffic, probably a decent number of impeach-Cheney enthusiasts. Let's contact the folks in charge of programming and set something up. Once the space is reserved, do a little publicity, drum up some interest, get some petitions signed, deliver to Ryan, rinse and repeat until he signs H Res 333. What could be simpler?
I initially thought it would be fairly straightforward; instead it's already taking a few weeks more than I expected. It's important for citizens to be active, but if you want to have any impact at all you need to give a little thought and planning to it. Unfortunately even coordinating within and among very small groups can get extremely slow and complicated. I've worked in small groups before so I understand how it can happen but even taking that into account it seemed very gummed up. Fortunately I'm a persistent sort and don't discourage easily. On the other hand it's a little embarrassing to come up with a plan, tell it to people and keep...pushing...it...back. Embarrassing but illuminating.