lected officials might not always feel accessible to their constituents. But making coordinated calls to flood a representative’s phone line is one way for voters in the United States to make their thoughts known — about various causes.
Ezra Levin is deeply familiar with the process of calling up a politician. Levin is the co-founder of Indivisible, a progressive organization created in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, and said since 2016, he’s seen a lot of people who weren’t previously engaged in political activity decide to change that.
“They didn’t imagine that somebody like Donald Trump could get close to the presidency, let alone build a Republican trifecta with it,” Levin told KQED. “And so what we witnessed was a lot of folks learning how Congress works and how to effectively make their voice heard.”
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Levin says that he sees this kind of “engagement with Congress coming in spikes” when it comes to constituents feeling compelled to contact their elected representatives — for example, “in moments where there is a real threat of a government shutdown, or when Trump issues the Muslim ban back in 2017, or when abortion rights are being threatened as they as they are right now, or when the Affordable Care Act is possibly going to be repealed.” In those cases, Levin says his organization then sees “surge[s] of activity, because folks are worried that Congress is going to do something, or are frustrated that Congress or the president isn’t taking action.”
‘The phone doesn’t stop ringing’
One of those spikes in political activity and direct action has come in the last several weeks in the United States.
A month ago, Hamas launched an attack into Israel from Gaza that killed at least 1,200 people, taking approximately 240 hostages, according to the Israeli government. In the weeks since, Israel’s attacks on Gaza have killed more than 11,000 people, many of whom were children, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza (a source the United Nations has deemed credible in the past.) Thousands more Palestinians have been wounded during Israeli air raids, with around 1.4 million internally displaced and a third of Gaza City damaged. (Read more about the decades-long background from NPR in their ‘Middle East crisis — explained’ series.)