Once again this week there is much to celebrate and congratulate yourselves for in fighting against the co-opting of our country by Donald and his profiteering administration.
How Our Voices Are Making a Difference
- The house of cards is starting to fall, as news reports reveal the FBI had Donald’s campaign adviser Carter Page under surveillance during the 2016 campaign under suspicion of being an agent of a foreign power and knowingly engaged in intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow.
- As Donald one by one disavows his allies as quickly as their incriminating ties to Russia are revealed (Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, et al) Steve Bannon is losing influence and status in the White House faster than cockroaches scattering from the light. You’ve helped keep the heat on Donald and co. regarding his white-nationalist top adviser, and Bannon was removed last week from his (entirely inappropriate) post to the National Security Council. Infighting with Jared Kushner yielded a sharp rebuke and later a startlingly tepid defense from Donald.
- Three organizations are suing the White House to gain access to the visitor logs, under the Freedom of Information Act, after the White House squirreled them away from public view–they are also requesting to know who meets with the president at Mar-A-Lago and Trump Tower.
- SC Congressman Joe Wilson was faced with his own infamous words to Barack Obama–“You lie!”–by his constituents at a town hall for his attacks on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Our progress comes in slow, incremental steps–but it’s blisteringly clear that keeping the heat on Donald and his far-right GOP defenders is curbing their most egregious actions and helping keep them in check. Don’t let up! Keep defending our nation and our democracy by letting your MoCs know that you are watching them, and holding them to the standards of our nation and Constitutional government.
Resistbot is a great tool for doing this easily, especially for those with limited time or bandwidth to make direct phone calls to MoCs. Text “RESIST” to 50409. They will find your elected officials and turn your texts into daily letters to Congress that are proven to be read and have an impact. All it takes is a few sentences from a real-life voter to get their attention. (And if you are inclined, throw them a few bucks–like so many of the wonderful resistance tools that sprouted up after the election, this is run entirely by volunteers and donations.)
Anything you do, even just donating, even just adding your voice to a petition, makes a difference. (But remember, calling, writing, and visiting your MoCs is the single most impactful thing you can do.)
Another wonderful new tool makes this easier than ever: Dial Congress is an extension for Google Chrome that turns news stories, Wikipedia pages, and Google searches into a congressional phone directory. From Slate, “If you’re reading an article that mentions any member of the House or Senate, the browser extension will highlight that person’s name. If you mouse over, say, a reference to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the phone number for her Washington office pops up on your screen.”
Now here are a few specific actions you can take this week to fight for our country back:
Our Congresspeople are on recess all this week (and last)–recess intended for them to touch base with their constituents. Yet most GOP MoCs are refusing to do so, eschewing actual live town halls in favor of “telephone town halls” where questions can be carefully curated and they control the message, or paid events for only their supporters and donors, or worst of all, no meetings with constituents at all. Our MoCs are supposed to represent all of us–even those who did not vote for them–and they can’t keep hiding out from all but those who support or fund them.
Call (or fax/text) your MoCs while they’re home and ask for them to hold a public, live town hall for their constituents. You can say:
I’m aware that [Senator/Rep X] is back in his home district during Congressional recess–which is intended to allow elected officials to meet with their constituents. However, I see no plans for [X] to do so. I’m calling to ask that he/she do as they are supposed to and engage with their constituents in a public, live town hall. Can you tell me when he/she plans to hold one this week?
And if you have one of the rare MoCs who is still holding town halls, go! You can also attend one of the events many local activist groups are putting on across the country in areas where the MoCs refuse to meet with constituents–holding town halls without the elected official where constituents ask their questions to a picture of the missing MoC, or sometimes a literal “empty suit.” This draws national media attention to the MoC’s dereliction of duty in engaging with his/her constituency, and allows voters to have a forum to air concerns despite the MoC’s dodging them.
