Saturday, July 9, 2016

What Is To Be Done
 figure out who your representatives are

As a rule I'm more the be the change you want to see in the world type, I hew to the little, graspable things—food, funny observations, personal relations. Anger and telegrams, not really my cup of tea. I don't listen to reply, I listen to understand like it's my job (it is, actually, my job). But, to everything there is a season. There's a time when you have to do more than be a good example of a separate peace. What, though. So I've been looking for something to do besides #whatdoesthis #reallydoanyway. Though I do think hashtags are effective in their way, it's just not my way what with language being incomplete and replete to me. Anyway for whatever reason I'm friends with a lot of librarians, and librarians are good at finding stuff; first A-Bomb (who coincidentally also figures in the aforementioned link) and then a few others chucked Campaign Zero into my feed, all this is great. I'm scrolling and scrolling though for what can I DO, like can I stuff envelopes? Do people even stuff envelopes anymore? And it seems to come down to VOTE, which I already do, and demand action from your representatives.

Everybody sees stuff through their own lenses, and I see a lot of stuff through a trainer's lens—e.g., there's things that people want, and those things are out of reach. Some of those things, let's say certain body fat percentages, are frankly unrealistic and can we please forget about them. Other things seem out of reach but actually they're right at hand, and it's a matter of sweeping aside the hoops that you thought you had to jump through. Like you don't have to lose ten pounds to be worthy of love, let me tell you: you're worthy right now. And then there are things that if you want them, you have to work toward them. And you can't get there from here, you can only get one step from here. And one step from here seems dumb, so you don't take that step. There doesn't seem dumb, you would step straight there if you could. If you're me, you definitely try to step straight there and fall on your face and lay in the gap quietly sobbing for a whole summer. I need a trainer, is what. What a trainer does is make taking one step not seem dumb, so you take that step. You see where this is going, right? Right, it's going there. Or at the very least, it's going away from here.

Not gonna lie, I don't demand anything from my representatives. It seems dumb. It seems like wall pushups. What's that going to do, that's not enough! After Orlando, though, there was an app for that: you could be directly connected to your US Senators and just say—this was when the gun control filibuster was going on—I support the filibuster. So I did that.

Demand more, I guess. Do you know what's dumber than demanding action from my representatives, that I don't totally know who my representatives are? I mean, I know about Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin because of the gun control filibuster. Though truthfully I know I know that Dick Durbin is my US Senator but I don't know that I know about Mark Kirk, I remember something else about him and I'm not sure what. Besides, the Campaign Zero site says that action has to happen at all levels of government and I know I don't know all my representatives down to the ground. This is the thing, Munt. This is the step to take away from here.

Those small steps, though. You actually have to do them. Sometimes that means you're not doing something else. Actually it always means that for me, being a singletasker. Sometimes those small steps, when you actually get around to doing them, they're ...bigger, closer up. I mean, I've been doing this for going on three hours now. The good part about that is, then they seem less dumb. Anyway I'm not allowing myself to be on Facebook until I know that I know all my representatives, which in the annals of small gestures can go right down there as one of the smallest. Though I think the point is, they don't keep annals of small gestures. Or yes they do, they're called "blogs." Haha.

Without further ado, my representatives are:

In the US Senate


Dick Durbin (D)

Mark Kirk (R)

Okay, these I knew. Also I remember what I was remembering about Mark Kirk, I remember when he was elected to the House in 2000 and then when he was elected to serve the rest of Obama's Senate term. Truthfully he's always had a great white hope/dead zone vibe to me and I've always vaguely feared him, but his record looks reasonably okay (plus, stroke buddies!) But, he is being challenged this year by Tammy Duckworth (D) and maybe I will not make a kneejerk decision about that. I mean I will more than likely vote for Tammy Duckworth, but I will think it over.

In the US House of Representatives

The US House of Representatives has a handy representative finder, though what's intereresting about this is that my address without ZIP+4 could be in one of two really different districts:
us house districts 5 and 7

5th District

5th District it is, though, for what it's worth in my mind the white district. Like, I'm in the same district as my brother in law. This strikes me as the closest I will ever be to living in a swing anything...

Mike Quigley (D)

...though Quigley's record seems sufficiently blue at first glance. This is one that I knew but I didn't know I knew. I remember voting for Mike Quigley. I really feel like Luis Gutierrez was my representative for a long time, and then something changed.

Okay now, state government. Which I know I don't really know. The Illinois Board of Elections has a not as pretty but still handy finder for your state senator and representative, as well as other elected officials, this is the mobile or "lite" version because the desktop version requires Silverlight and it tells me my browser is too old for the current version of that. Hello accessibility issues, I may not be in the 1% of Browserland but I'm definitely at least the 10%. It really strikes me that the most useful person in today's society is the person who can make info-gathering apps, like that BallotReady app was great.

In the Illinois General Assembly, you get a senator and a representative from two different districts:

In the Illinois Senate

5th District

illinois senate district 5

Patricia Van Pelt (D)

I really think the districts are the most interesting part about this and, imo, the general assembly districts could be made easier to find. Here is the finder for your Illinois senate district.

In the Illinois House

10th District

illinois house district 10

Not crazily different from my senate district.

Pamela Reeves-Harris (D)

Here is the finder for your Illinois representative district.

Last but not least:

On the Chicago City Council

Second Ward

Brian Hopkins

This one I knew, my landlord is old school door-to-door get out the vote and he brought this guy by. I didn't vote for him though, because he was with Rahm.

Here's the city's lookup for finding your ward and alderman.

So. One step, good job. Now you can take the next step. Right? You were going to demand action from your representatives, but you had to know who they were and now you know. (Not you. Me.)