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Believe It, You Matter: You Need a Longer Break? Take It. Just Please Come Back, OK?

Hi there. Sarah Jane here. I write the Believe It, You Matter entries.

 

Over and over on this blog, we stress the importance of regular self-care. It’s one of the four things listed under The Most Important Thing You Can Do. [Yes, we know it says The Most Important THING you can do. We cheated.]

 

But sometimes, regular self-care isn’t enough, and you have to step away for a longer spell.

 

I am writing this to tell you explicitly: If stepping away for a longer spell is what you need to avoid burnout, do it. Just please come back, OK?

 

There are days when I Cannot News Anymore, and I have to stop and mainline the Great British Baking Show instead. It happens. Sometimes it sneaks up on me.

 

Sometimes I go weeks between signing into the One Thing You Can Do Twitter account, because life happens, and because sometimes I come down with an acute case of I Cannot News Anymore.

 

Know how I handle it?

 

I step away, I let the blog run evergreens, and I aggressively refuse to beat myself up for stepping away.

 

Then, when I’m ready, I come back.

 

You matter. Your voice matters, and your vote matters, even if it doesn’t feel that way. We need you to stay here to carry on the fight, and we’ll still need you after Trump goes. Hell, we’ll probably need you more then.

 

If it’s all too much, step away and rest. But please come back. Always come back.

 

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!

 

 

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Subscribe to Rogan’s List and Keep Busy

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

 

Subscribe to the Rogan’s List blog, and get to work. 

 

Susan Rogan will keep you as busy as you want to be. The retired university librarian’s blog gives you more than a dozen useful nuggets of information per day, almost every day, from actions to tools to organizations to join, and more. Are you extra-eager to do more? Start here. The newest Rogan’s post tends to go live around 9 am EST.

 

See the Rogan’s List blog, and subscribe (plug your email address into the slot above Rogan’s picture and below the shot of the to-do list):

 

http://roganslist.blogspot.com

 

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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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.

 

 

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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Believe It, You Matter, Part X: We May Not Get Everything We Want. Keep Fighting Anyway.

This OTYCD post originally ran in August 2018.

 

Believe It, You Matter, Part X: We May Not Get Everything We Want. Keep Fighting Anyway. 

 

You might have noticed that people are pissed about the way things are going. You might be one of those pissed-off people. Team Trump and its shitshow of corruption, cruelty, and pro-bully tactics have spurred millions to do more to push back.

 

A fair number of registered Republicans–including some high-profile ones–have left the party and gone independent. Many folks who were never politically active stepped up after the November 2016 election. They went to protests for the first time in their lives. Same again for phone-banking, knocking on doors, donating to causes and candidates, and calling their members of Congress. A small but heroic number found the courage to run for office.

 

It is unprecedented. It is organic. It might be unique in the history of America. And it should continue as long as Team Trump keeps crazy-assing and the GOP keeps shirking its duties to check Team Trump’s fucked-up, hateful, hurtful actions.

 

But! While we are righteous, motivated, and strong, we could still lose.

 

Take the SCOTUS nomination battle. Team Trump and the GOP are determined to ram their choice through before the midterms. We don’t want that. But because Democratic Senators are in the minority, there’s only so much they can do to stop it.

 

They will do what they can. They will fight. And, as we at OTYCD have asked, you should call your Senators and urge them to fight (if they’re Democrats) or vote no if they’re Republicans. Yes, your Republican Senators probably won’t change their votes, but they need to know their constituents oppose them on this, and will work to vote them out if they move a Trump nominee along.

 

But we could lose this one, and losing this one would be bad. People you love will be hurt by a SCOTUS dominated by hard-right judges. People you love could die as a result of a hard-right SCOTUS decision. You could lose your health insurance. Gerrymandering might get a yellow or green light. Voting rights might be curtailed. Parts of the Constitution that annoy evangelical Christians, greedy corporations, racists, and committed bullies could be muzzled and stomped upon. Democracy could be smothered. [Edited to add: This post was written and queued before the Senate approved Kavanaugh by a 51-49 vote.]

 

The answer is to keep fighting.

 

The only way to stop the SCOTUS from being perverted by hard-right extremists is to elect Democrats to the Senate and keep electing Democrats to the Senate until there are enough of them to control the chamber. And once they control the chamber, you need to defend them so they can keep control of the chamber and stop hard-right extremists from getting on the court.

 

If Democrats controlled the Senate now, they could refuse any nominee who’s stupidly hard-right and continue to refuse until Team Trump puts forward an actual moderate. But they don’t, so they can’t.

