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Support the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Now more than ever, you need to support the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

When Trump was elected, and so many of us were flat on the mat or reeling in shock, the ACLU had its fists up and was ready to fight back.

On the morning of November 9, ACLU President Anthony Romero wrote a letter to Trump, putting him on notice that several of his campaign promises, if enacted, would violate the Constitution, and the 97-year-old nonprofit would dog him mercilessly over any such thing he tried.

It has gone after Trump with vigor and ferocity ever since.

The ACLU takes a lot of crap for sticking up for unpopular people who say unpopular things. If the ACLU hasn’t yet defended someone you find repugnant, give them time. They will.

That doesn’t change the fact that we need the ACLU now more than ever. Romero put his finger on its value in an article in Fast Company when he likened it to the U.S.’s insurance policy.

The organization got a powerful, historically unprecedented surge of support in the wake of the election. It received $15 million in online donations before Inauguration day, and during the first weekend of the Muslim travel ban in January 2017, it took in another $24 million–a sum equivalent to roughly six times what it reaps online in a year.

Trump is attacking bedrock American values on several fronts. The ACLU is, and will continue to be, on the front lines in the effort to push back.

We at OTYCD realize you’ve probably helped the ACLU in some way already. More than 350,000 contributors gave money during that January weekend. But we’re asking you to consider stepping up to the next level.

Given to the ACLU once? Consider becoming a monthly donor. Already a monthly donor? Consider increasing your donation, even if the increase is only small. Not a member yet? Join the 1.6 million who are. Already a member and donating monthly? Urge your friends to do more.

Can’t afford to do anything that costs money? Read up on the ACLU, follow it on social media, and defend it, firmly and unwaveringly, from those who fear and hate it.

 

Read the Fast Company piece about what the ACLU has done in the wake of the 2016 election:

https://www.fastcompany.com/40407576/how-the-aclu-is-leading-the-resistance

 

See its website:

https://www.aclu.org

 

Find your local ACLU:

https://www.aclu.org/about/affiliates

 

Read about the history of the ACLU:

https://www.aclu.org/about/aclu-history

 

Join the ACLU:

https://action.aclu.org/secure/become-freedom-fighter-join-aclu?s_src=UNW170001C00&alt_src=UNV170001C00&ms=web_horiz_nav_hp_join

 

Donate to the ACLU:

https://action.aclu.org/donate-aclu?ms=web_horiz_nav_hp

 

Become a monthly donor:

https://action.aclu.org/secure/muslim-ban-fight-may-go-supreme-court-2?s_src=UNV170101INA&ms=web_hero_trump_gol

 

Like the ACLU on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/aclu.nationwide

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@ACLU

 

Read about how it took in a historically unprecedented number of donations since the election and following the first implementation of the Muslim travel ban:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/30/the-aclu-says-it-got-24-million-in-donations-this-weekend-six-times-its-yearly-average/?utm_term=.6b4b5b3521e5

Action Alerts

Tell Your MoCs That You Saw Their Social Media Posts

When you talk to your members of Congress, make sure to cite specific posts they’ve made to their social media accounts.

We live in the world of Facebook and Twitter, but our members of Congress don’t–at least not to the extent that we do. To them, phone calls are real, and letters are real, and email and faxes and postcards are real.

Social media posts are not as real to them as those other forms of communication. If you tweet at your MoCs or comment on their Facebook posts, they don’t take those statements as seriously as if you had phoned them or mailed them.

There’s a lot of reasons why this is so, and they’re long and boring and not really the point of this post. The point is that when you contact your MoCs by the means that are real to them, you should mention, and quote back to them, specific things you saw on their social media accounts.

Facebook, Twitter, and the like will start to become more real to your MoCs, and more like letters and phone calls and faxes in their minds, when you show them that you, their constituents and supporters, pay attention to social media.

The best way to do this is when you are contacting them to thank them for doing something: “Hey Senator (Lastname)! I saw you tweet about signing the Congressional letter condemning Trump’s pulling out of the Paris accord. Thank you for doing that!’ Linking social media with positive feedback will help move us closer to the day when social media becomes as accepted as all those other forms of communication.

