Nevertheless We Recommend: 5 Calls

It’s been that kind of week again, and it’s only Wednesday. The kind of week where you’re already on Twitter because of some dumb op-ed David Brooks wrote when it turns out that Donald Trump Jr. scooped the New York Times by tweeting images of the emails where makes his “collude with Russia” appointments. And then it’s lunchtime before you remember that the Senate is trying to take health care away from 22 million people and you haven’t called your Senators yet and what are you even going to ask them, anyway?

It’s times like these that I am forever grateful for the 5 Calls app and website. You simply give them your zip code and then suddenly you have a list of issues, who to call, and a script. The process goes a little something like this. Once you open the app, you see a list of things the government is currently working on. Pick the one that’s bothering you today, read through the description, and then once you get to the bottom, pick a representative to call. Depending on whether it is a Senate or House bill, and where the bill is in the process, the list of people to call could be your Senators, Representative, or all three.

For some issues, the app will provide the phone number to the committee in which the bill is currently being debated, or the federal department or agency that is in charge of the issue. For example “Advocate for a Bipartisan Effort to Repair the ACA” gives me the option to call Senators Booker and Menendez from New Jersey, but “Revoke Jared Kushner’s Security Clearance” gives me the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. And three other committees because, honestly, even the 5 Calls app has to admit that in times like these, we’re mostly just throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks…

When you’re ready to make the call, you simply hit the phone number, put your phone on speaker, and then go back to the app to read your script. Once you’re done, you hit the button to indicate whether you got through to the office, left a voicemail, got a busy signal, or couldn’t get through. 5 Calls tracks your impact, keeping track of who you’ve reached and how many times, and once you’re finished on an issue, you get a little green check mark next to it which is really satisfying if you have a to-do list fixation, like me.

This app is particularly useful if you have phone anxiety or if you’re not used to calling your members of Congress. Once you get used to the process, you can adapt it a bit. If you want to customize your speech with a personal story, that is always encouraged. And sometimes, if I just want to call Cory Booker’s office once, I go through each option and make a list of the issues. Just remember that it’s the jobs of these people to take your comments, and so if you just pick one or two calls to make a day, if you’re just not ready yet for the recommended 5, you can still make a difference.

During weeks like today, when it feels like fifteen different kinds of nonsense are coming at you from all directions, when you feel like you’re going to throw up because on top of everything else Betsy DeVos is about to meet with Men’s Rights groups to discuss regulations surrounding the campus rape epidemic in this country, it’s nice to have someone give you a list, remind you what we’re fighting for and that you too can make a difference. Your voice matters, and with this app, someone is going to hear it.

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