Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Believe It, You Matter, Part VII: Avenge Merrick Garland

This OTYCD post originally appeared in April 2018.

 

Believe It, You Matter, Part VII: Avenge Merrick Garland.

 

Sarah Jane here. (I write all the Believe It, You Matter entries.)

 

I went to as many of the big anti-Trump rallies that I could attend in 2017–the Women’s March, the Science March, the Tax March–you name it, I tried to go.

 

The signs at these protests were goddamn amazing. Going into the Science March, I realized I needed to up my sign game. I seriously thought about toting one that said:

AVENGE MERRICK GARLAND

 

Because it made me laugh. Merrick Garland is an inherently nice guy. That’s one of the big reasons why President Barack Obama nominated him for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)–everybody likes Merrick.

 

The idea of avenging the nicest, most likable federal judge who’s not yet on the Supreme Court struck me as funny. But I ultimately decided that the message wasn’t science-y enough. Instead I made a sign that said:

FIGHT TRUTH DECAY

 

…and that got many laughs and compliments.

 

Still, I keep coming back to the idea of avenging Merrick Garland.

 

Let me pause to explain who Merrick Garland is, for those who forgot or who came late to the discussion. Garland is a federal judge who Obama nominated to the SCOTUS seat that opened when Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died in February 2016.

 

As I stated above, Obama chose Garland with purpose and calculation. Garland was 63 at the time–not a young man–and he had long reaped praise from both sides of the aisle. If Garland got a hearing, he’d be chosen for the court. No question.

 

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell countered by … not giving Garland a hearing in the Senate. McConnell, who is known for his asshole moves, topped himself with this one. The New York Times summed it up well by calling it “an aggressive break with protocol.” McConnell came up with a bullshit rationale about not letting a president in his last year in office pick a SCOTUS candidate, and he self-righteously stuck to his bullshit rationale throughout.

 

You know the rest. Trump got elected, and he filled the open seat with Neil Gorsuch–an  inferior choice for SCOTUS, and a noxiously partisan one.

 

But that’s not the whole story. When Trump got elected, you and I and so many more were shocked into action. We mobilized. We organized. We stepped up. We came out. We fought back, and we haven’t stopped fighting back.

 

This is where avenging Merrick Garland comes in.

 

If the angry, alert, civically-engaged network we built after Trump’s election had existed at the time of Garland’s nomination, he’d probably be sitting on the court now. We would have rallied and called our Senators until they relented and gave the man a hearing. And if Garland had gotten a hearing, he almost certainly would have won the SCOTUS seat.

 

You can avenge Merrick Garland by staying alert, staying civically engaged, and staying ready to mobilize and petition your elected officials when they try to flout rules and norms and get away with outrages against democracy.

 

Trump will go, but you must not. Do not drift away after he leaves. Sure, let yourself rest. But we need you to come back, and we need you to keep fighting. For Merrick Garland’s sake.

 

Read about Obama’s choice of Garland, and McConnell’s refusal to hold a hearing for him:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/president-obama-to-nominate-merrick-garland-to-the-supreme-court-sources-say/2016/03/16/3bc90bc8-eb7c-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html?utm_term=.38f29116f7b7

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/senate-obama-merrick-garland-supreme-court-nominee/482733/

https://www.npr.org/2016/03/16/470664561/mcconnell-blocking-supreme-court-nomination-about-a-principle-not-a-person

http://beta.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-supreme-court-nomination-20170131-story.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/merrick-garland-donald-trump-regulations-237052

 

Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Uncategorized

Learn About the Paradox of Tolerance

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

 

Learn about the Paradox of Tolerance, a philosophical concept that allows tolerance to survive and thrive.

 

Philosopher Karl Popper first elucidated the Paradox of Tolerance in 1945. Notice the timing there? 1945? Remember what happened in 1945, and what had happened over the six or so years leading up to it? Yeah, not an accident.

 

Here is Popper’s quote defining the Paradox of Tolerance, taken from his work The Open Society and Its Enemies:

“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if e are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

“In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.”