 

But if you curl into a ball and quit when the news of InJustice EvilJerk’s swearing-in breaks, we all lose.

 

Same again with the 2018 midterms. Things generally look good right now. But we won’t get absolutely everything we want. Simply from a mathematic standpoint, it’s unlikely that every Democrat wins and every Republican loses. There are too many races, at too many levels. There will be losses, and some of those losses might be tough.

 

Plus, there’s an elephant in the room (or, rather, the polling place). Having successfully messed with the 2016 elections, Russia’s hackers will be keen to try again in November 2018, and Team Trump has yet to order the National Security Agency (NSA) to take the steps needed to defend our country from those attacks.

 

Again, if you curl into a ball and quit when news breaks of, say, Iowa House Rep Steve King’s reelection, we all lose.

 

Yes, rest. Yes, unplug. Yes, take time away. You are allowed to have fun. You are allowed to do things that make you happy. Heck, it’s vital. Drafting and sticking with a self-care routine is one of the most important things you can do.

 

Rest. Recharge. Frolic. Forget for a few hours or days, maybe even weeks. But come back. Always, always come back. We need you.

 

And hey, getting mad is OK, too. Crying is OK. Despairing is OK. Feeling the force of your emotions is OK! But come back. Always, always come back. We need you.

 

Trump will go, but you must not.

 

You’ve got to stay here and carry on the fight.

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Remember to Donate to Food Banks During the Summer Months, When Schools Are Closed

This OTYCD post originally appeared in April 2018.

 

Remember to make a point of donating to your local food banks during the summer months, when schools are closed.

 

Students who receive free and reduced-price school meals can suffer during the summer, when their schools close. Their schools are often their most reliable source of nutritious meals. While many communities have programs that feed children under 18 during the summer, not all do.

 

It’s almost a cliche to volunteer at soup kitchens and food banks during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but summer is when the need can be keenest.

 

Food donations are always welcome at food banks, but donations of money are even more effective. Also ask your food bank if they accept donations of diapers, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products, which cannot be purchased with food stamps.

 

 

Find your nearest food bank:

http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/

 

 

Donate to the AmpleHarvest.org food pantry network:

http://ampleharvest.org/donate-m1/

 

 

Find the nearest summer meals program in your community:

https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

 

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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Volunteer At a Rape Crisis Center or Sexual Assault Hotline

Volunteer at a rape crisis center or a sexual assault hotline.

 

Even before he was elected, Donald Trump caused dark memories to surface in the minds of victims of rape and sexual assault.

 

Since his election, things have been just as intense. The #MeToo movement has forced the downfall of prominent abusers such as Harvey Weinstein and encouraged victims who suffered at the hands of other high-profile men to speak out and seek justice.

 

The news about Rob Porter, who was employed by the White House and finally ousted once domestic abuse allegations came to light, added to the intensity.

 

Calls to rape crisis centers have spiked since late 2016 and remain high. If you can volunteer with a rape crisis center or a sexual abuse hotline, please consider it.

 

The best known is the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its National Sexual Assault Hotline takes calls around the clock and connects people with support services nearest to them. It also helps those who contact them online. To date, RAINN has assisted more than 2.5 million people.

 

If you can’t volunteer at a rape crisis center or a sexual assault hotline, consider donating   to RAINN or a RAINN partner crisis center in your area. You can also follow RAINN and local organizations on social media and spread awareness of their efforts.

 

 

Volunteer for RAINN’s online hotline:

https://www.rainn.org/articles/volunteer-national-sexual-assault-hotline

 

 

Volunteer with a RAINN partner crisis center near you:

https://volopps.rainn.org

 

 

If you are a sexual assault or rape victim who needs help, call the RAINN hotline:

800.656.4673

 

 

Those needing support can also access Rainn’s online hotline in English:

https://hotline.rainn.org/online/

 

…and Spanish:

https://rainn.org/es

 

 

If you are a sexual assault or rape victim serving in the military, you can contact the Department of Defense (DOD) Safe Helpline, also run by RAINN (scroll down for the full list of resources):

https://safehelpline.org/about

 

 

Donate to RAINN:

https://rainn.org/impact-your-gift-rainn

 

 

Like RAINN on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RAINN01/

 

 

Follow RAINN on Twitter:

@RAINN

 

 

Read a November 2017 Washington Post article on the rise in calls to rape crisis centers as a result of Trump’s Access Hollywood tape, the #MeToo movement, and similar events:

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/calls-to-rape-crisis-centers-are-surging-amid-the-outpouring-of-sexual-assault-allegations/2017/11/22/3d0bec6a-ce12-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.6b57e3bd3614