Collusion with the Russian government is the rot at the center that is going to bring Donald and his illegitimate administration down. Heat continues to build as every intelligence agency continues to confirm that Russia meddled in our election specifically to benefit Donald, as all intelligence agencies continue to disavow Donald’s unsupported claim of being illegally wiretapped, and as his and his admin’s ties to Russia grow every more complex and incriminating (check out this incredible interactive graphic). British intelligence has revealed that they spotted evidence of ties between Donald’s campaign and Russia as early as 2015. Donald and his cabinet may finally be starting to call Russia out for their complicity in the awful chemical attacks in Syria by Assad against his own people, but don’t be fooled–this seeming disagreement benefits both Donald and Putin as each takes heat for their close ties and all the mounting evidence of their collusion. (Tellingly, Donald warned Russia about the US retaliatory attack on Syria even before he told Congress.)
Keep calling (or faxing/texting) your MoCs and asking them to support an independent special investigation of Republican administration ties to and collusion with Russia, as well as a special prosecutor. Donald is running scared–don’t let him distract the nation from his dangerous ties to Putin and Russia. This is when we need to keep the heat high and the spotlight turned bright on his potentially treasonous actions. You can say:
I’m very gratified to see President Trump finally standing up to Russia for its role in Assad’s attacks on his own people in Syria, after the president has sung Putin’s praises for so long–but I’m still extremely concerned about the overwhelming ties of Trump and his immediate advisers to Moscow, and the indications of their collusion with the Russian government and the current FBI criminal investigation of the president. In the interest of national security, will Senator/Rep X commit publicly to demanding an independent special investigation of these deeply troubling allegations, as well as a special prosecutor, so that a proper objective investigation can proceed?
Amid all the offenses to democracy and fairness coming out of DC, it’s easy to forget that our greatest impact can be at the level of our state and local government. Challenge yourself during this week’s congressional recess to learn more about the issues your state legislature is considering. Here in Texas we are fighting to defend women’s rights, to counter discrimination of the LGBTQ, immigrant, and religious minority communities, and to defeat the practice of political parties gerrymandering to racially discriminate voting districts and allow an artificial advantage to Republicans–all of which are of prime concern to me, and all of which I make regular calls about to my state reps in addition to my calls to my MoCs.
You might also get involved even closer to home: your city council, even just your local political party or Indivisible chapter. If we’ve learned anything from this last election, it’s that we can’t afford not to be directly civically engaged in our community, our state, and our country.
March for Science
As Donald’s cabinet works to defund and deconstruct the EPA, continues to deny global warming and climate change, and perpetuates dangerous anti-vaccination myths, it’s more important than ever to defend science and truth. On Earth Day, April 22, join the March for Science nationwide–find info on your local march here.
Beyond simply “holding the line” against Donald’s more egregious breaches of our Constitution and basic decency, we need to look to find ways to move forward as a nation. In such divided times, it’s essential we find ways to understand one another and seek common ground. With that in mind, the New York Times recently instigated a new feature where they cull some of the best writing from both sides of the political spectrum, across various media outlets. Knowing what ‘the other side” may be thinking also helps us frame our message and counter misinformation.
I’m also a fan of trying to engage in respectful, civil conversation with those who don’t share your beliefs. This can be dicey–both parties must be willing NOT to try to “argue” or convince the other they are right, and there can be no attacks on each other’s beliefs or intelligence. But conversations with “the other” can help both sides understand the other’s point of view, and may hopefully help lead us as a nation back to a spirit of collaboration and compromise–and unity–as our founding fathers intended. It starts on the most basic level, person to person–and we can implement it in our immediate circle. (It might be easiest to start with friends or acquaintances who don’t pack the same emotional baggage as our relationships with family sometimes do.) Here’s a great guide for how to do it productively, positively, and hopefully without fireworks.
Finally, if keeping up with the news is hard to do with your busy schedule, try one of my current favorite news collation sites: WTF Just Happened Today. They just created an Amazon Alexa skill for the app as well–head over to wtfalexa.com and enable the Amazon Alexa Skill for WTFJHT (What the Fuck Just Happened Today) on your Echo. Then you can say to Alexa, “Alexa, WTF just happened today?” and you will get an excellent brief recap of the day’s top stories about Donald and politics. 🙂
Keep up all you’re doing, warriors–and take care of yourselves! We must stay in this race and not let our resolve flag. If we remain focused and persistent, we will win.