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Read About the History (Yes, History) of Accusing Protestors of Being What Some Now Call “Crisis Actors”

This OTYCD post first appeared in May 2018.

 

Read a February 2018 New York Times piece on the history–yes, the history–of accusing protestors and activists of being what some people now call “crisis actors.”

 

A particularly gross, but damnably inevitable, aspect of the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Florida, was the claim by some that the eloquent young survivors were “crisis actors.”

 

Their accusers weren’t talking about actual crisis actors, who are people hired to play victims and survivors during realistic disaster drills. They were implying that the MSD students, who emerged from their trauma as pissed-off gun safety activists, were paid by some shadowy cabal that’s bent on destroying the Second Amendment.

 

Here’s the thing–while the term has changed, the concept behind the “crisis actor” has not. In a February 2018 piece for the New York Times, writer Niraj Chokshi shows it goes as least as far back as the years following the Civil War. Back then, black “outside agitators” were blamed for allegedly exaggerating their testimonies of the violence and discrimination they suffered, both from the Ku Klux Klan and in general.

 

In the 20th century, the nine children who bravely volunteered to integrate the public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, were accused of being paid for their trouble.

 

The piece does not discuss why some people are so determined to push the myth that people who step up and do and say difficult things have to be getting paid to do it. (That would be an interesting and worthy follow-up.) Regardless, it’s worth your time.

 

 

Read the New York Times piece on the history of the “crisis actor” accusation:

 

 

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Community Activism · Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Read “How to Turn a Red State Purple (Democrats Not Required)”

This OTYCD post originally appeared in April 2018.

 

Read How to Turn a Red State Purple (Democrats Not Required), a Politico Magazine cover story on how a small, dedicated group of Alaskans are turning their state blue.

 

The long story details how a handful of left-leaning, highly motivated young Alaskans studied the political landscape of their state and have managed to reshape it, as this passage explains:

 

“In the five years since [Jonathan] Kreiss-Tomkins’s upset victory, a most unusual thing has happened: Alaska—which elected Sarah Palin governor and has not supported a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson—has turned from red to a bluish hue of purple. Throughout the state, unknown progressives, like the kind Kreiss-Tomkins once was, have been winning. Before the elections of 2012, conservatives controlled all the major seats of power in Alaska: the governorship, both houses of the Legislature, and the mayoralty and city assembly of Anchorage, where 40 percent of the state’s 740,000 residents live; now, progressives and moderates control all of those offices but the state Senate, which has been gerrymandered beyond their control. More than half of the 40-member Alaska House of Representatives has been newly elected since 2012, most of them Democrats or independents; together with three moderate Republicans, they have remade the Democratic-independent caucus into a 22-18 majority.

 

Not all of these newcomer state legislators are typical progressives—’the NPR-listening liberals hunt, fish or camp here,’ says Joelle Hall, political director of the Alaska AFL-CIO—but in defeating more conservative candidates, they accomplished something that didn’t happen anywhere else in November 2016: In a state that went for Trump by 15 points, they flipped a red legislative chamber to blue…

 

…Their emerging coalition has been a boon for the Democratic Party, of course, but what’s remarkable is how little of this transformation has depended on the party. To the extent that the Democratic Party has helped in its own revival—and in transforming Alaska from deep red to a blue-ish purple—it was in part by getting out of the way. As progressives across the country try to pry Republicans out of power, they have important lessons to learn from a state where they are wrongly thought to have no power at all.”

 

It’s worth setting aside 15 minutes or more to read the whole story and mull it over. Then  read it again and think about whether and how its lessons apply to your state.

 

A few tactics jump out: the Alaskans sometimes ran Independents in areas where progressives could win if they didn’t have a “D” next to their names; they actively recruited candidates for office rather than waiting for them to volunteer themselves; and they created Ship Creek Group, an entity that provided support, key staff, and campaign advice, which made it easier for reluctant recruits to say yes.

 

Read How to Turn a Red State Purple (Democrats Not Required):

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/12/how-to-turn-red-state-blue-purple-alaska-politics-2018-216304

 

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Community Activism · Good News · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Believe It, You Matter, Part III: The Parable of Eating Less Meat

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

 

Believe it, you matter. Every little thing you do to push back against Trump matters, no matter how small. 

 

Eating less meat is, generally speaking, a good idea. It’s better for your health and it’s better for the planet, because raising animals for meat demands more resources than growing plants for food.

 

But what if you can’t quit meat entirely for the rest of your days? What if you need it for health reasons, or cultural reasons, or hey, you just like meat too much to give it up once and for all?

 

Despite what some nasty, one-upping vegans and vegetarians would have you think, if you make a conscious choice to eat less meat, and you faithfully commit to making a change, that’s a win. Even if you never give up meat entirely, that’s a win, because you thought the matter over, you chose to eat less meat, and you stuck to your choice to eat less meat.

