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

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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Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Donate to Republican Bill Weld’s 2020 Campaign for President (Update May 2019)

Update: On April 15, 2019, Weld announced that he would indeed go ahead with a Republican primary challenge to Trump. As of May 11, no other Republicans have stepped up.

 

Donate to Republican Bill Weld’s 2020 campaign for president. 

 

Yes, we at OTYCD just asked you to consider giving money to a Republican. You read that right.

 

Regular readers won’t be surprised. We are, we remain, and we will always be in favor of SANE Republicans. Weld qualifies.

 

Bill Weld is a former governor of Massachusetts, and he ran on the Libertarian ticket in 2016 as the vice presidential candidate.

 

He has announced an exploratory committee for 2020, but he only says he’ll run if he gets enough donations to make a campaign worthwhile.

 

The GOP, craven cowards that they are, does not want Trump to face any challengers in the primary. Other Republicans have publicly mulled stepping up to challenge him, but none have done so as of March 2019.

 

Weld has stepped up, and he will not be scared off.

 

This should go without saying, but to be clear–asking you to consider giving money to Weld does not mean we at OTYCD endorse his platform or his worldview. Some of his positions suck like a Dyson showroom.

 

As Republicans go, he’s definitely one of the ones who suck less. He’s pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights, and in favor of legalizing marijuana. He also ran Massachusetts well for six years in the 1990s.

 

But, yeah, Weld likes stuff you don’t like, for sure, no question. He supports charter schools, and he wants to cut, cut, cut taxes like vampires want to drink blood.

 

If giving money to a Republican is a 100 percent always-and-forever no-go for you, understood, we get it. Go here or here instead today to get things you can do.

 

But if you can’t, or can’t bring yourself, to give money to Weld, consider educating yourself about him and supporting him by spreading the word about his efforts, in person and on social media.

 

Trump can’t win with his base alone, and his base is shrinking by the day. It’s worth it to do what we can to encourage the rise of alternative candidates who appeal to voters who typically vote Republican, but who don’t want to re-elect Trump. Weld fits the bill.

 

Weld says he’ll make his decision in late April or early May. If this is something you can do, please do it.

 

 

Donate to Weld’s 2020 exploratory committee:

https://www.weld2020.org

 

 

Read Ballotpedia’s page on Bill Weld:

https://ballotpedia.org/Bill_Weld_presidential_campaign,_2020

 

 

See his entry on the On The Issues website:

http://www.ontheissues.org/bill_weld.htm

 

 

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 New York Times piece on Weld’s announcement of his 2020 exploratory committee:

 

 

Read a Guardian piece on Weld and his possible 2020 primary challenge:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/23/bill-weld-interview-trump-republican-2020-challenger

 

 

Like Bill Weld on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/GovBillWeld/

 

 

Follow Bill Weld on Twitter:

@GovBillWeld

 

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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

 

Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Read Let America Vote’s Guide to Standing Up for Voting Rights

This OTYCD post originally appeared in August 2018.

 

Read Your Guide to Standing Up for Voting Rights, a document by Let America Vote.

 

We at OTYCD beat the pro-voting-rights drum long, loud, early, and often. We believe that any American who can vote and wants to vote, should vote, and that anything that makes it harder to vote should be defeated and removed.

 

We’d feel this way even if low voter turnout favored Democratic candidates. Voting–giving everyone a voice–is what sets democracy apart from other systems of government. Voting rights should be expanded, and voter suppression should be shamed out of existence.

 

We hope you feel the same way. Let America Vote, an organization founded by Jason Kander, a former secretary of state of Missouri and host of the Crooked Media podcast Majority 54, has created Your Guide to Standing Up for Voting Rights, a comprehensive overview of how to fight back.

 

It identifies voter suppression gambits to watch for, and explains why they’re bad. It also describes pro-voting policies to support, and explains why they’re good.

 

It also tells you which officials on the local, state, and federal levels have power over voting rights, and how best to make your voice heard.

