Believe It, You Matter, Part XIV: Feel Your Feelings and Vote Anyway

This OTYCD post originally appeared in June 2019.


Believe It, You Matter, Part XIV: Feel your feelings and vote anyway.


Hi, I’m Sarah Jane. I write all the Believe It, You Matter entries. I’ve long since forgotten what Roman numeral I’m up to so I apologize if I’ve used 12 before.


Anyway. I’m here to talk about voter suppression, in part because the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) bizarrely (and irresponsibly, IMO) threw up its hands (well, five of the nine did) and essentially said it couldn’t do anything to stop gerrymandering, not even the ludicrously extreme gerrymanders drawn to explicitly corral and nullify the votes of one party.


This is the latest bit of news that could dispirit us. And hey, it’s OK to feel dispirited about such a thing. But please, please, do not let it stop you from voting, ever.


No matter what, show the fuck up and vote, and help others vote, too.


Republicans know, and have known, they can’t win if they can’t stop people from voting. Blatant, flagrant cheating, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempting to defang Article 4’s re-enfranchisement of more than a million felons by requiring them to pay assorted fees before they can cast a ballot, is one such move.


But the vote-suppressors work in subtler ways as well, ways that get less attention.


One of those ways is fostering despair and disgust with the whole voting process.


They try to make people feel that voting doesn’t matter, and it’s not worth the trouble.


It does, and it is.


As we advance into 2020, be alert to attempts to dispirit you and yours about the act of voting. It’s already happening, it’s happening in particular on social media, and not all of it is the work of bots, btw.


They’re doing it because it works, even if it’s kind of oblique and hard to quantify. The vote-suppressors don’t have to get everyone to stay home, or specific people to stay home. They need just enough people to stay home to make a difference.


You need to carry on talking to you and yours about the importance of voting, and removing obstacles to voting, both literal and figurative.


You need to tell people they matter, and their vote matters, and there are people out there who want them to give up and stay home. Fuck those people.


Now, when you talk, you should be straight with them. Acknowledge that fuckery is likely in 2020. Trump has explicitly said he would accept information foreign governments offer him about his opponents, which prompted the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission to issue a statement saying that accepting anything of value from a foreign government is a crime. Mitch McConnell has consistently refused to advance bills that would protect the integrity of the 2020 election.


Republicans, in particular, are doing whatever they can to suppress the vote.


Go out and vote anyway. Go out and vote, faithfully and always, and help others vote, too. Every time. No matter what fuckery abounds.


Hell, go vote IN SPITE OF the fuckery. Flip the bird by throwing the lever for a Democrat.


Also, keep talking to your friends and family about the importance of voting.


Talk about how excited you are to vote for specific candidates, and say their names, out loud, often.


Do this even if it feels like it’s not enough.


Do it even if you feel like no one is listening to you.


Do this even if the crisis du jour is turning your mood grim. If you need to take a break to work through your feelings, do it, and come back.


Vote even if the Democratic candidates look like they’re running away with it.


Vote, because you matter, and your vote matters.


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Check Out Democrat Sara Gideon, Who Is Running Against Republican Senator Susan Collins

This OTYCD post originally ran in July 2019. It has been updated slightly. 


Check out Sara Gideon, a Democrat who is running against Republican Senator Susan Collins in 2020.


Gideon is one of five Democrats who has expressed interest in running against Collins. (The others are Bre Kidman, Michael Bunker, Ross LaJeunesse, and Betsy Sweet). Gideon holds the distinction of having held major elective office; she’s been the Speaker of the House in Maine’s legislature since 2016.


Ady Barkan’s Be a Hero organization and activists from Maine famously launched a Crowdpac campaign to fund Collins’s eventual Democratic opponent after she voted to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. As of late June 2019, the fund held just over $4 million.


Presumably, this fund will go to the winner of the Democratic primary. That election will take place on June 9, 2020.


Over the last several months, the Cook Political Report has changed its rating for Collins’s Senate seat from Lean Republican to Toss-up.


As of February 2020, the Senate holds 53 Republicans and 45 Democrats, plus two Independents, Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who caucus with the Democrats.


The Democrats need to hold all their seats and pick up four in order to gain control of the Senate. Collins is among the most vulnerable.


Please consider adding Gideon to your Core Four for 2020.



See Sara Gideon’s campaign homepage:




Donate to Gideon’s campaign:




See Gideon’s Ballotpedia page:




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See the Crowdpac page for Collins’s to-be-named Democratic opponent:




See Ballotpedia’s page on the 2020 Senate election in Maine:




Read a New York Times story on Gideon’s announcement:




Are You Able to Donate Blood? Now–Yes, Now, During A COVID-19 Lockdown–is a Great Time to Give

Re-running this COVID-19-related post, which first appeared in late March 2020, because the need remains dire. Please spread this news far and wide, and give blood yourself if you can.


