Suggestions for talking with Congressperson:
1) Speak from the heart
2) Stay on the singular message
3) Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from your message no matter what!
4) Identify one goal for the meeting and be determined to reach it
5) Ask to speak w/the Congressperson her/himself; if they are not available, ask to speak with Chief of Staff; then go down the list until you find someone to speak with –or you wait until someone is available
6) Be friendly but firm; know you are right, you are determined, you have a whole grassroots movement of awesome women behind you!
7) Do not leave until you either get what you want or make an appointment to come back and pick up what you want in an hour, 24 hours, a fortnite, whenever as soon as you are able.
Further expansion on above
1) speaking from the heart – you cannot go wrong, you can only get better at expressing yourself, your determination to end war, your resolve to remove our troops from harm’s way – both from being killed and killing another human being. Don't worry about saying the wrong thing, not knowing what to say, or what you'll look like. Learn, grow, get better - if you don't do it, it won't get done so just do your very best, know your voice needs to be heard and speak for all of us.
2) there are a multitude of important, vital issues and causes – do not muddy the waters or give your congressperson the opportunity to change the subject, no matter how important these other things are to you. Keep the message simple and clear: we’re here to end war, defund the war, bring the troops & contractors home immediately. Period.
3) Remember raising children: you ask them to clean their room – they might ignore you, point out how good they’ve been, throw a fit, call you names, etc.etc.etc. – all tactics to try to make you forget your goal, to get them to clean their room. Same with congresspeople – they might call you liberals, hippies; might want you to go harass some republican; bring up their pet project – whatever. Doesn’t matter – acknowledge their feelings and get back on message: “I see you’re busy/stressed/ upset/leaving/working/etc, there’s never a good/right/easy time to end war so we’re doing it now & need your help”.
4) we’re not leaving until you have signed on to HR508; or until you have promised to vote to de-fund war
1) We the people of this nation have given Congress a Mandate for Peace and we expect you (this Congressperson) to implement our Mandate for Peace. Will we be able to count on you (her/him) to represent the people?
2) We want you be a leader, to lead with/follow the women of California and sign on to HR508 – will you be a signer? HR508 1)brings our troops & contractors home safely within 6 months; 2) rescinds the blanket permission for Bush to lead us into war; 3) provides for reparations for Iraq; 4) provides quality healthcare for returning veterans
3) We want you to give us your word that you will not vote another penny for war: you must not allow Republican war mongers to define “supporting our troops” as funding war; “supporting our troops” is bringing them home promptly and safely.
4) Your funding choices are very clear: either you 1) vote money to continue war and occupation; or 2) vote money for the prompt, safe return of our troops. Period.
5) You can no longer just SAY you are against war; and then ACT to support war by voting for war. We will NOT accept just your words: you MUST sign on to HR508
Counter-arguments (not covered in talking points):
We are spreading democracy:
1) NOT. We have bombed over 25 countries since the end of WWII – not one of them has resulted in a democracy
2) The people of Iraq have to decide what kind of government they want – how dare we try to violently force them to choose democracy
3) We cannot ignore the fact that Iraq sits on the 2nd largest oil reserve in the Middle East – Bush is proposing to “give” Iraqis a share in that oil
Chaos, civil war will ensue
1) there is already chaos, civil war – we are the lighting rod for this chaos and civilwar
2) the first suicide bomb incident happened AFTER we attacked both Afghanistan and Iraq
3) no one is sure what will happen after our soldiers and contractors are withdrawn – nothing can be worse than what is happening now
4) we are totally sure of ONE thing: not one more American life will be taken when we are no longer occupying that country
5) for the first 3 ½ years we occupied Iraq, we were told we HAD to do so to prevent civil war; now that there is civil war, we are told we HAVE to stay because there is civil war. Excuses, excuses, excuses
We cannot be seen as losing this war
1) We’ve already lost this war
2) What does winning this war look like to you? 30,000 U.S. soldiers dead, ½ of the Iraq population dead, all the oil fields controlled by U.S. corporations? What?
3) Why are you attempting to allow Bush to ‘save face’ when you could be saving lives?
1) it is too late (not to mention obnoxious) to establish hoops for Iraqis to jump through
2) there’s been enough ‘benchmarks’ – it is really a delaying tactic – Hussein has been captured, tried, and killed; Iraqis have had an election; Iraqis have adopted a constitution
3) ‘benchmarks’ is another diversionary tactic – we’re not buying it & neither should you.
Listen to the people
1) we already have an administration and military industrial complex that is not listening to the people of this country; don’t join them as one of our leaders who is not listening & implementing the will of the people
2) if you cannot listen to the will of the people, listen to the soldiers – over 70% of them polled last year said we should be out of Iraq by December 2006!
3) If you cannot listen to the will of our soldiers, listen to the Iraq people: many times, many polls close to 95% of the people want the US troops OUT of Iraq
4) If you cannot listen to the will of the Iraq people, listen to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Generals, the Iraq Study Group, the many officials in the State Department that are supporting prompt withdrawal
It’s not going to pass anyway
1) We will not get into that argument - whether it passes or not, it is YOUR position on this resolution that we are concerned with, not a defeatist attitude
2) if you really believe it is not going to pass, we suggest you identify the barriers, make a plan, and go about doing the work it will take to make it pass – as we’re sure the republicans, business people, anyone does when there are barriers to what they want
3) it is not important whether Bush will veto or Republicans won’t vote for it – it IS important what YOU stand for. Everyone else will get their due, not to worry