After the March: An Open Letter to Congress
Dear Senators and Representatives,
I’m sure that you are aware that the recent Women’s March, held around the world, was among the largest unified gatherings in human history. Sadly, it is unlikely the administration was paying attention. Our new president seemed much more focused on measuring the size of his crowd than noticing the millions of women and their supporters speaking out for their rights and their values.
So now I turn to you, our elected representatives, to let you know that I am holding you accountable. Whether or not I vote for you or actively seek your defeat, when you next run for office will depend not on what the administration does, but on what you do. I am a values voter, and these are the values that will determine my future voting:
Women’s Health: I expect you to oppose any legislation that would restrict women’s access to safe abortion services or birth control. I expect you to oppose any Supreme Court (or other judicial) nominee who would interfere with the Constitutional protections outlined in the Roe v Wade decision. I expect you to support legislation that includes funding for women’s health, including birth control and abortion services, and oppose provisions that would deny such funding in government provided health insurance or medical coverage. In addition, I expect you to make funding decisions about health care and medical research based on real science and not political expedience.
Economic Justice: I expect you to support efforts to level the playing field and treat fairly women and minorities, including Fair Pay and Paid Leave legislation, raising the minimum wage, and other efforts to bring economic justice to all Americans. I expect you to maintain, and strengthen, the social safety net that supports America’s most vulnerable populations, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, and other safety net programs.
Equal & Civil Rights: I expect you to support protections for women, minorities, immigrants, and those who identify with as LGBTQ. I expect you to uphold civil rights, voting rights, and equal rights provisions in existing laws and oppose any efforts to diminish those rights. I expect you to expand upon America’s historic generosity in welcoming refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants, particularly children raised in the United States (the "dreamers"), and to establish a path to citizenship for undocumented residents who deserve to stay in America.
Public Education: I expect you to support and strengthen our critical public education infrastructure, without siphoning funds away for private education. I expect you to oppose efforts to politicize educational curricula or text books by misrepresenting science or history.
Environment: I expect you to work for a safe, clean, healthy environment, supporting regulations to protect our water, air, and land, so that future generations can enjoy the robust resources of our planet. I expect you to oppose efforts to diminish environmental protections, deny scientific research, or allow private enterprise to profit while polluting and damaging our natural resources.
Global Engagement: As the greatest, strongest, and wealthiest nation in the world, I believe we have an obligation to be engaged on the international stage. That means support of the United Nations, upholding international treaties, and participation in global efforts to combat diseases, global poverty, and global inequity. I expect you to support, and fund, such efforts, and oppose the growing isolationism and nationalism that has characterized much of the public debate in recent months.
And an additional message for state legislators: On all of these matters, if the federal government takes actions that undermine these values, I expect you to support, or oppose, as necessary state efforts that address these matters locally. If Congress, or the Administration, undermines these American values, I nonetheless expect you to uphold them to the degree possible within our state.
If you work to uphold these values, you will have my support. If you work to undermine these values, I will seek others to represent me in the halls of power. Together, we can keep America great.
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman
If you want to send your own message to your representatives in Congress or your State Legislature, here's the contact information:
The Honorable [Name]
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable [Name]
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
You may phone the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the office you request.