Common-sense Gun Laws · Community Activism · Uncategorized

Learn About Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership

This OTYCD post originally went live in February 2018.

 

Learn about Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership (GOFRO), an Oregon-based gun safety group.

 

Paul Kemp, a gun owner who grew up with guns, launched the group after losing a brother-in-law in a December 2012 attack on a Portland, Oregon mall. The 22-year-old shooter used a semi-automatic rifle to kill two people and injure a third.

 

GOFRO supports common-sense gun laws. It asks its members to take the following pledge:

 

“I will practice safe storage.  I will keep my firearms and ammunition locked and separate.

I will support universal background check requirements.  I will not sell or buy a firearm without a background check.

I will support the rights of my fellow citizens to be free from intimidation by the open display of firearms in public.  I will avoid the unnecessary carrying of firearms in public, particularly in places where children are present.

I will always make gun safety a priority in my home, in the field or on the range.”

 

 

 

 

Visit the GOFRO website:

http://www.responsibleownership.org

 

 

Take the GOFRO pledge:

http://www.responsibleownership.org/take_the_pledge

 

 

See its ‘Research/Read More’ page:

http://www.responsibleownership.org/research_read_more

 

 

Donate to Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership:

https://oregongunsafety.nationbuilder.com/donate

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Volunteer for GOFRO:

http://www.responsibleownership.org/volunteer

 

 

Like its Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/GunOwnersForResponsibleOwnership/

 

 

Read a transcript of a January 2018 PBS Newshour interview with the founder of GOFRO (you can also watch the video, which is above the transcript):

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/gun-owning-group-in-oregon-advocates-for-firearm-safety

 

A Note: OTYCD has devoted several posts to common-sense gun laws and gun safety, and will continue to do so.

 

That does not mean, however, that we want to ban all guns. We don’t, and we never have. We are pro-responsible gun ownership. We support people who fully understand the responsibilities of gun ownership, and who show a healthy respect for guns, and whose actions consistently show that understanding and respect.

 

As of February 2018, it’s obvious to most Americans that its gun culture is horrifically, grievously, and unconscionably borked, and its gun laws need to improve ASAP. Here’s hoping the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas provide the push we need to truly fix things at last.

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Learn to Evangelize (In a Good Way)

This OTYCD post originally appeared in February 2018. 

 

Learn, and practice, how to tell the story of the candidates you support, and become an evangelist for them.

 

One of the most important things you can do to push back against Trump is convince people to come out and vote against his democracy-destroying agenda. But if you really want to be effective, you want to immerse yourself in the merits and the story of a non-Trumpish candidate, fully master it, and be ready to make a powerful, personal, eloquent case for voting for them.

 

Now, a personal confession. Sarah Jane here. I’m the founder of the OTYCD blog and the lead wrangler of research and of its anonymous writers. This is my 2016 story.

 

So it’s late 2015 or so and the election is starting to gear up. I resign myself to voting for Clinton. I’m meh on her but I don’t think Bernie can do the job, the Republicans are all thoroughly horrible, and the third party options look miserable, too.

 

But at some point I see clips from that eleven-hour Congressional Benghazi hearing.

 

And I see Clinton own those Republican twerps like the boss she is. Own. Them. Completely and thoroughly. She cleans the floor with them till she can see her face in it, and she doesn’t even break a sweat. She slays. She dominates. She destroys. Through her actions and her attitude, she reveals the hearings for what they are–a formal, coordinated attempt to kneecap her 2016 presidential campaign–and she ain’t havin’ it. At all.

 

And I realized: She can do this, and she wants to do this. She is crazy-smart and ludicrously skilled, and she has a skin as thick as a rhino’s, and she actually wants to be president. She’s been through hell and back so many times, from so many different directions, she could write a guidebook on it for Lonely Planet. She has taken far more than her allotted ration of shit in this life. She has long since earned the right to walk in the woods and play with her grandkids. But she wants to do this. Damn. Whoa.

 

In that moment I became a Clinton convert. The scales fell from my eyes. I went from ‘meh’ to ‘yeah!’ I was *excited* to vote for her. Not as much as I was for Obama, but I was excited.

