Many years ago I lived in Woodside, in Silicon Valley. It's a very nice neighborhood. I lived large then. I'm still doing pretty well. No complaints.
I remember a march through my home town in Silicon Valley by the employees of one of my neighbors. I was filling up my tank at the town gas station when they stopped and sang a song, to me, and me alone. They offered a leaflet, which I took. It was holiday season, and the owner of the hotel they worked at had laid off a lot of people, the people who were serenading. They weren't happy about what happened. So they exercised their right to go for a walk. Through his neighborhood, which was also my neighborhood.
It's still our right to do that. And we're not stupid, we can see through the crazy bullshit in Washington. The shutdown is just another excuse for the super-rich to take even more money from people who don't have enough. They should be ashamed, but these people for whatever reason appear not to feel shame. But they do care what their neighbors think of them, and that's something people can influence, because some of them have hearts and will understand, if they're approached with respect.
I'm not suggesting an Occupy-style movement, but I do think it's time for polite, nicely dressed, cheerful people who care, to go into the home neighborhoods of the rich and influential people, and have conversations. Especially in districts that elect Tea Party representatives.
Start with the assumption that these are good people who, for whatever reason, live with blinders on. Explain how shoveling even more money into the bank accounts of the super-rich is not a great idea. With a smile.
I wouldn't waste time on people who want to argue. But do invest time in people who just may not know that people are hurting, and how the current mess is likely to create more hurt, not less. Make it real, even if the people who run TV won't.
PS: Most people who vote Republican are regular decent people. Don't confuse them with the people you see on TV. I lived in northeast Florida for a while. The people there were almost all Republicans. They think I'm wrong and I think they're wrong. But you could have a cocktail and talk about sports or the weather, and it's go fine. I think they're probably pretty freaked out about what's going in Washington, just like we are in NY and California.