“We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

 

This is going to be a gross simplification of what Popper is talking about, but at its core, the paradox of tolerance means that at some point, we who uphold liberal democracy have to protect tolerance itself by practicing intolerance toward those who would destroy it if given a chance.

 

To be dead clear–we don’t practice intolerance towards those who we simply don’t like, or whose ideas we find merely distasteful. Do not go medieval on people who insist that Creed is the best band ever. People are allowed to be wrong.

 

People are NOT allowed to act on beliefs that would extinguish the life and liberty of other people. Exhibit A: The Nazis, whose worldview included killing the disabled, imprisoning (and eventually starving to death) minorities and political prisoners, and trying to wipe out all the Jewish people in the world.

 

The neo-Nazis who showed up in Charlottesville in August meant business. They were testing, trying to see just how much they could get away with now that Trump is in power. They chose a smallish college town and chose to come when college was not in session. They came armed. They chanted Nazi slogans. They carried torches. Some came dressed to look like a militia or a police force. They threatened counter-protestors. And one drove his car directly into a crowd of protesters, killing one and injuring 19.

 

The only silver lining to this–and it was a brightly polished one–is that Americans who had been dismissive or skeptical of what the white supremacists and neo-Nazis had been on about snapped to attention after Trump made his comments offering the bad guys aid and comfort. The next big scheduled protest after Charlottesville happened in Boston on August 19. About 20 neo-Nazis and white supremacists showed up; at least 20,000, and by some reports, as many as 40,000 counter-protesters came out to meet them.

 

That is what should have happened, and that is what did happen. Keep showing up to oppose them. Keep being non-violent. Keep calling them out. And yes, let them feel the full force of their terrible choices. If you stand up in public and embrace fascism, Nazism, and racism, you should suffer social stigma. Period. Full stop.

 

So, yes, be intolerant of the intolerant. Be bigoted towards the bigots. But stay nonviolent. Chant. Play instruments with comedy value, like bagpipes, tubas, and kazoos. But don’t go raring to punch Nazis. That’s what they want–they want you to hit back, they want you to hit first. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

 

If the neo-Nazi clown show comes to your town, show up. Turn out in hordes, in swarms, in droves. Show them that their ideas suck and we ain’t having it. But let them have their dumb little meeting and let them come and go unmolested. And never, never give them what they want.

 

Read Popper’s quote on the Paradox of Tolerance GoodReads:

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/25998-the-so-called-paradox-of-freedom-is-the-argument-that-freedom

 

See a cartoon on the Paradox of Tolerance that went viral:

 

Read The Careful, Pragmatic Case Against Punching Nazis in New York magazine:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/08/the-careful-pragmatic-case-against-punching-nazis.html

Community Activism · Ethics · Health Care · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Uncategorized

Help Expose Fake Abortion Clinics

This OTYCD post originally appeared in December 2018.

 

Help expose fake abortion clinics–facilities set up by pro-life groups that mimic abortion clinics, but attempt to pressure women out of seeking the help they need.

 

You’re going to want to sit down for this one. Fake abortion clinics have been a thing since the 1960s. Today, there are more than 4,000 of them across America while there are fewer than 800 legitimate clinics.

 

They are designed to look like medical facilities in every respect, but because they are not actual clinics, they don’t have to abide by HIPAA privacy laws. That’s right–they don’t have to safeguard any medical information that they might receive.

 

These facilities can exist and carry on with their borked mission because what they do is regarded as religious outreach, which is in turn protected by the First Amendment.

 

Activists are trying to hold fake clinics accountable by pursuing them on truth in advertising laws–making them more clearly admit that they are not abortion clinics and do not provide abortions or referrals to abortion clinics.

 

One of the ways they’re doing this is through the #ExposeFakeClinics website, which is a resource hub for those trying to spread the word about fake clinics.

