A few weeks ago, Whigsboy left a comment on one of my Food and Farm Bill posts that expressed some frustration: "I have tried to follow this bill, but I am thoroughly confused, and it’s extremely frustrating because I’d like to contact my legislator and tell him what I’d like to see him support, but at this point I don’t know what I’d even say." The comment is something I should have replied to quickly, but I was affected by Food and Farm Bill overload around the day of the House vote, and I'm just getting over it. Fortunately, the Senate won't be taking up the legislation immediately.
Whigsboy's sentiment is probably not uncommon. The Food and Farm Bill is tremendously complex (there's an entire book about it, Dan Imhoff's "Food Fight"), few people fully understand all of its parts and programs (I am certainly not one of those people), and those who say they do often disagree about where the problems lie (some people say subsidies are the symptom, not the cause, of the problems in U.S. agriculture). Nonetheless, it is possible to boil the issues down to a few basic principles that can be the focus of a letter, call, or fax to your members of Congress. Because we don't tell you what to think here at the Ethicurean, I'm posing these as questions, somewhat rhetorical as you can probably guess how I would answer them:
When writing to your senators, it can also be helpful to ask them to co-sponsor bills that contain true reform or progressive initiatives, like Sen. Menendez's Healthy Farms, Foods, and Fuels Act of 2007 (S. 919) or Sen. Lugar's Farm Risk Management Act for the 21st Century (S. 1422).
It's not too late to contact your senators. With the bill due to be considered in the next few weeks, a phone call or fax is best (letters might be held up by security scanning). You can find sample letters at Om Organics, California Coalition for Food and Farming, and Bread for the World. For insight into what happens after your communication is received in a congressional office -- and how to have the most impact -- consult this post at Firedoglake.