Wednesday, December 07, 2005

 
Last night, the Nashville Chapter of TCASK took part in our first ever lobby training. At the NCADP Conference in October, one of the comments made was that abolitionists know all the moral arguments against capital punishment, but we don't know how to count.

In a way, that's true.

There's no doubt that the death penalty is a moral issue, and if we don't understand the arguments, both moral and "pragmatic," against it, we won't get anywhere. But in the end, we're talking about changing public policy and that policy is made by legislators. A majority of legislators. In other words, to abolish the death penalty in Tennessee, we need to count 50 (of 99) members of the the state House of Representatives and 17 (of 33) state Senators on our side.

And we're only going to do that by telling our elected representatives what we want them to do, and that means lobbying. It means going to those 67 members of the Tennessee General Assembly and convincing them. How do we do that?

See now, if you'd been at our training last night, you wouldn't have to ask that question, because you'd already know. Our training includes understanding what lobbying is, an explanation of the Tennessee legislative process, the universal rules of lobbying, and how to structure a visit to your legislator. It even includes practice sessions and lets participants know how to lobby even when they're not experts on an issue.

We hope to do a similar training with each and every TCASK chapter in the coming months and culminate with a great big Day of Justice on the Hill in late March, when we can all converge on the capital and tell our legislators in no uncertain terms that we want a moratorium on executions! So get on the phone to me and schedule a lobby training for your local group ASAP!

We can't win if we can't count!
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