Here are sample letters to the editor you can adapt, followed by talking points that Rethink Media says reporters and editors respond well to.

Sample letters

To the editor:

Important decisions are being made in Congress, giving more money to the military and taking away money from our states and communities. At the same time, Philadelphia City Council and School District are struggling with massive budget deficits. Catastrophe is right around the corner.

(See the rest of this open letter to Philadelphia’s congresspeople by clicking here.)

To the editor:

….I don’t think most Americans agree with [the GOP's] extreme program, which will hurt people, state and local governments, and the economy. A new poll has found that a majority of Americans, even Republicans, when informed about the choices, opted for Pentagon cuts, especially for less spending in Afghanistan and on nuclear weapons.

Congress is making decisions. They need to hear from us.

(See the rest of this letter in the Cleveland Sun Times by clicking here.)

To the editor:

I’m appalled by the vote this week in the House of Representatives on the budget reconciliation bill.  The House voted to cut spending on our social safety net which protects the most vulnerable people in our country, while giving the Pentagon even more money than they asked for.

This is especially shocking in light of a recent survey by the Center for Public Integrity, showing that US people overwhelmingly want large cuts in military spending.  (See http://bit.ly/LsPLvQ )  Ninety (90) percent of Democrats and 67% of Republicans would cut the Pentagon budget, on average, over $100 billion a year.  Eighty-five percent, overall, also stated they want a speedy end to the war in Afghanistan.

Congress needs to listen to the people and cut military spending, not food stamps and Medicare.  The Pentagon budget devours nearly 50% of government’s discretionary spending and now it is eating into vital safety net programs that are keeping Americans afloat during this endless recession.  We need Representative Elijah Cummings and other Maryland representatives to take the lead in this effort.

Barbara Larcom, Baltimore, MD

To the editor:

Mitt Romney made the choice plain: “shrink our military … to pay for our social needs” or “commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world.”

What may not be obvious to those hesitant to shrink the military is how much Romney’s vision really cost. (See the rest of this letter in the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.) 

To the editor:

The recession is three years old. Unemployment is still high and one of seven Americans — 46 million people — is on food stamps. Half of those people are children. But the leaders of the House of Representatives want to cut food stamp funding to pay for excessive military spending.

Senator _____ has a moral choice to make. Is he going to make long-overdue cuts in useless nuclear weapons, fighter planes that will never see combat, and the Afghanistan war, while protecting veterans’ programs and medical care? Or is he going to sacrifice safety net programs for families on the edge — and eventually, programs that keep our city going — on the altar of war and corporate profits?

Here are messages you can use, thanks to Rethink Media:

1) This budget slashes social programs while giving the Pentagon a blank check. That is irresponsible and short-sighted. The Pentagon budget takes up more than half of all discretionary spending, and much of that spending is unnecessary.

2) The Pentagon budget must be driven by a coherent defense strategy. But the GOP budget reflects intense lobbying by arms contractors. We need a budget that is based on real-world challenges and real security priorities.

3) Americans agree that now is time for tough decisions when it comes to our national budget. Cuts in the huge Pentagon budget have to be on the table.

4) Our weak economy is the greatest threat to our national security.  We need to make these tough decisions to ensure America’s economic AND national security.



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