Are you able to give blood? Now–yes, now, when many states are imposing Covid-19 lockdowns–is a great time to give.


In past posts, we’ve asked you to think about donating blood. While there is never a bad time to give blood (there’s always a need), now is an especially good time to do so. And doing it now grants you the extra benefit of a legit reason to leave your damn house.


As long as Covid-19 is running rampant, blood drives are cancelled. As you might have guessed, blood banks rely on periodic blood drives to maintain their holdings. Being forced to quit scheduling these events has already started to take a toll on the blood banking system.


The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) began raising the alarm about potential shortages in early March of 2020.


If you can give blood, please do. If for some reason you are stopped by authorities, bring up this post on your phone and click on the links in the paragraph above.


If you’d like to give blood but aren’t sure where to go, start here. Or here.


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See Political Charge’s Vital Posts on Voting by Mail, State by State

This OTYCD post originally appeared in April 2020.


See Political Charge’s vital posts on voting by mail, state by state.


We at OTYCD have recommended the Political Charge blog before.


Unsurprisingly, we’re recommending Political Charge again. Ok, we’re a little jealous because it beat us to a post we wanted to write. Still, it’s more important that the information gets out there, not who gets it out there.


As of Easter 2020, COVID-19 is upending the United States. It’s thrown millions out of work and school and confined them to their homes in hopes of “flattening the curve”–slowing the spread of the disease and lessening the stress on hospitals. It’s unclear if so-called normal life can resume before researchers come up with a safe, effective vaccine. The earliest that could happen is about 18 months–or the fall of NEXT year.


The debacle in Wisconsin on April 7, which forced residents of cities to appear in person at the few polling that were able to open (many poll workers are elderly and opted to stay home rather than risk their health), made it clear we have to get to work, NOW, on making voting by mail a nationwide option.


Trump is–I know you’re shocked–opposed, because he and the Republicans believe that anything that helps more people vote makes it harder for them to win.


Anyway! Political Charge beat us to the punch with two must-read posts.


The first identifies all the states that allow some form of voting by mail, be it straight-up voting by mail or absentee ballots or something similar. See Voting By Mail Is Not New or Uncommon. Not By A Long Shot.


The second is a state-by-state breakdown with links you can click to learn what vote-by-mail provisions your state allows. That piece is titled How To Vote By Mail in Every Single State.


Please read those articles and share them far and wide, so all your friends and family can learn how to exercise their voting rights.


See the Political Charge blog (the subscription button is at the lower right, at the bottom of the page):




See Political Charge’s piece on Getting Started in Political Activism:

Getting Started in Political Activism



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#SaveTheUSPS by Buying Stamps and Asking Your Congressional Reps to Demand a Fix

This OTYCD post originally appeared in April 2020. We’ll keep rerunning it periodically until the post office is out of danger.


Please do your bit to #SaveTheUSPS by buying stamps and asking your Congressional reps to demand a fix to the nonsensical position years of Republican animus has put the vital government service in.


Sarah Jane here. I can’t believe I have to write this blog post, but here we are.


A contingent among the Republicans have been trying to kill the United States Postal Service (USPS) for decades.


They have many motivations:


They want to privatize it.


They want to bust its union.


Republicans are mortally offended by the existence of any government service that successfully serves every American, no matter where they live or how expensive it is to reach them.


So, naturally, they want the USPS dead, or at least broken beyond repair.


Republicans want this despite the fact that it will screw over rural voters, many of whom would instantly lose delivery service because no company could turn a profit on meeting their needs.


Republicans want this despite the fact that people on active military duty cannot receive packages from FedEx or UPS at their post office boxes.


One of the ways the Republicans tried to set the USPS on a course for death was through a 2006 law, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), that required it to pre-fund 75 years’ worth of pension obligations for every new hire. No business or other government employer is required to meet that standard.


The USPS has been laboring under that burden for more than a decade.


Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic upending everything, the USPS has taken another hit. Its leaders have asked the government for aid. (Calling any such aid a “bailout” is misleading and incorrect; the USPS is vital government infrastructure, and the USPS would be in the black in the absence of the 2006 law.)


Trump has flatly refused to provide it, going so far as to say he wouldn’t sign a COVID-19-related stimulus bill that included relief for the service.


So, we have to raise hell over this. We have to do it now. And we can’t stop until the Trump administration gives in.


If you have money to spare, please go to USPS.com and buy stamps. If you haven’t yet joined the army of #PostcardsToVoters writers, now is a great time to sign on. You’ll need to supply your own 35-cent postcard stamps to participate.


