The federal government is shut down for very dumb reasons: Namely, so that Trump can avoid looking foolish over his obviously foolish wall, and because Sen. Mitch McConnell won’t allow a vote on something the Senate approved 100-0 just last month.
What can we do? We can support Rep. Lloyd Doggett and other House Dems. They must not cave. They must not offer any funding for the foolish wall, for which Trump is trying to extort $5 billion from American taxpayers even though he said Mexico would pay for it. So far, House Dems are holding strong! Call Rep. Doggett and say thanks, or “@” him on social media.
This new year brings new challenges & a new, much improved Congress. Shortly, I will be sworn into the #116thCongress.
In this—the People’s House—I’m looking forward to reopening government & getting to work #ForThePeople.
— Lloyd Doggett (@RepLloydDoggett) January 3, 2019
We can also call Senators Cornyn and Cruz. Cornyn is up for reelection in 2020 and might be more movable on this. Then again, he is a giant crybaby, so who knows. At least is staff is usually nice, so give them a call and a piece of your ear.
The other thing we can do is write letters to the editor. This is especially needed if you are a government worker or contractor affected by the shutdown.
How to write a letter to the editor
Most papers limit the length of LTEs to 150-250 words. You can usually find the guidelines and a submission portal or email address on the Opinion page of your local paper’s website. If you are feeling very motivated and have a lot to say, consider extending your letter into an op-ed, which has a more generous 600-700 word limit.
Common elements of successful LTEs:
- Facts to build an argument
- An emotional hook to pull the reader in
- A call to action to those in power & our fellow citizens
Talking points to include
- Trump says he could keep shutdown going for “months or years.”
- Responsibility for reopening the government falls squarely on the United States Senate.
- In December, The Senate voted 100-0 to fund the government through February. Why won’t McConnell allow another vote to the floor? His stated reason is that Trump won’t sign it, but Trump breaks promises all the time.
- Senators Cruz and Cornyn need to realize:
- Many federal workers live paycheck-to-paycheck and are struggling to pay bills
- The shutdown negatively impacts the stock market
- Contractors generally don’t get back pay after a shutdown
- Why wasn’t this funding secured during the two years that GOP had complete control of government?
Once, again make your letter personal—how does the shutdown affect you or someone you know? Making it personal will drastically increase the likelihood that your letter is published.
Major Texas publications
Edited letters typically address a single idea and do not exceed 150 words.
San Antonio Express-News
No hard word limit, but “shorter is better.” More details here:
Max. 250 words. More details here (scroll to the bottom):
Dallas Morning News
Max. 200 words
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Max. 200 words
El Paso Times
Max. 225 words
Max. 300 words (very generous!)
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
No word limit stated
Max. 300 words
Lubbock Avalanche Journal
Max. 250-300 words