 

As of mid-January 2018, the Let America Vote document hadn’t been updated to reflect the fact that Trump has disbanded the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, aka the voter fraud commission, and has asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take over some of its work. Still, if fighting voter suppression matters to you, make time to read the guide.

 

 

Download the PDF document, Your Guide to Standing Up for Voting Rights:

https://www.letamericavote.org/guide-standing-voting-rights/

 

 

Visit the Let America Vote page:

https://www.letamericavote.org

 

 

Learn about restrictive voting laws that might apply in your state:

https://www.letamericavote.org/states/

 

 

Like Let America Vote on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/letamericavote/

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@LetAmericaVote

 

 

Apply to intern with Let America Vote:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc8QCrO26Rw_ciCPQSrfNEG8DuCCoZLAASK_ZsCIJ_s1YzAow/viewform

 

 

Volunteer to help Let America Vote:

https://secure.letamericavote.org/page/s/get-involved

 

 

Donate to Let America Vote:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/lav-main?recurring=true

 

 

Download and listen to the Majority 54 podcast:

https://crooked.com/podcast-series/majority-54/

 

 

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Learn to Help Friends and Family Who Want to Do More Than Register to Vote

This OTYCD post originally appeared in July 2018.

 

Learn to help friends and family who want to do more than just register to vote.

 

Sarah Jane here. We at OTYCD have encouraged you to talk to friends and family about voting, and make it as easy and as painless as possible for them to register, learn where their polling place is, and plot how they will physically get to the polls on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

 

But what if they ask you about doing more than that? What if they’re excited, or concerned, or both about the direction the country is threatening to take, and they want to go beyond making sure they themselves are registered to vote?

 

May we humbly suggest you send them to this very blog?

 

 

Start by sending them to our page on The Most Important Thing You Can Do (we cheated, there’s actually four):

https://onethingyoucando.com/the-most-important-thing-you-can-do/

 

 

Also suggest they read the third entry in the Believe It: You Matter series, The Parable of Eating Less Meat. It’s about how activism is not a competition, and everything counts.

If you went from doing nothing to doing something, and you do that something consistently, you win. Doesn’t matter how big or small the something is.

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

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/04/16/believe-it-you-matter-part-iii-the-parable-of-eating-less-meat/

 

 

And if you want to suggest that they subscribe to the blog, we won’t stop you.

 

 

Also encourage them to visit postcardstovoters.org and volunteer to write Get Out The Vote (GOTV) postcards, using their own supplies.

 

Of all the things I (Sarah Jane) have done to push back against Trump since November 2016, writing postcards to voters has been the most satisfying.

 

I can write postcards anytime Tony the Democrat and friends have a campaign going, which is almost always. (The few times when they’re between campaigns, I prep postcards for future campaigns by decorating them with rubber stamps.)

 

Writing postcards to voters doesn’t require knocking on doors, calling people, or otherwise approaching strangers, which is terrifying to an introvert like me.

 

Let’s be clear, though. I do all that stuff, too, and I recommend it, but writing postcards to voters is something I can do whenever I want, for as long as I want, and I can set it aside if need be. I call it my civic knitting–each postcard is a stitch that strengthens democracy.

 

Also? New research shows that hand-writing postcards to voters is just as effective at getting out the vote as canvassing (physically knocking on doors), and sometimes more effective.

 

For more, see this June 22, 2018 piece from Blue Virginia called The Mighty Pen Prevails: In the Digital Age, Handwritten Voter Contact Is a Powerful Secret Weapon:

https://bluevirginia.us/2018/06/the-mighty-pen-prevails-in-the-digital-age-handwritten-voter-contact-is-a-powerful-secret-weapon

 

 

If your friends and family are open to supporting candidates, point them to the OTYCD post on the Core Four Strategy:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/04/08/choose-your-core-four-for-2018/

 

 

Helping eager friends and family learn who’s running for election and re-election in 2018 and find candidates to support is pretty next-level, but if you have the time and energy to do it, we at OTYCD encourage you to follow through.

 

 

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