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Support Miry’s List, Which Assists Refugee Families Who Settle in Southern California

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

 

Want to help refugee families who have just arrived in America? Check out Miry’s List, which provides new arrivals to southern California with basic needs.

 

Miry Whitehill-Ben Atar launched Miry’s List in July 2016 after encountering a Syrian refugee family of five, with five-year-old twins and a five-month-old, who had just come to California and needed baby gear and groceries. After getting them set, she realized that she had unwittingly found a gaping hole in the social safety net, and created Miry’s List to fill it.

 

As of February 2017, Miry’s List had completely taken care of the needs of 60 refugee families in southern California. It is in the process of becoming a 501(3)c organization.

 

 

Join Miry’s List:

https://www.miryslist.org/give

 

 

See the current Miry’s List roster of families needing help:

https://www.miryslist.org/lists

 

 

Donate to Miry’s List:

https://www.miryslist.org/donations

 

 

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!

 

 

Like Miry’s List on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/miryslist

 

 

Follow Miry’s List on Twitter:

@miryslist

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Learn to Evangelize (In a Good Way)

This OTYCD post originally appeared in February 2018. 

 

Learn, and practice, how to tell the story of the candidates you support, and become an evangelist for them.

 

One of the most important things you can do to push back against Trump is convince people to come out and vote against his democracy-destroying agenda. But if you really want to be effective, you want to immerse yourself in the merits and the story of a non-Trumpish candidate, fully master it, and be ready to make a powerful, personal, eloquent case for voting for them.

 

Now, a personal confession. Sarah Jane here. I’m the founder of the OTYCD blog and the lead wrangler of research and of its anonymous writers. This is my 2016 story.

 

So it’s late 2015 or so and the election is starting to gear up. I resign myself to voting for Clinton. I’m meh on her but I don’t think Bernie can do the job, the Republicans are all thoroughly horrible, and the third party options look miserable, too.

 

But at some point I see clips from that eleven-hour Congressional Benghazi hearing.

 

And I see Clinton own those Republican twerps like the boss she is. Own. Them. Completely and thoroughly. She cleans the floor with them till she can see her face in it, and she doesn’t even break a sweat. She slays. She dominates. She destroys. Through her actions and her attitude, she reveals the hearings for what they are–a formal, coordinated attempt to kneecap her 2016 presidential campaign–and she ain’t havin’ it. At all.

 

And I realized: She can do this, and she wants to do this. She is crazy-smart and ludicrously skilled, and she has a skin as thick as a rhino’s, and she actually wants to be president. She’s been through hell and back so many times, from so many different directions, she could write a guidebook on it for Lonely Planet. She has taken far more than her allotted ration of shit in this life. She has long since earned the right to walk in the woods and play with her grandkids. But she wants to do this. Damn. Whoa.

 

In that moment I became a Clinton convert. The scales fell from my eyes. I went from ‘meh’ to ‘yeah!’ I was *excited* to vote for her. Not as much as I was for Obama, but I was excited.

 

Now, here’s my sin: I didn’t tell anyone about my change of heart. At no point before the 2016 election did I speak up to anyone else and say why I was excited to vote for her.

 

I donated to her campaign. I voted for her in the primary. I stayed on top of the issues. I watched all three debates. I voted for her for president. But never did I ever sit with friends and family and spontaneously say why I was so jazzed to vote for Hillary Clinton.

 

I live in a state that went overwhelmingly for Clinton. I can tell myself that not speaking well of her once I started thinking well of her made no difference.

 

But c’mon. What if more of us had shown genuine enthusiasm for voting for her? What if more of us had evangelized for her?

 

What if our friends and family made note of that, and passed the word to others–that there are people out there, sane and fine people, who actually like Clinton and want to vote for her?

 

Don’t get me wrong–I realize she had a fine contingent of folks who did speak well of her, early and often, and I realize a goodly number of them read this blog. I’m wondering how things might be different if that contingent were bigger, and if folks who share my Clinton journey had stepped up and joined it.

