Escape Your Bubble · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Escape Your Bubble By Joining Stand Up Republic

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

 

Escape your bubble by joining Stand Up Republic, an organization founded by former CIA officer Evan McMullin and digital politics wizard Mindy Finn.

 

McMullin, you might recall, jumped into the 2016 presidential race late, after the Republicans chose Trump as their candidate. Finn was McMullin’s running mate. Despite not getting started until August and their status as a third-party ticket, McMullin and Finn won three-quarters of a million votes.

 

Since the election ended, McMullin has been an outspoken critic of Trump, so much so that he’s actually gotten under Trump’s skin a few times.

 

He and Finn have also co-founded Stand Up Republic, an organization devoted to “build[ing] and organiz[ing] a grassroots movement in defense of liberty, equality, and truth in America. Our priorities will be to uphold the Constitution and defend the democratic norms and institutions upon which the protection of our basic rights depend.”

 

Please check out Stand Up Republic, follow it on social media, and follow its co-founders as well.

 

Obligatory warning, with apologies for bonking you all on the head about this fact: McMullin and Finn hold at least some different political beliefs than you do. That means they’ll sometimes say things and do things that don’t match your beliefs, and might piss you off well and thoroughly. That’s ok. Really, it’s OK. You’re being asked to look at what they’re doing and support what you like, not endorse every last little everything they do. They understand the danger of Trump–that’s the key thing. One of the reasons this country is so borked right now is we’re fiercely polarized and, in avoiding jerks who disagree with us, we end up avoiding decent people who happen to disagree with us. That’s got to stop if we want to make things better.

 

 

See the Stand Up Republic site:

https://standuprepublic.com

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/standuprepublic

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@StandUpRepublic

 

 

Donate to Stand Up Republic:

https://standuprepublic.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!

 

 

Follow Evan McMullin on Twitter:

@Evan_McMullin

 

 

Follow Mindy Finn on Twitter:

@mindyfinn

 

 

Read an Op-Ed McMullin wrote for CNN calling for Republicans to stand up to Trump:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/28/opinions/conservatives-stop-caving-to-trump-on-liberty-mcmullin/

 

 

Read a New Yorker profile on McMullin:

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/persons-of-interest/evan-mcmullins-quest-to-save-democracy

 

 

Read a good Washington Post opinion piece on McMullin:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/02/17/evan-mcmullin-and-senate-republicans-go-where-chaffetz-wont/?utm_term=.cadeb68c4ef5

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Rebuke Trump and Help the FBI By Donating to Its Charities

Rebuke Trump and show support for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) by donating to charities that help FBI families.

 

If you believe Donald Trump’s tweets, the FBI is a hotbed of radical liberalism, bent on taking down his administration. We should’t have to tell you not to believe Trump’s tweets–they’re absurd. The FBI is many things, but a bastion of leftist free-thinking it is not.

 

Many, many people have decried Trump’s attacks on the FBI. Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) of Lawfareblog seems to be the first to fight back by supporting FBI-related charities. On December 23, he tweeted:

The President is impugning the integrity of the FBI by attacking two honorable public servants: Jim Baker and Andy McCabe. I just donated $1,000 to the in their names. I urge others to give as well and tweet that you did so to .

 

He then retweeted several others who mentioned their donations in honor of Baker and McCabe on social media.

 

Later that day, the FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) tweeted:

Thank you to everyone who has generously contributed to our charitable funds. Your money will directly benefit FBI families in need.

 

On December 24, former CIA director John Brennan (@JohnBrennan) pointedly joined the cause, tweeting:

Andy McCabe & Jim Baker epitomize integrity, competence, and respect for rule of law. Not surprised fears them, along with the rest of FBI. I just donated to as a small way of saying . Here’s how you can too:

 

The FBI Agents Association administers two charities.

 

The Membership Assistance Fund helps FBI families who suffer a sudden, unforeseen tragedy, such as a cancer diagnosis or an accident.

 

The Memorial College Fund provides scholarships to the children and spouses of FBI personnel who died on the job or within a year of leaving the agency.

 

Both are 501(c) (3) charities. Note: If you are uncomfortable with guns, you might want to focus on the Membership Assistance Fund alone. The Memorial College Fund has raised money through the sale of commemorative firearms.

 

We at OTYCD recognize that the FBI is not a perfect organization, and its history includes some pretty terrible acts. That said, it most emphatically does not deserve the abuse that Trump is raining on it, and we should do what we can to defend the FBI in the context of defending the infrastructure of democracy from the corrosive effects of Trump’s authoritarian whims. Donating to these two FBI charities are a way to stand up for the agency and its people, who have been unfairly maligned.

