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Monday, November 29, 2021

Opinion

Anger at government seems to incentivize drunk calling your ex-girlfriend, or your Congressional representative


David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

It’s over: as of Thursday morning, the members of Congress have put their differences aside and decided on a way to end the 16-day government shutdown — and not a moment too soon, if you ask me. However, even though the shutdown is over, there are still consequences, especially on a national scale. One example of a repercussion is the sizable amount of drunken messages that Congress will be able to listen to.

Created by Revolution Messaging, a company that helped during the Obama campaign, Drunk Dial Congress was a site created to allow angry Americans to rant and rave at members of Congress. The way the site works is that  any generic angry American would go to drunkdialcongress.org and enter their telephone number into the box provided. Next, a 1-800 number would return the angry American’s call and connect them with a member of Congress or a member of Congress’s office. The angry American is encouraged to get wasted and tell the government where they can stick it.

Now that the shutdown is over, Drunk Dial Congress has quickly adapted to become a more general forum for venting frustration towards the government. Before the shutdown ended, over 100,000 calls were made by frustrated Americans who wanted their slurred voices heard. On drunkdialcongress.org, the creators of the site even give the public recipes for alcoholic beverages to give callers a little bit of liquid courage. In addition, the site also gives the public a few talking points to help get the ranting, cursing, angry ball rolling. The list of drinks has now grown longer to include such creative names as “The Debt Ceiling,” “The Legislative-ade,” “The Poor Intern” and “The Bad Representative.”

During the shutdown, all of the talking points on the website were centered on the government shutdown. Now that it’s over, talking points include things like “Pass reasonable immigration reform already,” “Stop ignoring our gay friends; they want to get married and have a family just like us” and then my two personal favorites, “I’m in crisis over the student debt crisis” and “We need geniuses to stay competitive but no one can afford college.”

While these are all valid points that need to be discussed with Congress, I don’t think that Congress is going to take a bunch of lightweight Americans seriously. Going to this site and cursing out Congress is probably a good outlet for Americans who need to get out their frustration concerning the way our country is run, but users of the site also should not be deluded into believing that Congress will take their drunken admittances into account.

“I think it can backfire,” said liberal studies sophomore Jocelin Portillo. “You’re not in the best state when you’re drunk, so you might say something that shouldn’t be said. I don’t think their complaints will be taken seriously because they’re drunk.”

Drunkenness seems to be the main selling point of this site, and the creators of Drunk Dial Congress definitely knew that drinking was a good incentive for of-drinking-age Americans to become involved in the government.

Some students can see a bright side of this website. Political science junior Tihomir Vojnovic sees it as a chance to throw inhibitions to the wind.

“Everybody wants to tell Congress how they feel,” Vojnovic said. “Telling Congress how they feel while being drunk isn’t a bad idea because you can just blame it on being drunk.”

I’m sure that everyone who calls this number would love to blame it on the alcohol, but the subject matters that are being brought up affect the entire nation, and I don’t believe that these subjects should be argued in a drunken state. However, even though this website is geared towards getting callers drunk before being connected with Congress, there is no reason why citizens shouldn’t call Congress sober.

Chemical engineering sophomore Michael Clardy agrees that this website is pushing citizens to say what they should be able to say regardless.

“It’s kind of sad that it has to be incentivized to do something that should be second nature as a citizen,” Clardy said. “If they have fun with it, they have fun with it, but people need to be able to do it sober as well.”

While I do not agree with the grounds behind this website, I do believe that it has a chance of being effective — especially with of-legal-drinking-age adults. Young adults love to use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to voice their opinions to the world, and this is very similar to that while being more direct to the thing that’s making you mad. If this is what it takes to make young adults interested in politics, I’m curious as to what drinking games will surface in the future.

Opinion columnist Kelly Shafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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