 

Action Alerts · Call Your Senators · Common-sense Gun Laws · Senate Bills, Federal · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your Senators and Support S. 2974, Which Would Modernize How the ATF Tracks Guns Used In Crimes

Call your senators and support S. 2974, a new bill that would modernize how the ATF tracks guns used in crimes. 

 

Informally called the Crime Gun Tracing Modernization Act, it was introduced in late May by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and Florida Senator Bill Nelson (who, by the way, is up for reelection in 2018 and needs your help).

 

It would allow the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to build a computerized database of gun records.

 

What we’re going to tell you next will sound too borked to be true, but we assure you that it is.

 

When the ATF needs to trace a gun that was used in a crime, they have to rummage through cardboard boxes and pull paper records by hand.

 

Seriously. In 2018.

 

Do we need to tell you that this is a needlessly antiquated system that only makes it easier for those who commit crimes with guns?

 

Things are the way they are because a segment of American gun owners who are really closer to being gun fetishists fear the notion of the government having an accurate list of who owns guns.

 

You’ll be shocked, SHOCKED to learn that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is against any initiative that would do what S. 2974 promises to do, squawking that it would violate Second Amendment rights.

 

The bill, if passed, would give the ATF three years to build a functional computerized records system.

 

Please call your senators and voice support for this bill. And if Leahy or Nelson represent you? Call to thank them as well.

 

Sample script: “Dear Senator [Lastname,] I am [Firstname Lastname of town, zip code]. I am calling to ask you to support S. 2974, which would modernize the way America keeps and searches records of firearms sales. Right now, when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms needs to track the records of a gun used in a crime, they have to rummage through paper records. For real. No joke. That’s nuts. S. 2974 would allow the creation of a computerized database. That, in turn, would help the ATF pin down information faster, help solve crimes faster, and might prevent more crimes from being committed with the same suspect gun. It’s long past time to drag gun-tracking into the 21st century. This bill should make that happen. Please support it. Thanks.”

 

 

See the GovTrack page on S. 2974, which was introduced on May 24, 2018:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s2974

 

 

Read a Sun Sentinel article on Senator Bill Nelson’s co-sponsorship of S.2974:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/fl-reg-gun-database-bill-20180601-story.html

 

 

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!

 

 

Read a March 2011 MPR article on how building an accurate electronic database of gun records was seen by some as controversial and sensitive. It references an earlier records modernization bill that ultimately failed:

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2011/03/20/tracing-guns-firearms-part4

 

 

A note: We at OTYCD intend to nurture and encourage the movement sparked by the Margory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting by devoting one post at least every other week to gun safety-related issues.

 

The reason that the NRA has a death grip on Congress, and in particular, GOP Congressfolk, is that NRA members get off their asses and call if there’s a whisper of a muttering of a hint that a law might pass that could impose even the slightest imposition on ownership of guns in America.

 

That’s what the politicians are afraid of. It’s not just that some of them get metric buttloads of money for their campaigns from the NRA. Those who embrace the NRA’s outlook pounce on their phones and berate their representatives the instant they think their beloved guns are under threat.

 

So, yes, it’s on us to shout back.

 

We have to adopt the tactics of those who support the NRA.

 

We have to call our representatives often to make it damn clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and we want common-sense gun safety laws.

 

OTYCD will start out with one weekday post every two weeks, at minimum, that has to do with improving gun safety and pushing back against the NRA.

 

We do this in honor of the Parkland victims, and all victims of mass shootings in America, and everyone who has been fighting to change our laws on firearms all along.

 

If Trump finally bows to the will of Congress and imposes the sanctions against Russia for messing with the 2016 election, we will switch to devoting one post per week to these issues.

 

Honor the victims of the Parkland shooting, and all other shootings, by stepping up and calling your reps about common-sense gun safety laws, and by supporting politicians who have low grades from the NRA, and voting out those who do the NRA’s bidding.

 

#NeverAgain. For the love of all that is right and good, Never Again.

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

Learn to Evangelize (In a Good Way)

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!

