If we write letters, but don't do it correctly, we might undermine our well-meaning efforts.
Here is a simple guideline from wikihow. Briefly from that reference, I paraphrased and summarized here, more and better info is in linked article -
• Introduce yourself at the beginning.
• Then introduce purpose of the letter.
• Stick to one issue, not more.
• Request a reply.
• Use business like tone. Don't sound emotional or too passionate.
• Use standard English and try to avoid typos but don't obsess over perfection.
• Beware of affiliating with groups, which can diminish effectiveness of the letter.
• Don't send form letters or copy text of another letter (I did this with my letter yesterday and unfortunately included the salutation to the other senator. damn.)
Do the letters do any good? Here is info from about news. "People who think members of the U.S. Congress pay little or no attention to constituent mail are just plain wrong. Concise, well thought out personal letters are one of the most effective ways Americans have of influencing law-makers" . That article also gives hints about how to write effective letter. Think locally and Keep it simple.
I would add: "Hold the letter to a single topic." If you have multiple concerns you wish to address, do so in separate instances.
I agree with you Loren. That is a point made on several websites as well.
These days my letters are so long I have to adjust margins to fit on one page. So much is happening, so much serious stuff, there' no way I can just write on a single topic. And they don't want 5 or 6 letters a day from the same person.
I struggle to maintain a business like tone with Senator Toomey, he's such a GOP stalwart and takes the phone off the hook so he won't have to listen to constituents.
Plus I wonder if a professional calm tone is going to be taken seriously. For example, if Jews had politely, professionally requested Hitler to be fair, how well would that have worked? Democracy itself is under attack.
I agree Ruth. The more emotion and urgency you can inject into each communication, the more you're ringing the only chime they hear: Why should I vote for you?
Earlier today, a staffer for Sen. Toomey was audibly upset when I (politely but firmly) insisted on a point, refusing to accept his deflection -- this was at least the second time this has happened in my recent round of calling my members of Congress. It may well have been panic that "this guy isn't going to vote for us!"
(And I find myself agreeing more and more that we need to portray the administration's actions as coming from the Republican administration or the Republican president. Republicans enabled this dramatically unqualified demagogue and wannabe dictator; they put party over country over and over again; they should worry about their brand crashing and burning!)
Nice work, GC - I'm glad you ruffled their feathers.