 

You are part of the resistance. Many of us–those behind this blog included–cannot devote ourselves to the resistance full time. We have jobs and family obligations and housework and a host of other demands on our time. There are some days when we don’t have the chance to do anything at all to advance the cause. (If WordPress forced us to write fresh posts every day instead of banking evergreen posts at our leisure and bumping them forward as needed to make room for breaking news, this blog would not exist.)

 

And there are some people who can’t advance the cause as often as they might like. Maybe they live in an environment where it’s not safe to resist Trump openly. Maybe they have crazy-demanding job or school schedules. Maybe they’re 24/7 caregivers. Maybe they’re disabled. Doesn’t matter why, it just is, and they have to work around it.

 

The point: As long as you’re doing something, you win. Even if it’s not as much as you want to do. Even if it’s not as much as you think you should do. Even if it’s not as much as your neighbor did, or your cousin did, or your best friend from your Indivisible group did.

 

Resisting Trump is not a competition, nor should it be. Something is better than nothing, no matter how small that something is. We should celebrate every contribution that we make in the effort to push back against Trump. All of it helps.

 

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Common-sense Gun Laws · Community Activism · Health Care · Public Education · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Support Students for Changes, an Advocacy Group Started by Marjory Stoneman Douglas Students

This OTYCD post originally appeared in April 2018.

 

Support Students for Changes, a nonprofit advocacy group started by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the deadly shooting on February 14, 2018.

 

Cofounded by three survivors of the attack that killed 17 of their peers and teachers, Students for Changes focuses on three things: gun safety, mental health, and school safety. The ultimate goal is to create a world where deadly school shootings are memories and not ever-present threats.

 

 

The pinned tweet on its Twitter page as of early March 2018 stated:

This Nonprofit Organization is started and led by Marjory Stoneman Douglas students. We’ve made this for the express purpose of connecting and consolidating the efforts of students nationwide to change our current policies and societal notions.

 

 

During the same period, its Twitter feed thanked Delta Airlines for rescinding the group discount it had offered to National Rifle Association (NRA) members, thanked Kroger, Walmart, and L.L. Bean for raising their minimum customer age for gun sales to 21, and promised to keep fighting after the Florida state senate passed, then quickly revoked, a two-year ban on the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

 

 

The founders intend this to be a student-led movement, and they encourage the creation of chapters in schools across America. As of March 4, 2018, SSC is filing to become a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit.

 

 

Visit the Students for Changes webpage:

https://www.studentsforchanges.org

 

 

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!

 

 

Donate to Students for Changes:

https://www.studentsforchanges.org/copy-of-make-a-donation

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/studentsforchanges/

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@students4c

Community Activism · Elections · Ethics · Good News · Social Media · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Captain Awkward Is the Half-Assed Activist on Her Patreon Page, and Is, Unsurprisingly, Awesome

Captain Awkward is the Half-Assed Activist on her Patreon page, and is, unsurprisingly, awesome. You should read it and become a monthly donor. 

 

So! A while back we at One Thing You Can Do devoted a blog post to Captain Awkward because she has a lot of good advice that applies to dealing with trolls and twerps without losing your shit–skills that apply to dealing with politically-motivated trolls and twerps.

 

You can see that post here:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/11/13/embrace-the-awkward-learn-to-handle-all-sorts-of-unreasonable-people/

 

Since then she’s added a Patreon and added a feature to her Patreon page: The Half-Assed Activist. It launched in January 2019 and it specifically tackles issues around political engagement, mental health, and mental health.

 

It’s exclusive to her Patreon, so you need to go there to see it.

 

You should be a Captain Awkward Patreon anyway (Disclaimer: Sarah Jane gives her $1 per month). But! The material she’s written for The Half-Assed Activist makes it even more of a bargain.*

 

The posts are infrequent–as of May 2019, there have been two–but they’re worth your time. Her April post, We Have Always Lived In Presidential Primary Season: A Half-Assed Activist Post About Getting Through This Shitshow Without Perpetuating Or Tolerating Bad Behavior And Keeping Some Tiny Spark Of Hope Alive, expertly brings the fire and merits a bookmark, so you can return to it and stoke yourself to go out there and do what needs doing.

 

 

Here’s the Patreon post in which CA introduces The Half-Assed Activist:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/new-feature-half-23921449

 

 

Here’s the link to We Have Always Lived In Presidential Primary Season: A Half-Assed Activist Post About Getting Through This Shitshow Without Perpetuating Or Tolerating Bad Behavior And Keeping Some Tiny Spark Of Hope Alive:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/we-have-always-26242073

 

 

Visit the Captain Awkward site:

https://captainawkward.com

 

 

Follow Captain Awkward on Twitter:

@CAwkward

 

 

Donate to Captain Awkward:

Support/Donate

 

 

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!

