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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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Learn How to Intervene as a Bystander to Hateful Speech and Acts

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

Learn or refresh yourself on strategies for how to diffuse hateful situations as a bystander.

 

The racist terrorist attack on public transit in Portland, Oregon in May that left two men dead and a third wounded raised awareness about bystander training. The passengers who became victims confronted the ranting man directly when he accosted two young women who appeared to be Muslim, and continued to do so after he made death threats against those who tried to de-escalate the situation.

 

Those who offer bystander training have said that the Portland men didn’t do anything wrong. It would be a shame if the incident scared people off from confronting people who spew hate in public spaces.

 

Here are a bundle of resources that will help you learn how to intervene when you witness hateful situations.

 

 

Start with Maeril’s now-classic cartoon on what to do if you witness Islamophobic harassment.

 

 

Hollaback, a movement devoted to stopping street harassment, offers digital bystander intervention training for a modest fee:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hollaback-bystander-intervention-digital-training-tickets-33624094572

 

 

Read the text of a speech on Bystander Intervention Training given by folks at the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition of Maryland:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8L8vf0joWhQZE9WZHNtSnMxWk0/view

 

 

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!

 

 

See if Collective Action for Safe Spaces is doing a bystander intervention workshop near you, or request one:

http://www.collectiveactiondc.org/our-work/trainings-workshops/

 

 

For background, read a local news account of the Portland attack:

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/05/max_heros_last_words_tell_ever.html

 

 

And read a Slate article about bystander training in the wake of the attack:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/06/02/after_portland_bystander_intervention_training_is_more_important_than_ever.html

 

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GOOD UPDATE! Harley Rouda Beat 15-Term (!) Republican Incumbent Dana Rohrbacher for a House Seat in California’s 48th District

Update, March 24, 2018: YES YES YES! Democrat Harley Rouda beat 15-term Republican incumbent and creepy Vladimir Putin fan Dana Rohrabacher for the House of Representatives seat in California’s 48th District.

 

As a member of the House, Rouda will be up for re-election in 2020. Please consider including him in your 2020 Core Four.

 

Original text of the 2018 post on Rouda’s campaign follows.

 

Support Democrat Harley Rouda’s campaign to win the House of Representatives seat in California’s 48th Congressional District and unseat Republican Dana Rohrabacher.

 

It was inevitable that the 2018 race in California’s 48th would command attention. Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher has held the seat since 1988 (that’s not a typo, you read that right, he’s been there almost 30 years) and he is widely seen as being in the pocket of Vladimir Putin and Russia.

 

This goes beyond an affinity for blinis and borscht.

 

In 2012, the FBI warned Rohrabacher that the Kremlin regards him as being so Russia-friendly that they gave him a code name:

 

 

In October 2017, news broke that House Republican leaders restricted his ability to use Congressional funds on travel because of his closeness to Russia:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/gop-leaders-refusing-to-pay-for-dana-rohrabachers-travel-over-russia-fears

 

 

A June 2016 recording, which was subsequently heard and confirmed by Washington Post reporters, captured House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stating, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly stopped the conversation and swore everyone listening to secrecy.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-mccarthy-ryan-trump-putin-20170517-story.html

 

 

Politico wrote a November 23, 2016 story on Rohrabacher that bluntly calls him “Putin’s Favorite Congressman”:

https://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/putin-congress-rohrabacher-trump-231775

 

 

There’s enough there there that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was reportedly scrutinizing Rohrabacher as of November 2017:

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/11/robert-mueller-dana-rohrabacher-russia-investigation

 

 

The good news is Rohrabacher’s entanglements with Russia have put his House seat in danger. Here are two stories on that theme, both from April 2018:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/everyone-is-painting-gop-congressman-dana-rohrabacher-as-putins-puppet

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-rohrabacher-gop-20180405-story.html

 

 

The Cook Political Report shows the trouble the Republican incumbent is in. It rates his seat as a Toss-up.

 

Democrats need to gain at least 24 seats in the House of Representatives to take control of the chamber. Those who know say that eight of those 24 could flip in California. The 48th is one of those eight.

 

After a ferociously fought June 5, 2018 top-two primary that included eight Democrats among 15 challengers for Rohrabacher’s seat, Harley Rouda took second place by 126 votes. (Thanks again for your efforts, Hans Keirstead.)

 

This seat is eminently gettable, and Rouda is raring to get it. Please look at the links below and see if you can support him. Rouda promises to be tougher on Russia than Rohrabacher is, but to be fair, it’s mathematically impossible not to be tougher on Russia than Rohrabacher is.

