Calling a political representative or some other influential person about a cause can not only be a good social exercise but a way to make a difference. You don’t necessarily have to be persuasive. Just voice what you believe in. Although you may not care about everything in the world around you, most likely you care about something to champion. So pick an issue you care about to call about.
Since I’m an “animal person”, I’ve signed up for and get emails daily about issues related to animal welfare. So a couple of days ago I got emails on not one but two things to call about. In the past, whenever it was suggested to make a phone call, I’d disregard that, though I’d sign the petition.
But this time I felt ready–or should I say ready or not, here I come! I would make phone calls this time, calling for a cause.
Stop That! Voicing Disapproval
The first thing I made a phone call against was about mice having their abdomens cut open and deliberately causing sepsis. This is not only a useless experiment (because sepsis in mice versus sepsis in humans is different and therefore whatever findings wouldn’t be helpful to humans), but it costs taxpayers a lot of money. So basically it’s a lose-lose experiment–and needless to say, it’s cruel to any mouse forced to endure it.
So I was informed via email that the location of this cruel and needless experiment is at University of Pittsburgh and the person to call is the Chancellor of this university, Patrick Gallagher. From the email, it sounds like he would have the clout to end it right away.
The first thing I did was write a script.
A: Hi, may I speak to Chancellor Peter Gallagher?
B: This is Chancellor Gallagher.
A: Hello, my name is Jean. I live in California. I learned from an animal welfare organization about a useless, taxpayer-funded experiment. I heard that mice get their abdomen cut open, purposely causing sepsis. As you know, this experiment does no good because sepsis in mice and humans are different. So I’m hoping that you will put an end to this.
I read it aloud once before making the phone call.
As it turned out, I got Chancellor Gallagher’s voice mail, which was actually what I was expecting, since I called around 4 pm from where I’m at, making it around 7 pm in Pittsburgh. I’m pretty sure my voice sounded awkward and maybe even strange, but I didn’t care. I gave myself a pat on the back for making the phone call.
Note: Looking back, I think it may have come across sort of strange too in that I was calling about the welfare of mice in laboratory when there was something else that was really big going on and that was all over the news. I’m referring to Hurricane Harvey. As I said, I’m an “animal person.” Although I don’t favor animals over people, I also don’t favor people over animals.
I’m For That! Voicing Approval
The next issue I would call about–this time in favor for–is Assembly Bill (A.B.) 485, which is the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act. This is about banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits from high-volume commercial breeding facilities and requires pet shops throughout California to source their animals from shelters and rescues.
The person to call was California Senator Nancy Skinner.
I wrote another script.
A: Hi, may I speak to Senator Nancy Skinner?
B: Yes, this is Senator Skinner.
A: Hello, my name is Jean. I’m calling about Assembly Bill (A.B.) 485, Pet Rescue and Adoption Act. I urge you to support it.
I rehearsed by reading the script aloud once. I don’t have a mellifluous voice, even when I’m reading aloud to myself. No matter. I just wanted to get on with it.
This time someone answered the phone, but it wasn’t the Senator, which was what I expected. Actually, I didn’t hear who answered at first, since for a moment my ear was away from the telephone receiver. Oops!
“I’m sorry, my ear was away from the phone. May I speak to Senator Nancy Skinner?”
The person on the line sounded a bit irritated or maybe just no-nonsense. She identified herself as Frances, Senator Skinner’s assistant, or at least that’s what I think she said. Indeed, sometimes I can be so preoccupied with myself that I’m not paying attention.
I said how I was calling to express my support of Assembly Bill (A.B.) 485, Pet Rescue and Adoption Act. I said it in a fumbling sort of way. And I didn’t use the script at all. I still believe a script can be a good guide when making phone calls, though.
So Frances asked me my name. So I gave her my name as well as address. She said she would relay my message about being in support of Assembly Bill (A.B.) 485 to Senator Skinner. Her tone of voice to me sounded a bit irritated, or this could just be my interpretation due to social anxiety. But then again, my tone of voice sounded sort of weird. But I didn’t care. I was happy that I did what I intended to do, which was make this phone call.
My guess is that the more people who call to show support of a bill, the more likely it is that a senator will support it or cause her to reconsider if she doesn’t support it? Given that Senator Skinner is a Democrat, it seems Pet Rescue and Adoption Act is likely a bill she would support anyway. (I’m apolitical myself, but it seems Democrats are generally in favor of “compassionate” issues as opposed to supporting blind commercial greed.)
Though I’m pretty sure I sounded awkward or even weird on the phone with these two phone calls and–who knows?–maybe I was even annoying, who the hell cares? I wasn’t harming anyone, and I was just trying to voice what I believe in.
In the future, I’ll be making more phone calls for the sake of causes. I look forward to being confident instead of awkward. With practice, I’ll be getting over my telephone anxiety while becoming somewhat active in the community. I can’t wait to be a “smooth operator” on the phone.