 

 

See the main donation page for the FBI Agents Association:

https://fbiaa.org/ways-to-donate

 

 

See its page for the Membership Assistance Fund:

https://fbiaa.org/membership-assistance-fund

 

 

See its page for the Memorial College Fund:

https://fbiaa.org/memorial-college-fund

 

 

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Believe It, You Matter, Part V: Your Friends and Family Matter. Are You Talking to Them About Voting in 2018?

Believe it, you matter: Your friends and family matter. Are you talking to them about going to the polls in 2018?

 

If we are to start putting the country right, it’s up to us–you and me and everyone reading this, and everyone we know, and everyone they know–to step up and help put it right by voting for Democrats and sane Republicans who will uphold the rule of law and fight Trump’s authoritarian-leaning agenda.

 

In other words–you personally casting your vote is not enough. You have to reach out to your friends and family and talk to them about voting.

 

You have to put the act of voting on their collective radar, and you have to keep mentioning it to them periodically as the calendar marches closer to November 6, 2018.

 

Be prepared to make voting, and learning what they need to know to vote, as easy for them as possible. You have to make yourself into their Voting Concierge. You have to put yourself at their service.

 

This can mean helping them learn who their representatives are, and whether any of them are up for re-election.

 

As you know, many elected seats are up in 2018–hundreds on the federal level, and thousands on the state level, and who knows how many on the local level.

 

We at OTYCD do not recommend going over all the possibilities with them in a single sitting. Best to pick one or two to talk about at a time, and bring up others later, over the coming months.

 

The first thing you should do with your friends and family is make sure they’re registered to vote. We cover that on the OTYCD page, The Most Important Thing You Can Do, but here’s the website we point you to:

 

http://www.canivote.org

 

It’s maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State, and it will help your friends and family learn how to register or re-register, and it will help them find their polling place.

 

Once they’ve confirmed their voter registration and know where they need to go to vote, they need to learn about who’s running in November. We’ve been pointing you to the nifty search engine Who Are My Representatives. You may need to help friends and family use it. Here is the link:

 

http://www.whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

Once they know who their representatives are, tell them that their House Rep is up for re-election in 2018. You will want to school yourself on that Congressperson and be ready to talk to them about whether they’re any good or not.

 

If their Congressperson isn’t any good, be ready to talk about the Democratic opponents, the merits of each, and when the Democratic primary happens in your state. (If you look up the Congressional District on Ballotpedia, you should be able to find the primary dates.)

 

You will also want to talk to them about their two senators. Rely on the OTYCD post about the 34 senators up for re-election in 2018 for help with this:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/11/learn-which-34-senators-are-up-for-re-election-in-2018/

 

 

If one or both senators are up for re-election, talk with them about the merits of those electeds. If they’re no good, be ready to talk about Democratic opponents who are worth backing. Again, Ballotpedia should be able to help you.

 

Once you’ve had conversations with your friend or family member about their House rep and their senators, you might want to talk about other races that matter, such as your state’s governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and the like.

 

You might also want to introduce them to the notion of the Core Four:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/22/choose-your-fabulous-four-for-2018/

 

The key thing is to start talking to your friends and family about voting in 2018, and to prepare yourself ahead of time so you can help them learn as easily as possible.

 

Mind you, 2018 should not be the only thing you discuss with them. In general, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s just one thing among many that you talk about. A good rule of thumb is to talk about four other unrelated things for every one time you bring up politics with them.

 

But please, start having these conversations if you haven’t already. And as we get closer to Labor Day, start talking with your friends and family about how, exactly, they will vote.

 

If they need help obtaining an absentee ballot, offer to help them get one, and be ready to help them hunt one down.

 

If they need help traveling to and from their polling place, be ready to help them do that. Offer a ride, or start saving for cab money. Whatever they need.

 

It’s that important.

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Commit Now to Put Any Tax Benefits You Might Get from the GOP Tax Bill to Fighting Its Effects

This OTYCD entry originally appeared in December 2017.

If the GOP tax bill passes, will you benefit from it in the form of lower taxes? Commit now to put any extra money to the work of fighting its effects.

 

Yes, the GOP tax bill rewards the rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor. Not too terribly many people who read this will belong to the group who will benefit if it becomes law.

 

Still. If you are one of those people, think about how you will use that money for good, and use it to fight the ill effects of the bill.

 

The bill treats waived graduate school tuition as taxable income. Fight this by talking to your alma mater, or a favorite public or private university, about how you can help relieve the burden the bill imposes on grad students. In particular, do what you can to assist grad students from marginalized communities, who will be hit hardest.

 

The bill removes a tax credit that employers received if they hired veterans. Look around your community, see which organizations are serving veterans and helping them find jobs, and see about pointing your gains in that direction.

 

The bill removes a tax credit for teachers who buy supplies for their classrooms. Find the neediest public school in your community and commit to underwriting those perpetual costs.