 

The overriding perception was that those who cast votes for either major presidential candidate in 2016 did so while holding their noses.

 

Remember the ‘Giant Meteor 2016’ bumper stickers? Judging by the way the election was covered, no one would blame you for thinking it was a giant nationwide game of ‘Would You Rather?’

 

It wasn’t, or at least it wasn’t for me. I liked Clinton, and I still like her, and what she stands for. And I’ve gone from being irked to pissed to stabby about how the right wing noise machine has done its level best to smear her for 30 goddamn years.

 

It’s too late to do right by Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate. But you can devote yourself to becoming a better evangelist for non-Trumpish candidates running in special elections and in 2018 who will restore and defend our democracy. (“Non-Trumpish” candidates include Republicans and conservatives who have spines, btw.)

 

You don’t have to formally join their campaigns to be effective. Heck, you might be more effective if you don’t. Just do your damnedest to learn about them, and what they stand for, and figure out what it is about them that you connect with most, and tell others why.

 

You have power. You have friends and family who listen to you and value what you have to say. Hearing people you trust speak happily, and authentically, about a candidate for office helps that candidate’s chances of winning that office.

 

Speaking up is scary. Some people will challenge you, talk over you, even yell at you and try to shout you down. But you need to speak up anyway. It’s too important. Do not succumb to silence. Do what you have to do to learn how to speak up, and get good at it, and start working on it now, in summer 2017, well before the primaries.

 

We need you. We need every voice. Our democracy depends on it.

 

Update: Since I wrote this I realized (headsmack) that many of those who stuck up for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign got shouted down, and they’re still getting shouted down months later. I can only point back to my own experience.

 

I know most of my crowd was pro-Clinton, but no one expressed spontaneous enthusiasm for her. I don’t think I would have felt any pushback if I had voiced my enthusiasm in real life (online is of course another matter) but I can’t know because I did not think to try.

 

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Support Democrat Jaime Harrison’s Campaign to Unseat Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in 2020

Support Democrat Jaime Harrison’s campaign to unseat Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in 2020.

 

Graham is among the most infuriating Republicans in the Senate. He shows periodic flickers of self-awareness, but he never lets that get in the way of his craven pursuit of power. The man who once tweeted, “If we nominate Donald Trump, we will get destroyed……. and we will deserve it,” now golfs with the man on the regular.

 

We need someone to run against this malignant twerp. Jaime Harrison has stepped up.

 

He’s going to need our help. The Cook Political Report rates Lindsey’s seat as Solid Republican.

 

Please consider him for your Core Four for 2020.

 

See Jaime Harrison’s campaign website:

Jaime Harrison for Senate

 

Donate to Harrison’s campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_harrison_fr_homepage_2019?refcode=MS_HP_FR_X_X_homepage_X__F1_S1_C1__X&recurring=auto&amount=25

 

Sign up to volunteer for Harrison (if you live in North Carolina): https://go.jaimeharrison.com/page/s/volunteer-sign-up?source=MS_HP_FR_X_X_homepage-signup_X__F1_S1_C1__X

 

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!

 

Like him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/JaimeHarrisonSC/photos/?tab=album&album_id=328073017309141&ref=page_internal

 

Follow Harrison on Twitter:

@harrisonjaime

 

See Harrison’s Ballotpedia page:

https://ballotpedia.org/Jaime_R._Harrison

Community Activism · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Support Your Local Library, Always and Forever

This OTYCD post originally appeared in January 2018.

 

Support your local library, always and forever. 

 

Libraries are many things to many people. They’re often the heart of the community, or at least a vital organ that helps it survive and thrive. Its employees respect knowledge and provide the tools to fight back against fake news and attempts to undermine the truth.

