Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October lobby day

At eight o'clock in the morning, on October 7th, I joined a group from SOA Watch to stand vigil outside of the Capitol South metro station. The picture here was actually taken during a similar vigil in 2008. I posted this photograph because, during this vigil, I was at one end of the banner that is pictured here, and I didn't have hands for photography.
We stayed at the metro station for a little more than an hour. Some of the people who were heading to work or to lobby at Congressional offices took our brochures and postcards; others did not. I very much appreciate the time that those who stopped to speak with us so early in the day. I know that some of them probably haven't had their morning coffee yet. Not everyone is a cheerful morning person!
After standing vigil at the metro station and watching the hordes of people walk toward their destination, I went to the Rayburn House Office Building to do a little lobbying. In the course of about two hours, I visited fourteen offices, including the office of my own representative in Congress, Louise Slaughter. I talked mainly to receptionists as most of the foreign policy aides were either in meetings or on conference calls. I left information with the receptionists for the foreign policy aides on HR 2567, Rep. Jim McGovern's legislation to suspend operations of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly called the School of the Americas) and to investigate that military training school. You can find more information about the legislation at http://www.soaw.org.
Visiting Congressional offices is always a good experience. I got two copies of the U.S. Constitution, candies, peanuts, and lots of chances to use hand sanitizer. In fact, in the Rayburn House Office Building, there are hand sanitizer stations conveniently located in the hallways. The hand sanitizer stations work automatically, just by sensing that hands are ready for the fluid. When I left the Rayburn House Office Building, my hands felt very clean.
OK, well, it's good to clean hands to avoid those nasty flu viruses.
At the same time, let's clean up U.S. foreign policy. Call your Congressional representative's office today and ask him or her to co-sponsor HR 2567.

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