Uncategorized

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

Community Activism · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Look Carefully at Your Local Polling Place. Is It Accessible to the Disabled?

This OTYCD entry originally posted in November 2017.

 

Look carefully at your local polling place. Is it accessible to the disabled? Make note of what needs improving, and ask local electoral officials to make fixes before the 2018 midterms.

 

Today is November 7, 2017. Many state and local elections will take place. (Best of luck to the candidates OTYCD wrote about who are running in Virginia, New Jersey, and Manhattan.) If you’re going to the polls today, please look carefully at your local site and note how well it serves your disabled neighbors.

 

If you see things that need fixing, please bring them to the attention of your local electoral commission so they can be addressed before the 2018 midterms.

 

A note on photography: While you shouldn’t have problems taking photos of the exterior of the polling site, be careful when taking photos inside the voting area. Never photograph filled-out ballots, and make sure to take your photos when there’s no chance of a filled-out ballot appearing in your shot. If you end up needing to send your photos to state or local election officials, take care to blur the faces of any voters who are visible, to protect their privacy.

 

Things to look for:

 

Are there accessible parking spots near the poll site? Are they clearly designated and marked as such? Is at least one of the parking spots van-accessible (There’s a parking space and an area to one side of the parking space that’s painted with white or yellow diagonals)?

 

Are there ramps or a side entrance with no stairs that a disabled person could use to enter the building? Are the entrance doors wide enough to admit a wheelchair and easy for a wheelchair user to open (no funky old locks or latches)?

 

Once inside the building, are there sufficient elevators and ramps to allow disabled people to reach the area where the voting booths are placed? Are the elevators wide enough for a wheelchair? Are the elevator buttons at a height that wheelchair users can reach (no higher than four feet from the floor)?

 

Are there signs that point voters to the polling site? Where are they hung? How legible are the signs–are they clearly written and clearly printed? If your community speaks more than one language, are there signs in every major language? (If the poll provides ballots in that language, it should have signage in that language, too.)

 

Is the actual voting area laid out in a way that would allow wheelchair users to get around easily?

 

Is there at least one booth that’s wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair? Does it have a writing surface that’s at a height that would be useful to a wheelchair user?

 

Is there at least one vote-tally machine that is designed for use by wheelchair users?

 

What options are provided for blind voters, and for people who don’t use wheelchairs but who might need to sit to fill out their ballot?

 

Is there a long line to vote? (If you have a stopwatch function on your phone, use it to time the length of the wait.) Was the weather bad or challenging in any way? What accommodations are there (if any) for people who cannot stand for extended periods of time?

 

If the site cannot be made sufficiently accessible for disabled voters, does it offer curbside voting instead?

 

Another note for those who have disabled friends who want to vote: Do not advocate for them unless they explicitly ask you to help them.

 

If they do ask you for help, listen to what they say, watch what they do, and be alert to their needs. When in doubt, ask them what they want you to do. When you’re both in doubt, you might want to call your state Protection and Advocacy Hotline (scroll down for the link).

 

If you do spot something that seems like a problem, do not storm up to a pollworker and demand it be fixed then and there. Instead, compose an email or letter, or write down a script to use when calling the officials who choose, equip, and operate polling places.

 

Stay factual. Stick to describing what you saw, explaining why it’s problematic, and asking what can be done to make it better.

 

Keep following up on your request with the goal of fixing things before the 2018 primaries take place.

 

 

If you or someone who came with you to the polls are denied their right to vote–for any reason–you can call the Election Protection Coalition Hotline. A trained lawyer will answer and help with troubleshooting:

1.866.OUR.VOTE (1.866.687.8683)

 

 

If you or a disabled friend hit a disability-related problem that stops you from voting, you can call your state’s Protection and Advocacy Voter Hotline:

Directory of Protection and Advocacy Voter Assistance Hotlines 2016

 

 

Here’s a link that will help you find your state or local election officials:

https://www.usa.gov/election-office

 

 

Here’s a link to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Checklist for Polling Places:

https://www.ada.gov/votingchecklist.pdf

 

 

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!

 

 

See the National Disability Rights Network’s page on voting:

http://www.ndrn.org/en/public-policy/voting.html

 

 

See the National Council on Independent Living’s links to resources on making the vote accessible:

Voting Accessibility – Media & Resources

 

 

Special thanks to Sarah at the National Council on Independent Living for her help with researching this post.

Uncategorized

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.

 

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!

 

Uncategorized

Think: What Three Things Are Most Important to You?

This OTYCD entry originally posted in January 2017.

 

A lot has happened since the inauguration. Too much, really. And that’s just what Trump and his minions have done or tried to do–that doesn’t even get into the misinformation that’s been floating around, and the various calls to action that are well-intentioned but wrong.

 

You can’t stay on top of everything. It’s physically impossible. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to stay on top of everything. (Can you imagine all the stuff we at OTYCD have to let go, in the interest of limiting ourselves to one post a day?) You need to conserve your energy for what you are best-equipped to fight.

 

You need to sit down and figure out which three things are most important to you.

 

Is it fighting the effects of climate change?

Protecting access to abortion?

Pushing back against voter suppression?

Defending net neutrality?

First Amendment issues?

Keeping public schools strong?

Defending laws that safeguard our air and our water?