 

Exposing fake clinics takes several forms. They include:

 

Liking online reviews of legitimate clinics

 

Reviewing fake clinics

 

Reporting fake clinics that engage in false advertising

 

Protesting outside of fake clinics (but scroll down for important information about this)

 

 

See the main Expose Fake Clinics webpage:

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com

 

 

Learn how to spot a fake abortion clinic:

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com/what-is-a-cpc-2/

 

 

Learn if there are fake abortion clinics near you:

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com/cpc/

 

 

Take action against fake abortion clinics (note: if the fake clinic you want to protest in front of is physically near a genuine abortion clinic, check with the real one before you start work. If the real one asks you not to protest in person, please don’t):

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com/take-action-1/

 

 

 

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 the Expose Fake Clinics blog:

https://exposefakeclinics.squarespace.com/blog/

 

 

Like Expose Fake Clinics on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/exposefakeclinics

 

Community Activism · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Save These Tools · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Subscribe to Wall-of-Us and Fight Trump

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

 

Subscribe to Wall-of-Us, which offers a weekly collection of actions to push back against Trump.

 

Encouraging greater activism is the goal of Wall-of-Us, which says on its home page, “He promised a wall. He will be stopped by a wall of us.”

 

Every Sunday it sends out four actions that you can take over the course of the coming week. Some are timely, some are long term. All provide food for thought and fuel for concrete action.

 

See the Wall-of-Us home page:

https://www.wall-of-us.org

 

See Brick by Brick, its victory page:

https://www.wall-of-us.org/brick-by-brick/

 

Subscribe to Wall-of-Us:

https://www.wall-of-us.org/subscribe/

 

Donate to Wall-of-Us:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/wall-of-us?refcode=nav

 

Like its Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/1beautifulwall/

 

Follow Wall-of-Us on Twitter:

@1beautifulwall

 

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!

Community Activism · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Believe It, You Matter, Part XIII: The GOP Really Is That Bad

Believe It, You Matter: the GOP really is that bad.

 

Sarah Jane here. I write all the Believe It, You Matter pieces for OTYCD.

 

Some time in 2018, I came across tweets from David Roberts (@drvox) that referenced the results of focus groups convened at various times between 2000 and 2014 with voters. They laid out information that showed what the GOP intended to do, if elected.

 

I’ve had trouble finding direct reference to the George W. Bush-era focus groups, but I was able to find them for the Romney-Ryan campaign in the 2012 cycle.

 

It describes groups convened by a Democratic Super PAC that attempted to alert voters to the extreme nature of the Romney-Ryan platform–promises to cut taxes for the wealthy and essentially destroy Medicare.

 

They hit a truly startling finding.

 

Apparently, a large number of the focus group recruits simply refused to believe that what the Super PAC described was, in fact, the Romney-Ryan platform.

 

They couldn’t wrap their heads around the notion that real politicians would advocate such unpopular and ruinous policies. Did not make sense. Did not compute. So they rejected the notion that the platform was the platform. It couldn’t be. It was cartoonishly evil. Real American politicians aren’t cartoonishly evil, because democracy, and civility, and American values, and rules and norms, and blah blah blah.

 

I’m going to drop the cites here before pivoting. Here’s a passage taken from a 2012 piece by David Roberts for Grist:

 

“If it’s hard for many folks to see the centrism already on offer from Obama, it’s also hard for the general public to see — to really understand — the radicalism on offer from the GOP. In the middle of Robert Draper’s recent New York Times Magazinepiece on Priorities USA Action, a Democratic super PAC, comes this astonishing detail:

Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.[my emphasis]

That is, of course, an entirely accurate description of the Ryan budget plan. It’s precisely what Romney and the congressional GOP have said they will enact. And yet when voters hear it, it sounds over-the-top, like fear-mongering.

My guess is that most voters wouldn’t believe that the GOP has embarked on a nationwide effort to disenfranchise low-income and minority voters, but that’s just what they’ve done. (Here’s the latest.) Most voters wouldn’t believe that Romney and the GOP want to end the Environmental Protection Agency as we know it, but that is precisely what they have said they will do; Romney has expressed only eagerness to work with the most anti-environmental House of Representatives in the history of the institution.”