 

The variants are endless, but we should also mention yet again that in addition to what you choose to do, you should also support and elect candidates who will change the laws, fix the flaws, and help the people who will be hurt by the GOP tax bill.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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Read Avi Woolf’s How to Leave the Echo Chamber

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

Read How to Leave the Echo Chamber, by Avi Woolf, a writer and managing editor at the Buckley Club, a conservative publication that opposes Trump’s presidency.

Woolf lays out solid guidelines for edging out of your political bubble:

Don’t just dive into the deep end, take some time to prepare yourself. That includes figuring out what issues matter to you.

Look at the mainstream, aka establishment media of the other side, and avoid the rabble-rousers and shock jocks.

Don’t debate, discuss. Don’t see political conversations as games to be won, but as opportunities to learn and connect.

 

Read Woolf’s piece:

https://thebuckleyclub.com/how-to-leave-the-echo-chamber-2de78b1508ad

 

Follow him on Twitter:

@AviWoolf

 

Learn about the Buckley Club (which, again, is a conservative publication):

https://thebuckleyclub.com/introducing-the-buckley-club-51e656ab6618

 

Like its page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/TheBuckleyClub/

 

Follow the Buckley Club on Twitter:

@TheBuckleyClub

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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Go to Alabama for Your Next Vacation

Put your money where your mouth is: Reward Alabamians for choosing Democrat Doug Jones as their newest Senator by taking your next vacation in Alabama. 

 

When a state legislature adopts a stupid, hurtful law, the people who fight the law sometimes ask tourists to boycott the state.

 

Do you remember when North Carolina adopted House Bill 2, a law that restricted LGBT rights and demanded that transgender people use the bathroom that corresponded to their sex at birth? The N.C.A.A. protested HB2 by relocating more than a dozen college championship events to venues in other states. The NBA moved the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte to New Orleans. Wired estimated that HB2 cost North Carolina almost $400 million in lost revenue.

 

Boycotting North Carolina for passing HB2 was the right thing to do. Like it or not, when you spend your money, you cast a vote. You should do what you can to avoid voting with your dollars for things that you don’t support.

 

But! There are two sides to this coin. Yes, you should not give your money to vendors and venues that insult and disparage your values. And you should spend it with vendors and venues that uphold them.

 

Which brings us to Alabama. Its citizens made headlines on December 12, 2017 when they elected Democrat Doug Jones to be their next Senator instead of Republican Roy Moore.

 

You should reward Alabama for this.

 

Are you planning a vacation anytime soon? Look into Alabama.

 

See the state’s official tourism website:

http://alabama.travel

 

Also check out the Alabama section on the Visit the USA site:

https://www.visittheusa.com/state/alabama

 

Make notes. Think. Plan. Budget. Go. Add your dollars to the more than $13 billion that more than 25 million visitors spent in Alabama in 2015.

 

And when you do, tell everyone that you chose Alabama because Alabamians chose Doug Jones as their Senator.

 

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!

 

 

See a May 2017 article about Alabama tourism figures:

http://www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2017/05/alabamas_tourism_fueled_by_bea.html

 

See the Wired article that calculated North Carolina’s losses related to HB2:

https://www.wired.com/2016/09/guess-much-anti-lgbtq-law-costing-north-carolina/

 

Also see a Business Insider story that gives details on entities that boycotted North Carolina over HB2:

http://www.businessinsider.com/north-carolina-hb2-economic-impact-2016-9

 

And follow @BuzzHuntsville on Twitter, because he’s charming as all get-out.

Escape Your Bubble

Escape Your Bubble: Follow Rick Wilson on Twitter

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

 

Escape your bubble by following Rick Wilson on Twitter.

 

Wilson is a Florida-based political consultant who has worked primarily for Republicans, producing television for Senate candidates, governors, and the like.

 

He gained new prominence during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he turned the full force of his vitriol on Trump and his supporters. Suffice it to say his vitriol is concentrated, deadly, and goddamn entertaining.

 

Obligatory warning, with apologies for bonking you all on the head about this fact: Wilson holds at least some different political beliefs than you do. That means he’ll sometimes say things and do things that don’t match your beliefs, and which might piss you off well and thoroughly. That’s ok. Really, it’s OK. You’re being asked to look at what he’s doing and support what you like, not endorse every last little everything he does. He understands the danger of Trump–that’s the key thing. One of the reasons this country is so borked right now is we’re fiercely polarized and, in avoiding jerks who disagree with us, we end up avoiding decent people who happen to disagree with us. That’s got to stop if we want to make things better.

 

 

Follow Rick Wilson on Twitter:

@TheRickWilson

 

 

Bonus: Read his articles at The Daily Beast, which include this:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/10/the-trouble-with-trump-s-white-house-is-donald-trump

 

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