How to Adopt a Member of Congress
To adopt someone is to form a lasting relationship with a real person. Think about the people who hold the offices of Representative or Senator for your district or state. In addition to their political associations, each one has a life story in progress. The experiences they have gathered inform their views on many issues. Likewise, experiences they have never had leave them open to prejudice or new learnings.
First step: Choose one member -- either your Representative or one of your Senators. Think about that person for a while. Find out as much as you can about his or her political leanings, history, philosophy, positions.
Second step: Choose one issue. In our case, we will focus on Sri Lanka, but feel free to focus on particular subtopics such as development aid, an end to war, education, or your unique interests.
Third step: Develop some expertise. Cut out newspaper articles; watch the editorials; find some basic background materials.
Fourth step: Begin writing to "your" member. Your letters will attempt to create and sustain a dialogue with the member on your topic.
Fifth step: Use new techniques to deliver your message. When you feel comfortable, move on to other ways of engaging your congressman: telephone calls, asking questions at public meetings, visits to the local office and Washington, fundraisers, volunteering for a campaign, inviting the congressman to your events, etc.