 

Librarians are also foot soldiers in the resistance, both the capital-R Resistance going on now and resistance efforts in the past. When Trump declared his Muslim travel ban, librarians pushed back with “Libraries Are for Everyone”–imagery, book displays, and declarations that underline the fact that libraries are, indeed, open to one and all. Several leading library organizations also condemned the ban.

 

You have many options for supporting your local library.

 

The biggest and most effective one is to use it regularly.

 

Don’t have a library card? Get one, and make sure everyone in your family has one.
Go to the library often. Follow it on social media. Attend library events that interest you, and bring friends.

 

Spend liberally at library book sales. Check out books and other media, and bring them back on time.

 

If you don’t use your library you do run the risk of losing it.

 

You can also volunteer, join a “Friends of the Library” group, or donate money. Please stay alert to state and local legislative efforts that might affect library funding and access.

 

As for donating books–first, ask the librarians if they’re accepting book donations and if so, what types of books they’re currently seeking. They may not need what you have; don’t be offended if they turn you down.

 

Also, run the used books’ ISBN numbers through Amazon’s trade-in link to see if they’re actually worth anything (see link below). Don’t donate them unless they are. And don’t be offended if the library ends up selling your donated books.

https://www.amazon.com/Sell-Books/b?node=2205237011

 

 

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!

 

 

Read about how libraries and librarians have been leading the resistance to Trump:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/librarians-protesting-trumps-executive-orders/

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/21/us-libraries-join-struggle-to-resist-the-trump-administration

http://mashable.com/2017/02/21/library-donald-trump-resistance/#h2S2kJpDDmqV

Librarians must resist trumpism

 

 

Read this GOOD article on how librarians have historically been in the forefront of resisting Nazis and other enemies of the truth:

https://www.good.is/articles/rogue-librarians-save-history-and-the-truth

 

 

Follow the Libraries Resist account on Twitter:

@LibrariesResist

 

 

Read about ways to help libraries:

http://www.ilovelibraries.org/get-involved

https://mastersreview.com/8-ways-to-support-your-local-library/

https://www.bustle.com/p/7-ways-you-can-support-your-local-library-47363

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!

Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Senator Doug Jones Needs Your Support in 2020. Also, Stop Talking Shit About Alabama, Please.

Please support Democratic Senator Doug Jones in his run for re-election in 2020. Also, stop talking shit about Alabama, please.

 

Doug Jones pulled out an electrifying victory in the Alabama special Senate election in 2017. In a state where Democrats have trouble getting traction, he defeated Republican Roy Moore.

 

It was awesome. Jones’s win was one of the great cheering victories of the post-2016-election era.

 

The victory was firm, but close–1.5 percent. Moore was an especially noxious Republican candidate. Alabamans of all persuasions joined forces to defeat Moore, and Tony the Democrat’s team of GOTV postcard-writers contributed, too. Had Jones run against anyone else, he might not have won.

 

Well, Jones is up for re-election in 2020. He’s regarded as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat. He needs your help.

 

The good news: the Cook Political Report regards the Alabama Senate race as a toss-up, rather than one that’s lean Republican, likely Republican, or solid Republican. And it feels weird to say Roy Moore’s entry into the race is a good thing, but it is as far as Jones is concerned. He beat him once already, and the national GOP is committed to rejecting Moore.

 

Please consider including Doug Jones in your Core Four for 2020.

 

Also? Stop talking shit about Alabama. Yes, the state’s leaders have been up to some seriously dispiriting nonsense of late.

 

But when you write Alabama off, you write off hordes of native Alabamans who have been, and still are, fighting the good fight.

 

More to the point, you’re writing off the people who toiled to elect Jones in 2017. Cut it out. Don’t cut them out. Ok?

 

See Doug Jones’s campaign website:

https://dougjones.com

 

Donate to Jones’s campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/jones-homepage1

 

Like him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/dougjonessenate/

 

Follow him on Twitter:

@DougJonesHQ

 

 

 

 

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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