 

 

*Captain Awkward generously gives hat-tips to One Thing You Can Do on her Patreon page. We’re delighted with hearing nice words spoken about us by someone we’ve all looked up to forever, but you should know–we didn’t solicit those comments. No logrolling here, we promise. And if her posts for The Half-Assed Activist sucked, we wouldn’t write about them. But they don’t, so we are.

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Thwart a Constitutional Convention by Electing Democrats to State Legislatures

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

 

Thwart any plans the Republicans might have to call a Constitutional Convention by helping to elect Democrats to state legislatures–your state’s, and other states. 

 

You know the importance of electing Democrats at all levels–federal, state, and local. You’ve read our blog posts on state-level legislative elections, and you might have done something to help. But there’s another reason to stay alert to state legislative elections, both in your state and in other states, and work to ensure that Democrats get elected.

 

The country can call a Constitutional Convention if two-thirds of the states band together and ask for one. Such a convention would allow its members to amend or even rewrite the Constitution.

 

What’s the problem? In order to call a Constitutional Convention, 34 states would have to  pass bills in their own legislatures to ask for one. A total of 38 states are needed to pass any measures cooked up at the convention.

 

As of mid-2017, 32 states have Republican-controlled legislatures, and 24 of those states have Republican “trifectas”–Republican governors AND a Republican-controlled legislature. Democrats have only six trifectas, and six more legislatures are split.

 

Worse, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative think tank, has been steadily working toward changing the state legislative landscape to open the door to a Constitutional Convention. It’s agitating for a balanced budget amendment–which would prevent Congress from passing a budget that increases the national debt.

To lay it out plainly: If a Constitutional Convention happens anytime soon, it will be dominated by Republican-leaning states, and will almost certainly be dominated by measures that reflect Republican and conservative points of view.

 

They could write amendments that bans gay marriage, or abortion. They could augment the second amendment in a dangerous way. Heck, they could rewrite the first amendment to curtail protests. They could get up to all sorts of nasty shenanigans. That’s not to say their amendments will convince 38 states to vote in favor, but still.

 

You can thwart this in many ways.

 

First, learn which party, if any, controls your state legislature, and assess the strength or weakness of the party’s control.

 

If your state is controlled by Democrats, learn how to strengthen the party’s control by increasing their numbers. This might mean spending time or money on electing, re-electing, and defending state candidates who need your help.

 

If your state splits control between the parties, see what you can do to broaden and boost Democratic control. Again, this might mean spending time or money on electing, re-electing, and defending state candidates who need your help.

 

If your state is controlled by Republicans, you will want to commit time and money to increasing the number of Democrats, especially if your state has a Republican trifecta.

 

If you want to help affect legislatures beyond your state, target states with Republican trifectas and do your damnedest to break them.

 

 

Learn about upcoming state elections through Flippable:

https://www.flippable.org

 

 

 

Read about Constitutional Conventions, the modern pro-convention movement, and what’s at stake:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/10/21/a-constitutional-convention-could-be-the-single-most-dangerous-way-to-fix-american-government/?utm_term=.5eaf6cce9a8e

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/were-surprisingly-close-to-a-new-constitutional-convention-bad-idea/2017/04/06/f6d5b76a-197d-11e7-855e-4824bbb5d748_story.html?utm_term=.bbdac53be324

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/01/_liberals_and_conservatives_are_teaming_up_to_call_a_new_constitutional.html

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/wisconsin/articles/2017-05-31/republicans-push-constitutional-convention-measures-forward

http://wuwm.com/post/wisconsin-could-become-30th-state-demand-constitutional-convention#stream/0

 

 

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!

 

 

Check this Wikipedia page to see which party, if any, controls your state legislature:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_state_legislatures

 

 

Read about how Republicans now control many state legislatures:

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/after-winning-7-more-seats-gop-dominance-state-legislatures-all

 

Common-sense Gun Laws · Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Wear Orange On June 7 For National Gun Violence Awareness Day

This OTYCD piece originally ran in May 2018. It has been updated for 2019.

 

Plan to wear orange on June 7 to support National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and see if there’s a Wear Orange Weekend event near you.

 

The Wear Orange movement is an effort championed by Everytown for Gun Safety, but not started by it. The movement began with those who mourned the death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed in Chicago in 2013 one week after she participated in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. They donned orange in her honor, and orange became the color of the anti-gun violence movement.

 

Several #WearOrange events have been planned across the country to raise awareness about gun violence and demand a safer world. They include parades, barbecues, rallies, marches, and more.

 

To find an event near you, enter your zip code into the search engine at this link:

https://wearorange.org

 

 

 

And of course you can follow the #WearOrange hashtag on social media.

 

 

See the Wear Orange homepage:

https://wearorange.org

 

 

See the Wear Orange About page:

https://wearorange.org/about/

 

 

Buy merch in the Wear Orange shop:

Wear Orange Collection

 

 

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