Also call your members of Congress–your House rep and your two Senators–and tell then you want Trump to quit the shenanigans and give the USPS what it needs to keep operating.


Before you call, check the social media feeds of all three to see if they’re already on the case. For example, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has been vocal about the need to help the USPS. Maybe some or all of your MoCs have been, too.


The ever-excellent Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) has a script at the ready, and includes this timely caveat, which applies to Sunday, April 12, 2020, and also to COVID-19-related time lags:

“Remember, your members are in their home districts at the moment, so call/email/fax district offices (DOs). Also important to know: staff are working from home, so factor in some potential time delays.”


You: Hi, my name is [name], I'm calling from [zip code]. You: I’m calling because I am asking [elected] to take urgent action around USPS Postmaster General’s request for financial relief for $75 billion in the next phase of the stimulus package.  You: I think the breakdown of: a. $25 billion in direct funding b. $25 billion in "unrestricted borrowing authority from Treasury c. $25 billion in grants Needs to be c

Keep calling periodically on this issue until the USPS gets what it needs.
And! Tell your friends about this problem, and encourage them to buy stamps and call their own MoCs.

As always, please show your appreciation for Celeste Pewter in some fashion.


You can follow her on Twitter: @Celeste_Pewter


You can tweet about calling your MoCs, using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.


You can follow @ICalledMyReps on Twitter.


And you can subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:



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See Which Companies and Celebrities Are Doing the Right Thing During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Checking the Did They Help? Website

We’re re-running this April 2020 COVID-19-related piece because COVID-19 is Still A Thing and it’s limiting activism pretty sharply. Can’t tell people to leave their houses, for example. Stay alert and stay safe, all. 


See which companies and celebrities are doing the right thing during the COVID-19 pandemic by checking the Did They Help? website.


Times like these bring out the best, and the worst, in people. A website called Did They Help? lets you track who, and what companies, are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, so you can offer or withdraw your support accordingly.


Did They Help? defines Heroes as “Companies and high profile people who have gone made (sic) positive changes and actions to support employees and society due to the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic”. Zeros, logically enough, are people and companies cited for making negative or counterproductive choices in the context of the pandemic.


Its official Heroes include chef José Andrés, creator of the World Central Kitchen nonprofit, which is feeding front-line medical personnel, and also Darden Restaurants, which owns the Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, and other national chains, for offering paid sick leave to all its employees as well as two weeks of emergency pay for hourly employees.


The Zeros list counts chef Gordon Ramsey for laying off 500 workers due to the pandemic, as well as the GameStop video game chain for advising its stores to remain open during state and local lockdowns and asserting that it’s an “essential retailer.”


Did They Help? assigns or subtracts points from individuals and companies based on claims that readers send in with relevant backing information, usually in the form of stories published by media outlets.


As of early April 2020, the biggest hero on the Did They Help? leaderboard was Target, which earned ten points for raising pay for employees during the pandemic; instituting dedicated shopping hours for vulnerable populations; and letting employees of their headquarters work from home.


The biggest zero on the leaderboard was… wait for it… President Donald Trump, with negative seven points.


Oddly, those ranked by Did They Help? who earn actual zeros get a rating of “It’s Complicated”, which details how their positive and negative actions have cancelled each other out.


See the Did They Help? website (scroll down a little to find the form through which you can make a nomination): https://didtheyhelp.com


See its FAQ page, which explains how its team awards and subtracts points: https://didtheyhelp.com/faqs/


See its Leaderboard page: https://didtheyhelp.com/leaderboards/


Donate to cover Did They Help?’s website-hosting costs: https://didtheyhelp.com/support-donations/


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Support Democrat Jaime Harrison’s Campaign to Unseat Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in 2020

This OTYCD post originally appeared in August 2019.


Support Democrat Jaime Harrison’s campaign to unseat Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in 2020.


Graham is among the most infuriating Republicans in the Senate. He shows periodic flickers of self-awareness, but he never lets that get in the way of his craven pursuit of power. The man who once tweeted, “If we nominate Donald Trump, we will get destroyed……. and we will deserve it,” now golfs with the man on the regular.


We need someone to run against this malignant twerp. Jaime Harrison has stepped up.


He’s going to need our help. The Cook Political Report rates Lindsey’s seat as Solid Republican.


Please consider him for your Core Four for 2020.


See Jaime Harrison’s campaign website:

Jaime Harrison for Senate


Donate to Harrison’s campaign:



Sign up to volunteer for Harrison (if you live in North Carolina): https://go.jaimeharrison.com/page/s/volunteer-sign-up?source=MS_HP_FR_X_X_homepage-signup_X__F1_S1_C1__X


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