 

Now, here’s my sin: I didn’t tell anyone about my change of heart. At no point before the 2016 election did I speak up to anyone else and say why I was excited to vote for her.

 

I donated to her campaign. I voted for her in the primary. I stayed on top of the issues. I watched all three debates. I voted for her for president. But never did I ever sit with friends and family and spontaneously say why I was so jazzed to vote for Hillary Clinton.

 

I live in a state that went overwhelmingly for Clinton. I can tell myself that not speaking well of her once I started thinking well of her made no difference.

 

But c’mon. What if more of us had shown genuine enthusiasm for voting for her? What if more of us had evangelized for her?

 

What if our friends and family made note of that, and passed the word to others–that there are people out there, sane and fine people, who actually like Clinton and want to vote for her?

 

Don’t get me wrong–I realize she had a fine contingent of folks who did speak well of her, early and often, and I realize a goodly number of them read this blog. I’m wondering how things might be different if that contingent were bigger, and if folks who share my Clinton journey had stepped up and joined it.

 

The overriding perception was that those who cast votes for either major presidential candidate in 2016 did so while holding their noses.

 

Remember the ‘Giant Meteor 2016’ bumper stickers? Judging by the way the election was covered, no one would blame you for thinking it was a giant nationwide game of ‘Would You Rather?’

 

It wasn’t, or at least it wasn’t for me. I liked Clinton, and I still like her, and what she stands for. And I’ve gone from being irked to pissed to stabby about how the right wing noise machine has done its level best to smear her for 30 goddamn years.

 

It’s too late to do right by Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate. But you can devote yourself to becoming a better evangelist for non-Trumpish candidates running in special elections and in 2018 who will restore and defend our democracy. (“Non-Trumpish” candidates include Republicans and conservatives who have spines, btw.)

 

You don’t have to formally join their campaigns to be effective. Heck, you might be more effective if you don’t. Just do your damnedest to learn about them, and what they stand for, and figure out what it is about them that you connect with most, and tell others why.

 

You have power. You have friends and family who listen to you and value what you have to say. Hearing people you trust speak happily, and authentically, about a candidate for office helps that candidate’s chances of winning that office.

 

Speaking up is scary. Some people will challenge you, talk over you, even yell at you and try to shout you down. But you need to speak up anyway. It’s too important. Do not succumb to silence. Do what you have to do to learn how to speak up, and get good at it, and start working on it now, in summer 2017, well before the primaries.

 

We need you. We need every voice. Our democracy depends on it.

 

Update: Since I wrote this I realized (headsmack) that many of those who stuck up for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign got shouted down, and they’re still getting shouted down months later. I can only point back to my own experience.

 

I know most of my crowd was pro-Clinton, but no one expressed spontaneous enthusiasm for her. I don’t think I would have felt any pushback if I had voiced my enthusiasm in real life (online is of course another matter) but I can’t know because I did not think to try.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Community Activism · Ethics · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Health Care · Uncategorized

Learn About Abortion Laws In Your State, Your Country, and The World, Thanks to the Center for Reproductive Rights

This post originally appeared on OTYCD in February 2018.

 

Learn about abortion laws in your state, your country, and the world at large, thanks to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

 

We at OTYCD don’t need to tell you that access to abortion is under attack across America. It’s still legal, but anti-abortion lawmakers are, and have been, doing their level best to make it as inconvenient and expensive as possible, both for health care providers and for their patients.

 

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a 26-year-old global advocacy nonprofit based in New York City, has compiled a State of the States 2017 report that surveys abortion laws across the country.