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Make an Appointment to Donate Blood Every Time You Hear About a New Mass Shooting

When news breaks of a new mass shooting in America, make an appointment to donate blood (if you’re eligible to do so). 

 

Because the majority of Americans are in fact sane, we are sickened when we learn of a new mass shooting. It makes us feel powerless as well (and don’t even ask about the decades, yes, decades of effort many of us have devoted, and will continue to devote, to trying to get our gun laws changed).

 

After the June 2017 shooting at the Congressional Republican baseball practice, we at OYTCD suggested that readers donate to the three charities that benefit from the game and also consider donating blood, even if they didn’t live in or around Washington, D.C. Blood donations drop in summer, what with vacations and the other schedule disruptions that come with the season. And Steve Scalise, the Congressman who suffered the worst injuries, definitely needed blood transfusions and continued to need them.

 

So here’s something to consider. Every time you hear about a mass shooting, consider making an appointment to donate blood at a facility near you.

 

Ok, we can almost read your mind–“But I won’t have any blood left if I do that!” If it’s too early for you to donate blood, offer to escort a friend. Or offer to volunteer at a blood donation facility. Or if you’re due to renew your driver’s license and you haven’t indicated you’re an organ donor, do that.

 

Or substitute some other bit of routine community activism that fits. Spend an hour at the library tutoring someone whose first language isn’t English. Donate peanut butter and tuna fish to a food bank. Do something to make your community better that you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to yet.

 

Answer an act of random violence by making the world better. Every bit helps, however small it might seem.

 

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!

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Attend the No One Is Above The Law Protest Near You Thursday November 8, 5 pm Your Time

Attend the No One Is Above the Law protest near you, taking place Thursday, November 8, at 5 pm your time (local time).

 

So, we at OTYCD wrote about the if-then protest in the past, when MoveOn.org and friends started planning it.

 

We also urged you to visit the site and write down the details for your local No One Is Above the Law protest site in case a triggering event sends people stampeding toward the site from all over the Internet and the web page goes down.

 

Welp. On Wednesday November 7, with the midterm results not even a day old (and some still trickling in), Trump compelled Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign and installed an Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, who had been Sessions’s chief of staff.

 

Read articles on the slo-mo modern spin on the Saturday Night Massacre here (and click these words if you need a refresher on the original Saturday Night Massacre):

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-resigns-at-trumps-request/2018/11/07/d1b7a214-e144-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html?utm_term=.89b91e4aee90

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-the-midterms-over-mueller-faces-key-decisions-in-russia-investigation/2018/11/07/7ef2765a-e151-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html?utm_term=.6490220bf6eb

 

 

You can question whether any of this is legal. You can question whether Trump can put Whitaker, who is not Senate-confirmed, into the Acting AG role. You can question whether Whitaker has to recuse himself, given that he is on record as opposing the Mueller investigation, and has made comments about muffling it by starving it of funds.

 

Rampant attack on our democracy? Yep. All that nonsensical fuckery was more than enough for the team behind the No One Is Above the Law if-then protest to pull the trigger on the event.

 

If you haven’t checked out the web page, please do so now, and find out where your nearest protest site is. Note the address down on paper. Google it and plot how you can get there and where you can park. As of November 7, 2018, the page reflected more than 900 events scheduled:

https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/

 

You’ll also notice that the organizers didn’t quite follow the standing plan. They chose to set it for 5 pm local time to give folks more time to prepare.

 

We’re now going to reproduce the bit from the page that appears after the logistics:

 

THEN WHAT?

Good question!

These events are only the first step. Our goal with these actions is to create an opportunity for anyone outraged by Trump’s abuse of power to engage immediately in voicing their concern. Together, we will communicate unmistakably that this is not okay and that this act to undermine democracy is not going to be allowed to become a new normal.

But that’s only the first step, and it’s far from the last one.

Congress is the only body with the constitutional power and responsibility to hold a president politically accountable for major violations of the public trust like this. And “we, the people” are their backstop and source of legitimate power.

And what people do next to force Congress to act is up to them!

Certainly, everyone at an event should also call their member of Congress to demand action. And everyone is encouraged to communicate that demand directly at congressional offices.