Supporting the protestors at Standing Rock?

Doing your damndest to make sure that black lives matter?

Sheltering and assisting immigrants?

Protecting LBGTQ rights?

Stopping the government from selling public lands for a pittance?

Upholding the Paris agreement?

Standing up for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities?

Defending Obamacare?

Resisting cuts to Medicare and Medicaid?

Fighting attacks on American muslims?

Defending and extending mental health care services?

Protecting the rights of the disabled?

Undoing the damage of gerrymandering?

 

…those are just some that leap to mind. We cut eighteen more, and we probably didn’t name at least three dozen that matter to you.

 

But that’s the point. It’s worth sitting down and list as many political topics as you can. Then go through them and figure out which three matter most to you.

 

Embrace those three. Learn all you can about them. Become an expert.

 

Do something every day to advance at least one of the three. Rotate through them so that your attention to each balances out over time.

 

Trust that others will step up and cover the rest of the things that matter to you.

 

Fight for your three things as doggedly as you want others to fight for what you had to relinquish for sanity’s sake.

 

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!

 

Uncategorized

Do What George Lakoff Says: Don’t Retweet Trump, and Don’t Repeat Trump’s Language

This post originally appeared on OTYCD in April 2019.

 

Do what George Lakoff says: don’t retweet Trump, and don’t repeat Trump’s language.

 

A key lesson in Lakoff’s classic book, Don’t Think of an Elephant! is to resist repeating the language of people such as Trump.

 

In fact, it’s extra-important to avoid repeating Trump in particular.

 

When you repeat his language, you reinforce it and you normalize it.

 

Don’t retweet his tweets, not even to quote-tweet him. Don’t push his words into other people’s feeds. You’re just injecting those words deeper into the brains of others.

 

Don’t repeat his slogans. Don’t riff on them, no matter how funny your riffs are.

 

To repeat Trump is to amplify him.

 

Don’t repeat him.

 

Push the message YOU want to push. Not his.

 

Find YOUR OWN language. Write your own slogans. Push those instead.

 

A tweeter using the handle @LuLuLemew summed it up well in a March 29, 2019 tweet in reference to the Mueller Report, which Lakoff retweeted:

 

Until we see the report, some advice from

▪︎Don’t use any of Trump’s terms, images, or videos.

Ignore his antics —  ▪︎if you retweet it you can’t defeat it

▪︎when you embed it you spread it ▪︎

To defeat, reframe, don’t repeat

 

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!

 

Uncategorized

See Political Charge’s Landing Page for GOP Senate Seats to Flip in 2020

This post originally appeared on OTYCD in June 2019.

 

See Political Charge’s landing page for GOP Senate seats to flip in 2020.

 

We at OTYCD have an underbuilt but live page on all the Senate races of 2020. Yeah, yeah, we need to fill it in more, you’re right.

 

Political Charge, a smart and powerful blog we’ve plugged any number of times, has cut to the chase with a post about GOP Senate seats that are vulnerable to flipping in 2020.

 

 

See it here:

Here are the GOP Senate Seats to Flip in 2020

 

 

And while you’re at it, check out its post about Senate Democratic seats to protect in 2020:

Here are the Democratic Senate Seats To Protect in 2020

 

 

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

https://politicalcharge.org

 

 

Follow Tokyo Sand, author of Political Charge, on Twitter:

@DHStokyo

 

 

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!

Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Support Spread the Vote, Which Helps Citizens Obtain IDs

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

 

Support Spread the Vote, an organization that helps citizens access the ballot by obtaining IDs that their states require.

 

Republicans have noticed that they are more likely to win when fewer voters turn out. For this reason, they have embraced anti-democratic (small d) moves such as placing restrictions and qualifications on access to the ballot. Requiring prospective voters to present specific forms of identification is a favorite of theirs.

 

Voter ID laws suck, and they constitute the modern version of a poll tax. It hits the poor, the working class, the elderly, the young, and minorities particularly hard.

 

Some lack the documents they need to obtain ID, and cannot muster the money needed to hunt down those documents. Some can’t get the time off work to stand in line at City Hall or the DMV to straighten things out. Some are college students, whose college IDs are not generally accepted, and who receive conflicting information about where they can vote (home or on campus).

 

Enter Spread the Vote. Its mission is to help people get the documents they need to access the ballot. According to its numbers, 21 million people lack a government-issued photo ID, and 31 states require some form of ID to vote.

 

By helping Spread the Vote, you help expand the pool of eligible voters and defeat bullshit obstacles thrown up by Republicans who find it easier to frustrate citizens rather than develop ideas and policies that people would want to vote for.

 

Spread the Vote is and has conducted state-specific projects in Virginia and Georgia, but its scope is nation-wide. Please encourage their good work in whatever manner you can.

 

 

See Spread the Vote’s webpage:

https://www.spreadthevote.org

 

 

Ask for its help with obtaining an ID so you can vote:

https://www.spreadthevote.org/vote/

 

 

Volunteer for Spread the Vote:

https://www.spreadthevote.org/volunteer/

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/SpreadTheVoteUS

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@SpreadTheVoteUS

 

 

Donate to Spread the Vote:

https://secure.squarespace.com/commerce/donate?donatePageId=58727f25f7e0ab8a674b88bb

 

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!