 

Download the report through the link below, and also see which states attempted to pass bans on abortions at and after 20 weeks’ gestation, and which states tried to ban the dilation and evacuation (D&E) surgical procedure:

https://www.reproductiverights.org/state-of-the-states-2017

 

 

The CPR also produces and updates a map of abortion laws across the world. See the 2018 world map here (it relies on Adobe Flash):

http://worldabortionlaws.com

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

See the website for the Center for Reproductive Rights:

https://www.reproductiverights.org

 

 

Learn about its Pro Bono program:

https://www.reproductiverights.org/pro-bono-program

 

 

Donate to the center:

https://www.reproductiverights.org/about-us/donate

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/reproductiverights

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@ReproRights

 

 

Check out its Merch:

https://www.reproductiverights.org/shop

Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Believe It, You Matter, Part VII: Avenge Merrick Garland

This OTYCD post originally appeared in April 2018.

 

Believe It, You Matter, Part VII: Avenge Merrick Garland.

 

Sarah Jane here. (I write all the Believe It, You Matter entries.)

 

I went to as many of the big anti-Trump rallies that I could attend in 2017–the Women’s March, the Science March, the Tax March–you name it, I tried to go.

 

The signs at these protests were goddamn amazing. Going into the Science March, I realized I needed to up my sign game. I seriously thought about toting one that said:

AVENGE MERRICK GARLAND

 

Because it made me laugh. Merrick Garland is an inherently nice guy. That’s one of the big reasons why President Barack Obama nominated him for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)–everybody likes Merrick.

 

The idea of avenging the nicest, most likable federal judge who’s not yet on the Supreme Court struck me as funny. But I ultimately decided that the message wasn’t science-y enough. Instead I made a sign that said:

FIGHT TRUTH DECAY

 

…and that got many laughs and compliments.

 

Still, I keep coming back to the idea of avenging Merrick Garland.

 

Let me pause to explain who Merrick Garland is, for those who forgot or who came late to the discussion. Garland is a federal judge who Obama nominated to the SCOTUS seat that opened when Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died in February 2016.

 

As I stated above, Obama chose Garland with purpose and calculation. Garland was 63 at the time–not a young man–and he had long reaped praise from both sides of the aisle. If Garland got a hearing, he’d be chosen for the court. No question.

 

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell countered by … not giving Garland a hearing in the Senate. McConnell, who is known for his asshole moves, topped himself with this one. The New York Times summed it up well by calling it “an aggressive break with protocol.” McConnell came up with a bullshit rationale about not letting a president in his last year in office pick a SCOTUS candidate, and he self-righteously stuck to his bullshit rationale throughout.

 

You know the rest. Trump got elected, and he filled the open seat with Neil Gorsuch–an  inferior choice for SCOTUS, and a noxiously partisan one.

 

But that’s not the whole story. When Trump got elected, you and I and so many more were shocked into action. We mobilized. We organized. We stepped up. We came out. We fought back, and we haven’t stopped fighting back.

 

This is where avenging Merrick Garland comes in.

 

If the angry, alert, civically-engaged network we built after Trump’s election had existed at the time of Garland’s nomination, he’d probably be sitting on the court now. We would have rallied and called our Senators until they relented and gave the man a hearing. And if Garland had gotten a hearing, he almost certainly would have won the SCOTUS seat.

 

You can avenge Merrick Garland by staying alert, staying civically engaged, and staying ready to mobilize and petition your elected officials when they try to flout rules and norms and get away with outrages against democracy.

 

Trump will go, but you must not. Do not drift away after he leaves. Sure, let yourself rest. But we need you to come back, and we need you to keep fighting. For Merrick Garland’s sake.

 

Read about Obama’s choice of Garland, and McConnell’s refusal to hold a hearing for him:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/president-obama-to-nominate-merrick-garland-to-the-supreme-court-sources-say/2016/03/16/3bc90bc8-eb7c-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html?utm_term=.38f29116f7b7

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/senate-obama-merrick-garland-supreme-court-nominee/482733/

https://www.npr.org/2016/03/16/470664561/mcconnell-blocking-supreme-court-nomination-about-a-principle-not-a-person

http://beta.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-supreme-court-nomination-20170131-story.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/merrick-garland-donald-trump-regulations-237052

 

Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Elections

Support M.J. Hegar’s Bid to Unseat Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn

Support M.J. Hegar’s bid to unseat Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn.