 

Here is the July 5, 2012 New York Times piece in which Roberts found the information about the focus group. (Scroll down to the subhead with the words “Last December” in bold:

 

And here is a MaddowBlog piece that references the post-9/11 focus groups. Not an ideal cite, but unfortunately, I can’t find other sources talking about it (I invite others to send them if they find them):

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/why-focus-groups-incredulity-matters

 

 

I realized I should pass on this information about the focus group results, but for months, I couldn’t figure out how. One of the fundamental tenets of OTYCD is to offer bad news with substantial side dishes of, you know, THINGS YOU CAN DO to fight back against what the news represents.

 

The focus group results are important, but they don’t offer anything inherent to act on.

 

Well, I’ve finally figured it out.

 

You can use this information when you talk to friends and family about the importance of voting.

 

It seems gross and Pollyanna-ish to find a silver lining in the torrent of bullshit that Trump has rained upon us since November 2016, but there is this:

 

The disbelief that people expressed earlier in the century about the GOP should have evaporated by now.

 

People should be far more likely to believe that the GOP and its goals are cartoonishly evil.

 

Only people who are cartoonishly evil would stick with Trump, despite the mountains upon mountains of evidence that he’s incompetent, incapable, venal, self-serving, and thoroughly corrupt.

 

Only people who are cartoonishly evil would support placing babies in cages.

 

Only people who are cartoonishly evil would go mute in the face of Trump’s outrageous capers with Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Mohammad bin Salman, and other autocrats.

 

Only people who are cartoonishly evil would plow ahead with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh after the president, who was, by then, credibly accused of a felony by Michael Cohen, placed 93 percent of Kavanaugh’s work product under the veil of executive privilege, and off-limits to their evaluation.

 

Only people who are cartoonishly evil would stand by while Trump refuses to safeguard elections and announces he’d be open to accepting information about opponents from foreign governments, which is a crime.

 

Only people who are cartoonishly evil… I could write so many more of these. You get the point.

 

When you talk to friends and family about the importance of voting, you can say “I don’t know what happened, but the GOP has completely gone around the bend. [Reel off a bunch of things they’ve done under Trump, describing each with neutral, factual, uncharged language. That means don’t use the phrase “cartoonishly evil,” btw.] Even if you don’t normally vote for Democrats, it’s important you do so now, to help the country find its way back to something that looks like sanity.”

 

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Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Support Democrat Maxine Waters for Re-Election to A House Seat in California’s 43rd Congressional District (GOOD UPDATE July 2019)

Update July 2019: Okay, you’ve long since figured this out, given her fierce and unrelenting work against Trump, but we at OTYCD feel it’s important to lace the feed with good updates wherever possible.

 

Democrat Maxine Waters won re-election in 2018.

 

She’s more than worthy of inclusion in your 2020 Core Four. Please keep her in mind.

 

Update, June 9, 2018: Waters came first in her district’s top-two primary on June 5, winning more than 71 percent of the vote. We congratulate Waters and encourage you to support her re-election campaign.

 

Support Democrat Maxine Waters, who’s running for re-election to a House of Representatives seat in California’s 43rd Congressional District.

 

Initially, we at OTYCD were not going to devote a post to Maxine Waters and her re-election campaign. We can only write so many posts about 2018 candidates–we could fill the whole queue with ‘support this person’ stories–and for that reason, we tend to favor challengers, not well-established incumbents.

 

What changed our collective minds? Assholes are gunning for Waters, explicitly, openly, and overtly, and they have been for a long while now.

 

A full roster of professionally awful people have teamed up to support an individual Republican aiming to take her down (we won’t dignify him by typing his name). Think of the worst, most repulsive Trumpistas you can, and yep, they’re almost certainly on the anti-Waters bandwagon and actively raising money to defeat her.

 

Nothing annoys a Trumpista more than a powerful black woman, and Waters annoys them all the more because she calls out lousy Republican behavior effectively and successfully, time and time again.

