(Wait, what is bird-dogging?)
Bird-dogging. This funny word, originally drawn from hunting vocabulary, describes a serious and highly effective strategy in the activist toolbox. Bird-dogging involves tracking down politicians and asking them to do something you care about, in person, and in public. In contrast to other tactics, such as phone calls or protests, bird-doggers apply pressure directly to targets who have the power to give us what we want.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that bird-dogging saved the Affordable Care Act. In early 2017, a national network of thousands of both new and seasoned activists came together to help defeat the repeal of the Act. These intrepid people showed up at town hall meetings across the nation. They pleaded with Senator Murkowski in the Anchorage airport and they spoke to Senator Collins at July 4th parades in her home state of Maine. They put their bodies on the line in Washington throughout the summer until the repeal attempts stopped. Since then, bird-doggers have confronted Republican politicians over the tax scam bill of 2017 and the Kavanaugh nomination, and have pushed Democratic presidential candidates to endorse progressive positions.
This Wednesday, June 5th, Jennifer Flynn Walker, Director of Mobilization and Advocacy at Center for Popular Democracy will lead a free bird-dogging training for all who want to gain these critical skills. You’ll learn how to form a bird-dogging team, how to find politicians and candidates, how to ask your question in a way that will “win the room,” and how to document and share what you learned. Come to the GOBK meeting at Congregation Beth Elohim, 6:30-9pm, to gain these skills!