By Seth Jensen
Climate action and effective political engagement are often difficult.
For example, have you ever signed a petition and then thought to yourself, “I’d like to do more for that cause”? Have you ever been asked to send a message to an obscure politician – your state assembly representative, for instance – only to ask yourself, “who is my state assembly member and how the heck do I reach that person’s office???” Or maybe that’s not an issue, but you know that any legislative contact gains traction when the issue gets publicized in both social and traditional media.
But bolstering every legislative contact like that would require a personal political assistant. That assistant’s name is Resistbot, a text-to-initiate program. Because this program is a bot, it has the capacity to serve you AND millions of other Resistors around the world. Through use of this service, activist tasks that were once frustrating and time-consuming have become exciting, empowering, and efficient.
No need to download a new application nor learn a new skill. If you’ve ever sent a text message to a friend, then you have what it takes to use Resistbot to advocate for climate justice!
Step one of “hiring” this secretary is pretty simple: text the word “resist” to the phone number 50409. This initiates a response from Resistbot: a message inviting the first-time Resistor to enter their address. Once you submit that information, you’ve got a powerful office worker on your side, someone who can rapidly dispatch your opinions to your elected representatives all the way from the Presidential down to the city council level.
Let’s preview this process using an example. You, the Resistor, want to urge the Senate to introduce a piece of companion legislation to the Fossil Free Finance Act introduced in the House in September 2021. So you text the single word “resist” to 50409.
The bot will respond with a question. “Who would you like to contact?”
You will reply to the question by texting another single word command, “Senate.”
Next, you’ll be invited to write a message to one or both of your Senators. You can copy text in word-for-word from other messaging documents (or the petition linked above), or you can mix it up a bit by adding personal statements about why this issue matters to you. Once your message is composed, it just takes a few more commands for your Resistbot assistant to dispatch it.
You can send the same message to both your Senators simultaneously! No need to look up any contact information. Because you registered your address with Resistbot, your personal political assistant knows where to send the letter.
Sharing your point of view by way of a letter to your Senators is good. Customizing your communication is even better. Your Resistbot Secretary is versatile, allowing you to send a different written message to each Senator or to make a call to the office of your choice. You just have to send the command that will initiate the action you want. The full list of commands can be found at www.resist.bot.
But wait, there’s more!
I have great respect for the stamina of those who tweet for a cause. It is something for which I’ve never had the stomach. But since I hired my “assistant,” my advocacy has gone out into the world in the form of tweets. After sending a message to your target politician of choice, the bot will often ask permission to publish your letter to Twitter, and I’ve never found a reason to say no. The more attention to the cause, the better.
Resistbot can also be commanded to reword your letter to a politician so that it reads like a letter-to-the-editor. It will even take care of the submission process. I’ve had at least one letter published in the Capitol Times this way. It’s best to decide if you want to try to get your letter into the local paper before taking the step of texting Resist to 50409 and then compose accordingly.
So far we’ve covered the how-to of doing three actions (message to a Senator, publication to Twitter, and submission to a local paper as a letter-to-the-editor) and that is only scratching this bot’s shiny chrome surface. With a little practice and some browsing of the straightforward resist.bot website, this tool has doubled the impact of my messages to elected officials while halving the amount of time it takes to write and send them. Text Resist to 50409 and unlock the power of this bot for your organizing today!