 

If M.J. Hegar seems familiar, she should. She was featured in that amazing campaign video, Doors, which went viral in 2018.

 

Hegar lost the House of Representatives race for which she made that ad. (The final tally was 50.6 to 47.7, so, close, but not enough to win.) Undaunted, she’s now aiming at Senator John Cornyn, who’s up for re-election in 2020.

 

She’s picked a hard row to hoe. The Cook Political Report rates Cornyn’s seat as Solid Republican. And while Cornyn has racked up more than his share of jackholery in his time in the Senate, he’s not Ted Cruz.

 

Please consider M.J. Hegar for your Core Four for 2020.

 

See Hegar’s campaign website:

MJ for Texas

 

Donate to her campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/mjh_website?refcode=web_homepage&amount=25&recurring=1

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

Like her on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/MJforTexas/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1945077182405313&ref=page_internal

 

Follow her on Twitter:

@mjhegar

 

Rewatch her stirring Doors campaign video:

 

See Ballotpedia’s page on Hegar:

https://ballotpedia.org/M.J._Hegar

 

See Ballotpedia’s page for the Texas Senate election in 2020:

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_election_in_Texas,_2020

Candidates · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

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

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:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_harrison_fr_homepage_2019?refcode=MS_HP_FR_X_X_homepage_X__F1_S1_C1__X&recurring=auto&amount=25

 

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

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

Like him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/JaimeHarrisonSC/photos/?tab=album&album_id=328073017309141&ref=page_internal

 

Follow Harrison on Twitter:

@harrisonjaime

 

See Harrison’s Ballotpedia page:

https://ballotpedia.org/Jaime_R._Harrison

Community Activism · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Support Your Local Library, Always and Forever

This OTYCD post originally appeared in January 2018.

 

Support your local library, always and forever. 

 

Libraries are many things to many people. They’re often the heart of the community, or at least a vital organ that helps it survive and thrive. Its employees respect knowledge and provide the tools to fight back against fake news and attempts to undermine the truth.

 

Librarians are also foot soldiers in the resistance, both the capital-R Resistance going on now and resistance efforts in the past. When Trump declared his Muslim travel ban, librarians pushed back with “Libraries Are for Everyone”–imagery, book displays, and declarations that underline the fact that libraries are, indeed, open to one and all. Several leading library organizations also condemned the ban.

 

You have many options for supporting your local library.

 

The biggest and most effective one is to use it regularly.

 

Don’t have a library card? Get one, and make sure everyone in your family has one.
Go to the library often. Follow it on social media. Attend library events that interest you, and bring friends.

 

Spend liberally at library book sales. Check out books and other media, and bring them back on time.

 

If you don’t use your library you do run the risk of losing it.

 

You can also volunteer, join a “Friends of the Library” group, or donate money. Please stay alert to state and local legislative efforts that might affect library funding and access.

 

As for donating books–first, ask the librarians if they’re accepting book donations and if so, what types of books they’re currently seeking. They may not need what you have; don’t be offended if they turn you down.

 

Also, run the used books’ ISBN numbers through Amazon’s trade-in link to see if they’re actually worth anything (see link below). Don’t donate them unless they are. And don’t be offended if the library ends up selling your donated books.

https://www.amazon.com/Sell-Books/b?node=2205237011

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read about how libraries and librarians have been leading the resistance to Trump:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/librarians-protesting-trumps-executive-orders/

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/21/us-libraries-join-struggle-to-resist-the-trump-administration

http://mashable.com/2017/02/21/library-donald-trump-resistance/#h2S2kJpDDmqV

Librarians must resist trumpism

 

 

Read this GOOD article on how librarians have historically been in the forefront of resisting Nazis and other enemies of the truth:

https://www.good.is/articles/rogue-librarians-save-history-and-the-truth

 

 

Follow the Libraries Resist account on Twitter:

@LibrariesResist

 

 

Read about ways to help libraries:

http://www.ilovelibraries.org/get-involved

https://mastersreview.com/8-ways-to-support-your-local-library/

https://www.bustle.com/p/7-ways-you-can-support-your-local-library-47363