feature image via Huffington Post.
Alrighty, queermos and allies, URGENT call to action. Let’s do our best to stop Jeff Sessions from being confirmed as Attorney General. We (Carrie and Ali) are going to put the most important, do-it-now stuff at the beginning, and then answer questions as to why after.
Call These Senators To Voice Your Concerns About Sessions
Who needs to call: people who live in Iowa, Utah, South Carolina, Texas, Nebraska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina and Louisiana. People from Utah and Texas, both your Senators are on this committee and you should call both of them.
Who to call:
Chuck Grassley (IA) – (202) 224-3744
Orrin Hatch (UT) – (202) 224-5251
Mike Lee (UT) – (202) 224-5444
Lindsey Graham (SC) – (202) 224-5972
John Cornyn (TX) – (202) 224-2934
EDIT: It looks like John Cornyn’s D.C. number has been disconnected. Here are the numbers for his regional offices:
South Central Texas
Ted Cruz (TX) – (202) 224-5922
EDIT: It looks like Ted Cruz’s D.C. number has been disconnected. Here are the numbers for his regional offices:
Ben Sasse (NE) – (202) 224-4224
Jeff Flake (AZ) – (202) 224-4521
Mike Crapo (ID) – (202) 224-6142
Thom Tillis (NC) – (202) 224-6342
John Kennedy (LA) – (202) 224-4623
What to say:
Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent from [CITY WHERE YOU LIVE]. My ZIP code is [YOUR ZIP CODE]. I don’t need a response. I oppose Jeff Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General and strongly encourage [SENATOR’S NAME] to vote against his confirmation. Senator Sessions has shown support for civil forfeiture laws, which challenge the idea of limited government and violate Americans’ rights to private property and due process. Our nation’s top law enforcement officer cannot hold such a Constitutionally questionable position. [SENATOR’S NAME] will lose my vote if [HE/SHE] votes to confirm Jeff Sessions. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones!
Please feel free to personalize your script and make it sound more natural to you, but please stick to this message. This is a message tailored to Senate Republicans, because that is who you are talking to. They’re going to ask your zip code or address to verify you’re a constituent, and that is normal.
What to do if you don’t live in those states: talk to EVERYONE you know who does and share this far and wide. Keep in mind your audience when you’re talking to people—if your friend or family member is progressive, go ahead and share this article, that’s fine. If they aren’t or you’re not sure, talk to them, text or email them instead and express that you’re sure you can both agree one one thing: that someone being confirmed to a cabinet position needs to be more qualified than this. Jeff Sessions has failed confirmation hearings in the past, and you only want the best of the best. Tell them to fight for the best cabinet, and that you’re confident that the Trump administration can find a better nominee.
When to take action: IMMEDIATELY. If you’re in any of the above-mentioned states, pick up the phone and call now. If you’re not, mobilize your network and share this information on social media. Likely the Judiciary Committee will vote on Sessions tomorrow, January 31st at 9:30 AM, so we have ONE DAY to make it happen.
Alrighty, now for some questions:
Why These Senators?
These Senators are on the Senate Judiciary Committee Committee, specifically the Republican ones. There are Democrats on this committee, too—you may have heard of Californians trying to get in touch with Dianne Feinstein using messages on pizzas and singing telegrams, for instance. You should call them too! Just because they’re Democrats doesn’t mean they share your values (for example, Schumer fell in line regarding Mike Pompeo and I near about fell out of my chair). But in order for this action to have a lobster’s chance in a seafood restaurant, it’s mostly the Republicans we need to convince.
Why Aren’t We All Calling These Senators?
Alas, unless we live in their states, we cannot! And we’d just be blocking the phone lines for people who can. So if you don’t live in one of the states listed, think about your network—who do you know who does? We don’t even need a million people to do it. When Senators start receiving calls like this, they talk to each other about it. That’s what we’re trying to have happen. So yes, your two friends in Texas or your mom who lives in South Carolina can really make a difference.
Why Are We Focused on the Attorney General
Ali: Jeff Sessions was too racist to be a judge, he’s CERTAINLY too racist to be our Attorney General. An Attorney General actually does have an impact on policy—remember that Attorneys General decide how, and sometimes if, to defend things in court. Given that this President seems to enjoy an insane executive order, and that his executive orders are racially motivated, and that the best way to challenge an executive order is in court, we cannot have Too-Racist-Jeff-Sessions as our Attorney General.
Carrie: The Attorney General sets the tone for what kinds of values we defend as a country. Let’s not forget that the repeal of DOMA and the ensuing snowball effect began, in large part, with Attorney General Eric Holder. Under his successor Loretta Lynch, the Justice Department sued North Carolina over the HB2 bathroom bill, which Lynch called “state-sponsored discrimination.” This person isn’t just a fancy attorney in a distant D.C. office; they can be either an ally or hindrance when it comes to progress and the defense of civil rights. They have the power to bring down the legal hammer of the federal government.
So who’s in that seat should be a top priority to every American, and definitely every one of us who is queer. The reasons Jeff Sessions shouldn’t hold this job are pretty much endless. Is he still going to get confirmed? Probably. But he is dangerous for people of color, queer folks, women, immigrants, disabled people, any combination of the above, and so many others. His appointment would endanger multiple people you know personally. We can’t let this one go without any fight at all. Plus, if you’ve got a Senator up for reelection in 2018, you need to remind them that you’re watching their vote (and then work like hell to get them out of office if they do give Sessions a pass).
Wait, Why Isn’t The Argument In Our Script Just That He’s a Horrible Racist?
If the current Senate Republicans care that someone is a horrible racist, they sure aren’t acting like it. We hate it, but we think we live in a world where we have to find some other, Republicany reason to oppose him. That sucks. That’s horrendous. But so is American politics right now, so HERE WE ARE.
Wait, I Thought We Weren’t Doing Sessions Because He’s Probably Gonna Get Confirmed Anyway?
You are correct, we did say that! But you know what, we’ve decided to try anyway. Because it’s the right thing to do. He’s awful and we have to throw our hearts at this because we are good people, not awful people. Plus Ali’s mom called her from South Carolina and said they’re running ads to tell people to call their Senators to vote FOR Sessions. So maybe he’s weaker than we think.
Ugh, Y’all, My Democratic Senator is On This Committee And I Feel So Useless!
You know what, we don’t entirely trust the Democrats to present a united front against Trump’s nominees anymore, so here you go, rock on with your bad self:
Dianne Feinstein (CA) – (202) 224-3841
Patrick Leahy (VT) – (202) 224-4242
Richard Durbin (IL) – (202) 224-2152
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) – (202) 224-2921
Amy Klobuchar (MN) – (202) 224-3244
Al Franken (MN) – (202) 224-5641
Christopher Coons (DE) – (202) 224-5042
Richard Blumenthal (CT) – (202) 224-2823
Mazie Hirono (HI) – (202) 224-6361
And these ones, you can say “Vote no on Jeff Sessions, he was too racist to be a judge before, he’s too racist to be Attorney General now.” Because Democrats at least pretend to care about racism, if they don’t actually care about it.