Beyond that, it’s up to you! It’s a good idea to discuss possible scenarios in advance with the hosts of your event or with your friends to develop other nonviolent ways you would like to compel actions from Congress.

Here’s what groups will be asking Congress to do:

 

CONGRESSIONAL ASKS

  1. Demand members of Congress protect the special counsel’s office, including preserving its files and staff and ensuring it receives the full cooperation of all federal government law enforcement assets.
  2. Demand the creation of a modern-day version of the Senate Select Watergate Committee to investigate all matters involved in the Russia scandals and Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
  3. Demand bipartisan hearings in the House Judiciary Committee on obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
    • Some groups will call these the first steps to impeachment hearings; others will not.
    • Impeaching Donald Trump is not a demand shared by all partner organizations. Nor is supporting impeachment a prerequisite to attend these events. But it is a view welcome at events, and you can definitely bring a poster calling for it if that’s your view. We can all be for the three things above if some of us are also for additional things, such as impeachment.
…So this might be a one-off, and it might not be.
Another suggestion from us at OTYCD: After you look up and note your own protest
location, look it up for friends and family who might approach you for help, or those
who you want to approach, in the spirit of making it as easy as possible for them to join.
You might want to go as far as giving them easy-to-follow driving directions and parking
tips.
If you can, offer a car-pool ride to other interested protesters. If you cannot or do not
want to go, but can offer child-care services, that definitely helps, too.
If you can’t go and can’t help others go, follow and boost these hashtags:
#NoOneIsAboveTheLaw
#TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw
#whitakermustrecuse
During the course of the day, watch the Twitter feed of Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter).
She is prepping call scripts as we draft this blog post, and she’ll be on top of relevant
breaking news.
Also watch the feeds of Ben Wikler (@BenWikler) and Anna Galland (@annagalland),
both of MoveOn. They will have news about the nationwide protests and other things
you’ll want to know.
Sorry it’s come to this, folks. Sorry it comes so soon after the conclusion of the multi-
month saga that was the lead-up to the 2018 midterms, which took so much out of so
many of us.
We thought we could rest. Hell, most of us planned on taking at least one goddamn
day off. Wednesday. Joke’s on us. (Fuck that guy. Seriously, fuck that guy.)
But we gotta muster. We gotta. We gotta show up in big honking numbers, just like
we did on Tuesday.
Democracy needs us again. It’s just that kind of week. (If you’re not already keeping a
journal, now’s the time to start. Your kids, grandkids, nieblings, and grandnieblings will
want to know what this time was like, and they will want to know what you did to push
back.)
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!

 

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Social Media · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Get Out There and Support the Work of #TheLastWeekend

This OTYCD post originally ran on July 28, 2018. We’re reposting it today, tomorrow, and November 5 as a reminder to get out there and do the work of supporting #TheLastWeekend however you can.

 

Get your calendar NOW RIGHT NOW and block off Saturday, November 3 through Tuesday, November 6 to support The Last Weekend, a coordinated push to defend and save our democracy.

 

Sounds a bit histrionic, we admit, but with the fallout from the July 16, 2018 Helsinki conference and the continued failure of the GOP-controlled Congress to do anything substantial about it, it’s clear that democracy in America is under threat.

 

You need to wipe your calendar in the days leading up to the midterms and devote yourself to The Last Weekend.

 

It’s an effort backed by every org you like — Swing Left, Flippable, Sister District, Moveon,  Indivisible, Resistbot, Wall-of-Us, you name it.

 

Its goal is to encourage everyone to talk to fellow potential voters. From the homepage:

 

Study after study shows that the most effective way to get people to vote is by having conversations with them in the four days before Election Day (Saturday, November 3rd–Tuesday, November 6th).

 

You’ve done a lot. You’re doing a lot. Can you rearrange your life to do this in early November? Please?

 

 

See the homepage for The Last Weekend:

https://thelastweekend.org

 

 

Read a Political Charge post that supports The Last Weekend:

The Last Weekend: A Call to Action We Can All Support

 

 

Also watch the hashtag #TheLastWeekend on Twitter.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!