What’s the best way to support the Second Amendment when both the Oval Office and our legislature are currently occupied by anti-gun politicos? Although it may feel like our representatives aren’t paying attention to what we NRA Women want, the situation isn’t hopeless. When the chips are down and the odds are stacked, it’s time to go “Grandmacore” in our 2A advocacy.
What’s “Grandmacore”? Well, it may have started as an aesthetic home-décor style on the Internet, but the social-media #GrandmaCore tag missed something very important, and that is this: Grandma doesn’t just have a rockin’ collection of appliqued sweatshirts and crocheted toilet-paper cozies. Grandma knows how to get things done. So what would Grandma do in this situation?
Why, she’d write a letter to her congressman or representative (or both). Yes, a letter. An actual physical document produced on dead-tree media.
She wouldn’t bother signing an Internet petition. That may be because she’s still uploading pictures of her grandchildren, and it’s going to take a while on this dial-up she’s using, but the truth of the matter is this: Politicos know that sharing memes and clicking “no” on a petition requires zero effort. That means that they don’t really have reason to believe that you actually care all that much.
Letters, on the other hand, require effort and time, even if it’s only a few minutes’ worth of both. Letters are personal; they force the reader to see the writer as a human being, not a number. So what kind of letter would Grandma write?
For our Millennial readers, this is what one looks like. The good news is that you don't have to handwrite them anymore ... "
For starters, a very polite letter, because Grandma knows that you will catch more flies with honey than vinegar. It’s certainly OK to let your congressperson know that you’re upset about their position on the Second Amendment, but you should always do so politely. People are always more open to your message when it’s delivered from a place of respect.
Grandma knows that it’s important to be specific about what you aren’t happy about, and what you would like to be done about it. “Please don’t vote against my gun rights” is a good place to start, but you should specify the legislation in question and why you think it’s good (or bad). Avoid insulting or accusatory statements, and lumping this specific representative in with everyone else who shares a political affiliation. It might feel good to write, but a reader will stop paying attention the moment they see it. The phrase “you people always” would never pass Grandma’s lips, so don’t let it pass your fingertips.
If you’re not very confident about writing letters, that’s OK. Grandma knows not everybody’s born knowing how to do it. It’s a skill that you can build with time, or you can use templates. NRA-ILA has dozens of sample letters that you can use verbatim if you like, or that you can use as a jumping-off point to add your own thoughts. Here’s the link. Just put in your state and a pop-up will appear with letter text in it. You can send it off electronically right from that page if you like. But if you’re going Grandmacore, copy and paste the text into your own document, print it out, sign it by hand, then mail it via USPS with a real-life, old-school stamp on it.
That said, Grandma is known to say, “Use your words.” You don’t have to be a great writer to get your point across, and Grandma knows that the personal is the political (and vice-versa). In order to change hearts and minds, it’s always best to connect on a personal level. There are many ways to do that. You can relate a personal story that supports your position, or you can point to something in the news that does the same.
Finally, Grandma knows that what our representatives desire above all else is to be re-elected. They know that the people who are paying attention enough to want to write a letter, let alone invested enough to actually do it? Those people are the same people who show up at the polls when they open, COVID-19 or no, and who pull the lever for representatives who listen.
Now come get some of these fresh chocolate chip cookies! Grandma says it won't ruin your dinner as long as you don't tell Mom.