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!

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

This OTYCD post originally appeared in November 2018.

 

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 · Marches and Protests

Read A Story About Hong Kong Protestors Protecting Themselves from Their Own Government

Read a story about protestors in Hong Kong taking precautions against retaliation from the Chinese government for their actions.

 

It’s dated June 12, 2019 and is from the AFP service.

 

If you are a full-time activist, you probably already know these methods and practice at least some of them. We at OTYCD are pointing you toward this story so you can mull it over and make yourself aware of ways to protect yourself.

 

We feel weird and a little gross doing this, but the increasing authoritarianism of the Trump administration, as of July 2019, convinces us it’s something you all should see.

 

Read Surveillance-savvy Hong Kong Protesters Go Digitally Dark:

https://news.yahoo.com/surveillance-savvy-hong-kong-protesters-digitally-dark-003014805.html

 

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 · Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Vote with your Dollars

Check Out Democrat Sara Gideon, Who Will Run Against Republican Susan Collins in 2020

Check out Sara Gideon, a Democrat who has pledged to run against Republican Senator Susan Collins in 2020.

 

Gideon is one of three Democrats who has expressed interest in running against Collins. (The others are Bre Kidman and Betsy Sweet). She is the only one among them to have held major elective office; she’s the Speaker of the House in Maine’s legislature.

 

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.

 

The Cook Political Report scores Collins’s Senate seat as Lean Republican. By its definition, “Lean” means “These are considered competitive races, but one party has an advantage.”

 

As of June 2019, 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:

https://saragideon.com

 

Donate to Gideon’s campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sg-website?refcode=website-nav

 

See Gideon’s Ballotpedia page:

https://ballotpedia.org/Sara_Gideon

 

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!

 

Like Gideon on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/SaraGideonME/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2330577087269160&ref=page_internal

 

Follow Gideon on Twitter:

@SaraGideonME

 

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

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/fund-susan-collins-future-opponent

 

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

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_election_in_Maine,_2020

 

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

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Vote with your Dollars

Boycott Companies That Help Trump Detain Migrants, Thanks to Grab Your Wallet

Boycott companies that profit from the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy against migrants, thanks to this Grab Your Wallet spreadsheet.

 

Grab Your Wallet was among the earliest protest tools to arise after Trump’s election. It was literally one of the first things OTYCD wrote about. The first boycott list, which is still active, was designed to help you avoid giving money to Trump and his children.

 

Grab Your Wallet has assembled a new resource that lists companies and organizations that are profiting from the Trump administration policy toward migrants, which includes the creation of the camps where it’s holding migrants.

 

It’s dynamic and it’s periodically updated, so you’ll want to check back often.

 

Important note: If you choose to contact these companies, be polite and respectful. If you can’t effectively channel your anger, hold off until you can, or simply satisfy yourself with boycotting them without telling them why.

 

See the Grab Your Wallet spreadsheet of companies and organizations that benefit from the Trump administration’s shameful anti-migrant policies:

https://www.grabyourwallet.org/Action%20Alert.html

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Marches and Protests · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Attend a Lights for Liberty Protest Near You on Friday, July 12

Attend a Lights for Liberty protest near you on Friday, July 12.

 

The protest’s full name is Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps. Events that draw attention to the crisis created by the camps and by the Trump administration’s policies are planned across America and the world.

 

Because these protests are vigils, most events will take place at night, and many will take place near facilities that are holding migrants.

 

Events are being added all the time. We’re dropping the direct link to the event list here but will repeat it below.

https://www.lightsforliberty.org/localevents

 

If you can go, please consider inviting friends and family to come with you. You have power, and now is the time to use it.

 

If you can’t go, and you have experience with caring for children, consider offering to babysit for other protestors.

 

You can also boost #LightsforLiberty on social media, buy Lights for Liberty merch, and donate to the organizers.

 

Main website for Lights for Liberty:

https://www.lightsforliberty.org

 

List of Lights for Liberty local events:

https://www.lightsforliberty.org/localevents

 

Link to the form through which you can create your own Lights for Liberty event (please scroll down; please remember to obtain any permissions or permits you might need; and please choose an area that’s accessible to the disabled):

https://www.lightsforliberty.org/localevents

 

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!

 

Donate to Lights for Liberty:

https://www.lightsforliberty.org/donate-index-impact

 

Purchase Lights for Liberty merch:

https://shop.spreadshirt.com/lights-for-liberty/

 

Like the Lights for Liberty Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/lights4liberty/

 

Follow Lights for Liberty on Twitter:

@Lights4Liberty

Action Alerts · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Save These Tools

Read The Normal Person’s Guide to Internet Security

This OTYCD entry originally posted in May 2017.

Read The Normal Person’s Guide to Internet Security, a straightforward guide to some basic things you can do to safeguard yourself online. 

You will remember we squawked as loudly and as quickly as we could about HR Res. 86, which promised to let Internet Service Providers (ISPs) collect information on where you go online and sell it to marketers and other third parties. (You won’t be surprised to learn that it and its Senate counterpart bill were entirely and solely sponsored by Republicans.)

Unfortunately that bill passed Congress and Trump signed it into law. Many state legislators are at work on state-level solutions to protect you, but in the meantime, have a look at The Normal Person’s Guide to Internet Security and see what else you can do to defend yourself.

The guide is essentially Online Privacy 101 and does not pretend to be otherwise. If you’ve already implemented two-step authentication on all your devices and favorite web sites, and have already installed ad blockers, etc. etc., this is probably too elemental for you. But for the rest of us, it’s at least a good refresher-cum-checklist, if not a decent introduction to concepts we should all master.

Read The Normal Person’s Guide to Internet Security (Warning–the URL contains a NSFW word, so you may want to wait till you get home to look at it):

https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com/guide/internet-security/?utm_source=WTF+Just+Happened+Today%3F&utm_campaign=f3b55c952c-Day_80_Complicit_4_9_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9813b73b1a-f3b55c952c-158473581

 

Follow its author, Matt Kiser, on Twitter:

@Matt_Kiser