This morning, one of my former students posted on Facebook about House bill 2692, dubbed the "Save America's Pollinators Act." The link she posted sent me to the Center for Food Safety, whereupon I filled out a little form that sent a letter to Representative Paul Broun asking that he support this act. I'm not sure why Paul Broun was sent the letter; I'm assuming it's because he was first alphabetically for our state. However, I have a few issues with this:
A: The safety and security of our food supply is important to me. I understand that honey bees are not native pollinators and so if we wanted to go back to native foods for our country, we MIGHT be okay if we were down with eating beans, corn, squash, and assorted berries, fruits, and nuts. However, the chemicals that this bill targets are most likely responsible for the death of other pollinators, including bumble bees, which are native and...y'all...we can't have FOOD without pollinators. Ask yourself how many honeybees you've seen this year. Yeah. Might want to consider supporting this bill.
B. Paul Broun is not technically my representative in the House of Representatives. He is, technically, about as far away from me politically and ideologically as possible. Honestly, I can't think of many politicians who are farther away from me politically and ideologically. Sarah Palin? Vladimir Putin? This guy is on the House Committee of Science, Space, and Technology and believes that some fairly widely accepted scientific principals are, and I'm quoting here, "...straight from the Pit of Hell." Ahem.
C. My representative is Austin Scott, and it would seem that contacting him would be the smart thing to do.
The Center for Food Safety has a place where you can add emails to which you send the info about HR 2692, so I betoodled over to Rep. Scott's website to get the info. First, I had to google the info about where to find his site. Then I had to actually go to his site, where I hoped I would find the info. But...no. Instead, I found a little sign up thingy where I could get alerts from Rep. Scott. Now, I'm not trying to be ugly, but I've already gotten snail mail alerts from Rep. Scott, most which are...um...fairly anti-my president and the Democrats in Congress (and, thus, fairly anti-me.) So I wasn't really down with getting alerts from him in my email box which would just be more of the same. BUT, Rep. Scott is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture ("foreign" being misspelled on his website...sigh) AND he's my technical representative in the House, so I decided that if it meant I could get his email address this way, that I would go ahead and sign up for email alerts. So I did.
At that point in time, I figured I'd get an email saying, "Thanks for contacting me, here's the stuff the president's doing that's awful, blah blah blah." No. So then I searched around on his site for some info about how to contact him via email (to be fair, his phone number and snail mail address are posted on the site, but I just needed his email, thanks) and found ANOTHER little thingy where I entered my name and zip code to make sure I was in his district. But because I'm in such a HUMONGOUS district, I needed the four-digit code that designated which part of the district I was in. BUT, I didn't know that code. BUT, it was okay because there was a link to a place where I could find the code. Yay! BUT...the file was not found, y'all.
Argh. So then I went over to Rep. Austin Scott's Facebook page, because maybe there was some info there. No. There WAS, however, a big "Anti-Obamacare/anti big business" meme. Which, you know, awesome. But I liked the page, anyway, hoping that it would allow me, somehow to see an email address or be able to sent Rep. Scott a message, but no dice. Bleah.
Feeling a twee twitchy, I decided to find out what kind of "big business" Rep. Scott is against, because that's the kind of thing, apparently, that Tea Party Republicans are pushing--that the president is snuggled up with big business and is awful because of it. It's obvious that Americans are sick of big businesses controlling so much of our country, so the TPRs are exploiting this. I don't blame them.
There's only one problem with this for Rep. Scott, as far as I can see. In April, he was part of a bipartisan group of representatives who cosponsored the Pest Free Food Supply Act, which would force the EPA to withdraw a two-year-old order regarding sulphuryl flouride as a fumigant. (This is how slowly your giant, lumbering government works, y'all.) The PFFS Act is in committee right now (of course), but it might interest you to know that it is supported by Dow AgroSciences, which is the maker of, you guessed it, Imiden, which is a neonicotinoid insecticide, which is the type of insecticide targeted by the Save America's Pollinators Act. Dow, which owns Dow AgroSciences, made 57 billion dollars in 2012 and employs about 53,000 people. Tangled web, much?
To be fair, very few of the representatives from Georgia share their email addresses with the general public. And all of them have the enter your zip code and four number extension link which DOESN'T work, including a message that says that they won't be able to contact you and you won't be able to contact them unless you are from their district and/or know the four digit code.
Y'all, seriously, are you fricking kidding me? I hire somebody (or, you know, somebody is hired against my wishes) to represent me in Congress and I can't get in touch with this person because I don't know a few numbers? I have to go to nine million websites in order to find out the basic contact information, only to find that I don't have the basic info or the info is wrong or unfindable and that the folks that represent a district no more than fifty miles away from me just can't be in contact with me, because they apparently are too busy dealing with their own constituents, but honestly I don't believe that because it's nearly impossible to find the information in the first place.
Pant! Pant! Gasp! Wheeze!
Anyway, I'll be calling Rep. Scott's offices right quick, and sending a real letter because this important to me. I encourage you to figure out how in the world you can contact whoever it is that represents you in the federal government and do the same. If you need any moral support in what I am pretty sure will be a frustrating venture.
Here's the link to the Center for Food Safety's site about the Save America's Pollinators Act: http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/1881/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11547 and here's the link where you're supposed to be able to find your representative: https://house.gov/representatives/
May the Park Ranger be with you as you try to save the world (or at least our food supply).
EDITED TO ADD:
I found the number to Rep. Scott's Warner Robins' office and spoke to a very nice man named Earl who put me through to Rep. Scott's DC office. I told the young man who answered there that I'd like Rep. Scott to support the Save America's Pollinators Act and also reported the issue with the district zip code number thingy. He, in turn, gave me an email address through which I could contact Rep. Scott about the act. However, when I requested that I share the address on Facebook so any of y'all who want to contact Rep. Scott about this can do so, I was told that the best way for you to do this was, instead, to go to the website and fill in the information so you can get his email. When I pointed out that this function was broken, the poor guy laughed and said, "Yeah, but that's the best way..." and then he mumbled something about getting the problem fixed. TRANSPARENCY IN TEH GOVERNMENT, Y'ALL.