 

But that Republican twerp who we don’t care to name is not the only Republican who will appear in the June 5, 2018 primary. There are four others as well.

 

True, Waters is not facing Democratic opposition, and the Cook Political Report rates California’s 43rd Congressional District as Solid Democrat, but hey, you know the score. Since November 2016, you’ve helped out any number of special elections and state elections that Democratic candidates were not supposed to win.

 

Is she going to be OK? Is she going to win re-election? Yeah, probably. She beat that Republican twerp three to one in 2016. That said, he hadn’t bat-signaled the troll army then. The minute you think Waters will do fine with what she has is the minute when she might need your help.

 

Auntie Maxine needs us. Let’s help her out.

 

 

Visit Maxine Waters’s campaign website:

https://maxinewatersforcongress.com

 

 

Also see her Congressional website:

https://waters.house.gov

 

 

Add Maxine Waters to your Core Four:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/22/choose-your-fabulous-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 Waters’s campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/maxine-waters-2

 

 

Right around here is the point in the tail-end resources where we’d drop a link to merch if we had one. We’re trying to find an online store that sells ‘Reclaiming My Time’ products with the proceeds funding Waters’s campaign. If you know of one, please go to the About & Subscribe page and email us the info.

 

 

Like Maxine Waters on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MaxineWaters/

 

 

Follow Maxine Waters on Twitter:

@MaxineWaters

 

 

Of course, Maxine Waters is on Luvvie’s list of black women running for elected office in 2018. See our post on this invaluable reference:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/01/13/look-over-luvvies-list-of-black-women-who-are-running-for-office-and-support-them/

 

 

Read a November 27, 2017 Los Angeles Times piece that covers how pro-Trump folk are deliberately and explicitly targeting Maxine Waters for defeat in 2018:

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-waters-gop-challenger-20171027-story.html

 

 

Read about how Waters’s late July 2017 remark during a Congressional meeting about “reclaiming my time” went viral on the scale of “nevertheless she persisted”:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2017/08/01/reclaiming-my-time-is-bigger-than-maxine-waters/?utm_term=.b1c676d118e5

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/7/31/16070822/reclaiming-my-time-maxine-waters-mnuchin-meme

 

 

Learn how Maxine Waters became Auntie Maxine, hero of the Resistance:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/darrensands/how-auntie-maxine-became-a-meme-and-the-hero-of-the-anti?utm_term=.ngqeW26L3A#.bj0q7o30aB

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Make an Appointment to Donate Blood Every Time You Hear About a New Mass Shooting

This OTYCD post originally appeared in November 2018.

 

When news breaks of a new mass shooting in America, make an appointment to donate blood (if you’re eligible to do so). 

 

Because the majority of Americans are in fact sane, we are sickened when we learn of a new mass shooting. It makes us feel powerless as well (and don’t even ask about the decades, yes, decades of effort many of us have devoted, and will continue to devote, to trying to get our gun laws changed).

 

After the June 2017 shooting at the Congressional Republican baseball practice, we at OYTCD suggested that readers donate to the three charities that benefit from the game and also consider donating blood, even if they didn’t live in or around Washington, D.C. Blood donations drop in summer, what with vacations and the other schedule disruptions that come with the season. And Steve Scalise, the Congressman who suffered the worst injuries, definitely needed blood transfusions and continued to need them.

 

So here’s something to consider. Every time you hear about a mass shooting, consider making an appointment to donate blood at a facility near you.

 

Ok, we can almost read your mind–“But I won’t have any blood left if I do that!” If it’s too early for you to donate blood, offer to escort a friend. Or offer to volunteer at a blood donation facility. Or if you’re due to renew your driver’s license and you haven’t indicated you’re an organ donor, do that.

 

Or substitute some other bit of routine community activism that fits. Spend an hour at the library tutoring someone whose first language isn’t English. Donate peanut butter and tuna fish to a food bank. Do something to make your community better that you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to yet.

 

Answer an act of random violence by making the world better. Every bit helps, however small it might seem.

 

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