 

 

See Rouda’s campaign website:

https://harleyforcongress.com

 

 

See his About page:

https://harleyforcongress.com/about-harley/

 

 

See his Issues page:

https://harleyforcongress.com/issues/

 

 

 

Choose Rouda for your Core Four:

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

 

 

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 Rouda’s campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/rouda?refcode=www

 

 

Volunteer for Rouda:

https://harleyforcongress.com/volunteer/

 

 

Like him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/HarleyforCongress/posts/

 

 

Follow him on Twitter:

@HarleyRouda

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Call Your House Rep and Urge Him or Her to Override Trump’s Veto of Congress’s Termination of His National Emergency Border Declaration

Call your member of the House of Representatives and ask him or her to override Trump’s veto of Congress’s vote to terminate his bullshit national emergency declaration about the southern border.

 

Ok, a recap. Trump has been jonesing for his damn border wall since the campaign, when he claimed he’d get Mexico to pay for it.

 

Of course, Mexico refused to pay for it. So Trump tried to force taxpayers to pay for it.

 

Congress, rightly, said no. There’s no factual basis for a wall that stretches across the entire 2,000-odd mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. It’d be a waste of money, and it won’t do what Trump claims it will. (There are better and more efficient ways to address the legitimate points he has on this score.)

 

When Congress said no, Trump decided to trample the Constitution instead by declaring a “national emergency”.

 

Presidents can declare national emergencies, and until now, they’ve been judicious and responsible in their calls. None have resorted to calling a national emergency when they didn’t get their way on something.

 

In March 2019, Congress called Trump out again. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to terminate the national emergency, and so did the Senate, after much whingeing and weaseling.

 

Trump vetoed the Congressional termination.

 

Congress can override his veto, but both chambers have to muster two-thirds of their members to be successful.

 

The House had little trouble voting to terminate the national emergency order, but that succeeded with less than two-thirds of its members joining the effort.

 

The second time around is harder, by design.

 

If the House of Representatives can’t get two-thirds of its members to vote to override, the override vote cannot proceed to the Senate, and the national emergency takes effect.

 

We need 290 House members to vote to override.

 

On the first go-round, the vote to terminate succeeded by 245 to 182.

 

We need to hold those 245 and add 45 more.

 

This is where you come in.

 

We at OTYCD want you to call your member of the House of Representatives and urge that person to vote to override Trump’s veto.

 

It is harder to get to 290 than it is to get to 245. It means that almost four dozen Republicans have to switch sides.

 

We probably won’t succeed. But we have to try.

 

We at OTYCD expect to make this a daily action until the point is moot.

 

As always, you need to pick up the phone and call, because that’s what Congressfolk pay attention to. If you can’t call, send email.

 

Sample script:

 

“Dear (House Rep Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname of town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to override Trump’s veto of the termination of the national emergency he called over the border wall.

As an elected official in Congress, I expect you to uphold the Constitution and fulfill your role as a check on Trump. With this act, he is trying to do an end run around our system of laws, and of checks and balances. [If your House Rep voted to terminate the national emergency on the first go round, say thank you here. If your House Rep supported Trump, say something like, ‘This is your chance to show that you will fulfill the oath you took when you were sworn in/sworn in again in January.’ This is bigger than Trump, and is bigger than any one person. Please do the right thing and override Trump’s veto.”

 

See a Business Insider story about the vote in the House to terminate Trump’s national emergency:

https://www.businessinsider.com/house-vote-national-emergency-termination-trump-border-wall-2019-2

 

 

See an NBC News story on the vote in the Senate to terminate Trump’s national emergency, which led to his veto:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-vows-veto-resolution-terminating-his-national-emergency-declaration-n983106

 

 

See a CNN story about Nancy Pelosi scheduling the House of Representatives vote to override the veto on March 26, 2019:

https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-veto-national-emergency/h_3b298f1c29ee231af2621e6516b5e34f

 

 

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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Support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), which defends the first amendment rights of military personnel against coercion by fundamentalists of all stripes.

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein founded the MRFF in 2005 with the aim of combatting extremists, usually Christians, who attempt religious intimidation against military colleagues who do not share their views. It has assisted more than 50,000 active duty military, about 96 percent of whom identify as Christian. The remaining four percent comprise adherents of other faiths, or profess no faith. The MRFF has pursued legal action against the Pentagon and the Secretary of Defense on behalf of military plaintiffs who have been wronged by the actions of overly aggressive fundamentalist Christians.

The MRFF’s mission statement includes these tenets, among others:

  • No religion or religious philosophy may be advanced by the United States Armed Forces over any other religion or religious philosophy.
  • No member of the United States Armed Forces may be compelled in any way to conform to a particular religion or religious philosophy.
  • No member of the United States Armed Forces may be compelled in any way to witness or engage in any religious exercise.
  • No member of the military may be compelled to endure unwanted religious proselytization, evangelization or persuasion of any sort in a military setting and/or by a military superior or civilian employee of the military.
  • The full exercise of religious freedom includes the right not to subscribe to any particular religion or religious philosophy. The so-called “unchurched” cede no Constitutional rights by want of their separation from organized faith.

 

Visit the MRFF website:

https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org

 

Like MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MikeyMRFF

 

Follow him on Twitter:

@MikeyWeinstein

 

Donate to the MRFF:

https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/make-a-donation/