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Help Dear Mr. President: Words of Resistance, Reason, and Peace

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, that's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Meade


IN YOUR WORDS

Why should I bother writing anything?
How do I write an effective letter?
How do I send it to the right people?
How do I submit my letter to this website?
What else can I do?

Why Are You Here?


Why should I bother writing anything?

"If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room." -Anita Koddick

REASON #1: BECAUSE SMALL ACTS ADD UP TO BIG THINGS

Too often, people feel that their one small contribution won't make any difference. On its own, maybe it won't. But if everyone refrains from doing something because they believe they can't help, then obviously nothing will get done. If, instead, everyone took the one small action they could take while encouraging others to do the same, then the result can be tremendous. Think of it like sort of like voting. The American people were not given a vote on the war issue, and neither was any other of the world's citizens. Cast your ballot anyway. Your one letter might not do much alone, but in conjunction with many others, it might accomplish something.

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality." -Dante

REASON #2: BECAUSE RESISTANCE FOR ITS OWN SAKE IS WORTHWHILE

Even if I were one hundred percent certain that my words would have no impact whatsoever, I would still write just for the sake of knowing that I resisted. When warmongering politicians pat themselves on the backs for the violence they've done, at least I'll be there to remind them that they did it without my support and appreciation; they did it with my disapproval and disgust. Silence allows the perpetrators of great wrongs to feel that everyone supports their actions. Because they want to believe this, they will believe it unless you tell them otherwise.

"When men talk about defense, they always claim to be protecting women and children, but they never ask the women and children what they think." -Pat Schroeder

REASON #3: BECAUSE IT'S EASY

Writing a letter is a far-cry from the end-all, be-all of activist actions. It's a relatively small gesture to make, and, in my opinion, simply a good starting point. But there are always good excuses (and real reasons) for people not to get involved in any other form of activism. Maybe you don't have the time, energy, or wherewithal to organize rallies, attend protests, or facilitate educational projects. Maybe you don't have the resources or the means to get very involved. But nearly everyone can write a letter. There are a few valid excuses for not doing it (for example, if you can't write or if you can't afford a stamp), but most of us don't have any good excuses. This is something that most of us can actually do. It doesn't take a lot of time, you don't have to find a babysitter while you do it, and the only resources you need are pen, paper, and stamps, or email. This is just too simple not to do.


How do I write an effective letter?

Some good basic tips:

  • Be brief. Get to the point.
  • Keep separate points separate. Don't jumble your ideas together.
  • Be as respectful as you can, even when you're angry. Name-calling will likely get you dismissed.
  • Include your real name and your home mailing address, especially when emailing.

The links below provide more useful information about writing effective letters. Most of them are geared towards a particular cause which may not be your own. Try to adapt the information for your own purposes.

Tips For Placing Letters and Op/ed Pieces
How to Communicate with Public Officials (Scroll to the bottom for "How to Write an Effective Letter".)
How to Write a Letter to the Editor (Other useful information here as well.)
Letter Tips (From Amnesty International.)
Writing to Elected Officials (Also more on letters to editors.)


How do I send it to the right people?

Decide who you want to send your letter to. Remember that you can send it to more than one person. These links can help you track down various government officials.

Find Your Officials (American)
Political Resources on the Net (Excellent resource.)
Email to World Leaders
Contact Information: Washington and the World
Permanent Missions to the U.N. (List of email addresses.)
U.S. Senators, Representatives, State Legislatures


How do I submit my letter to this website?

Make sure that your letter has been spell-checked and is ready for publication. Please provide the date that you sent your letter or, if you haven't sent it yet, the date that you wrote it. Make sure to specify who the intended recipient of your letter is (the U.S. President, the Secretary of State, the Prime Minister of Canada, etc.). Place your document in the body of your email and send it to csovrin@yahoo.com. Real names are preferred, but if you do not wish to use your real name, please provide a pseudonym to be used instead. Only letters for peace and non-violence written without oppressive language will be considered; e.g. letters with racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, or sexist language will not be published.


What else can I do?

There are a lot of groups throughout the world and within the U.S. who are protesting the war on terrorism. Many of these groups can be found in the links section. Visit their websites and contact them for more information. Also, learn about activism here.


 
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