STEP 1: WTF “constituent” nah you work for me!
I am new to all this political stuff and have been on a journey to talk to each of my elected officials. Why? Like many of you, the results of the 2016 elections left me in a state of shock. It had and still has me wondering, how could the results happen, what did I miss? how did it happen? I needed to understand everything, how the system works why it works and as a product person to question everything along the way.
After quitting my job (leaving why to the topic of a follow-up article) I decided to work full-time understanding everything I could in government. I am not trained in PoliSci or Law, just in geek tech product stuff. My journey began figuring out who presented me in Oakland California 94611.
I google it and sure enough, I got my federal reps — Barbara Lee, Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
STEP 2: Call for appointment
Once you reached someone, (Kamala still waiting for you to give me a ring), I notice they had their own lingo, ok, like every industry. But, what I found most interesting is that they assume you know their lingo instead of communicating in normal people speak.
Lets start with the word constituent as defined by Merriam Webster On-line dictionary “one who authorizes another to act as agent”.
I did not use this term, hard to roll off the tongue, instead I said I voted for you or I live in your area, which I was always corrected with oh you are a “constituent”. When I hear this word it feels cold, as if you don’t care about me, I am just a number. And when you correct me, it pisses me off. Then the same questions; What do you want to speak about? and How many people in your party?
What I expected to hear was… Jean great to hear from you, thank you for calling. Ms “insert name” loves to meet with the people she represents, lets see what we can do to make this happen. You know a little bit of respect for me, the people that put you in that office.
I am handed off to a scheduler, yes they have schedulers, to schedule an appointment. WTF a scheduler?