Read These Blog Posts by John Scalzi, Who Nails It

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

Read these blog posts by John Scalzi on white privilege and being poor. You’ll be better for it.


John Scalzi is a Hugo-award-winning science fiction author of the Old Man series, Redshirts, and others. He’s also written his blog, Whatever, for almost 20 years.


You should read Whatever regardless, because it’s good and he tackles political topics with aplomb. Whatever has one of the few comments sections worth reading because Scalzi moderates exceptionally well.


We wrote this post to direct you to two superlative Whatever posts that relate to issues that underly much of what we talk about on One Thing You Can Do.



The first is Being Poor, a 2005 piece that draws on his memories of having grown up with little money. He regards it as one of the best things he’s ever written. He’s right:

Being Poor

Here also is its followup, “Being Poor,” Ten Years On:

“Being Poor,” Ten Years On



The second must-read is from 2012. Titled Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is, Scalzi explains the nature of white privilege without using that phrase:

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is



And here is a 2014 followup, The Lowest Difficulty Setting In Action:

The Lowest Difficulty Setting in Action

We’re not sure if Scalzi has commented on the quality of Straight White Male but we think it’s among the best things he’s written.



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Join Knock Every Door and, Well, #KnockEveryDoor

This OTYCD post originally appeared in June 2018.


Join Knock Every Door, a progressive organization that recruits door-to-door canvassers willing to talk about candidates and issues that matter.


Knock Every Door was born in the wake of the 2016 election. It acts on research that shows that face-to-face conversations are the most effective way to get voters to the polls.


It supports volunteer door-knockers through training, providing materials, and helping with data entry. The organization allows local groups a great deal of flexibility over which issues to pursue. It exerts more control over canvassing for candidates; they do not canvass for Republicans and they may choose to back individual Democrats in a primary.


See the Knock Every Door website:



Read its ‘About’ page:



Read its FAQ:



Read about what, specifically, Knock Every Door will do for its volunteers, and read about the organization’s embrace of what it calls “deep canvassing”:




Follow Knock Every Door on Twitter:



Donate to Knock Every Door:



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Follow Alexandra Erin on Twitter

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.


Follow Alexandra Erin on Twitter.


Erin is an author, poet, trans woman and all-round smart person who lives in Maryland and has an exceptional gift for interpreting and explaining Donald Trump, whether he is tweeting madly or reading someone else’s words off a teleprompter. She makes sense when it seems like there is no sense to be made.


Sample her genius by reading this Twitter thread on Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on February 28:



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Read her blog here:



Support her here:




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Read What an Expert on Authoritarian Thinking Told John Dean About Trump Supporters

This OTYCD entry originally posted in November 2017.


Read a piece by John W. Dean–yes, the John W. Dean who served as counsel to President Nixon in the early 1970s–in which he talks to Bob Altemeyer, a retired psychology professor who specialized in authoritarian thinking, about Trump supporters.


Altemeyer authored the books The Authoritarian Specter, Right Wing Authoritarians, and Enemies of Freedom. He talks with Dean about how Trump supporters think, why they think that way, and what it would take to get them to change their thinking.


It’s not an inspiring read, so we’re going to jump to the end and quote Dean’s final paragraph:

“With that information in mind, from someone who may understand Trump supporters better than Trump does, it is clear that to prevail in 2018 and 2020, Democrats must focus on getting sympathetic non-voters to the polls, and bring back into the fold the anti-Hillary folks, who suffered from Clinton exhaustion—voters who are clearly not right-wing authoritarians.”

Read Altemeyer on Trump Supporters, which Dean wrote as an entry for his column on the Verdict website:



…Once you’ve done that, go to our “Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression” category, pick something that sounds good to you, and act.


You can also subscribe to Verdict, the folks who publish Dean’s column:



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Read How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.


Read this January 2017 Scientific American column by Michael Shermer on how to convince someone when facts fail.


Once upon a time, everyone agreed that you can have your own opinions, but you can’t have your own facts. Sadly, companies such as Fox News learned to make mad profits off of selling people a set of facts that just plain feels better to them than the reality that the rest of the news media reflects.


Twenty-one years later, we’re in an ugly situation where Fox News finds itself beset by upstarts that pander even more blatantly to what a subset of people want to believe, regardless of whether it’s accurate or true.


Talking to true believers is tough, and maddening. Getting through to them is even harder. Shermer, a professional skeptic and publisher of Skeptic magazine, discusses the phenomenon and has good advice on how best to handle it.


Read his column on how to convince someone when facts fail:


*Full disclosure: One of us at OTYCD was active in the skeptic movement in the 1990s and met and worked with Shermer on several occasions.


Join the Network for Public Education and Combat Betsy DeVos’s Agenda

This OTYCD entry originally posted in May 2017.


Want to resist the democracy-destroying agenda of Department of Education head Betsy DeVos? Join the Network for Public Education.


Founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch, a historian of education and author of numerous books, including Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform and The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, it aims to protect and defend the nation’s public school system from the forces that would destroy it.


Visit the Network for Public Education’s web page:



See its agenda:



Join its grassroots network (scroll down to find your state):



Review its Toolkit that explains school privatization, and why it’s a problem:



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Donate to the Network for Public Education:



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Pretend You Are On a Deserted Island

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.


News of high crimes and misdemeanors is coming thick and fast, but the lawyers need time to build their case. Hang in there, and pace yourself.


The fourth estate, in particular marquee papers such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, have stepped up and delivered, over and over, with the help of appalled and willing leakers. So many bombshell revelations have hit the Trump administration it’s a wonder it’s still standing.


Trump is doomed, and he has only himself to blame. He entered office eligible for impeachment, due to his utterly inadequate attempts to satisfy the Emoluments clause of the Constitution. We now know his most trusted team members, Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner, were thoroughly entangled in dark doings with Russia. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and admitted, point blank, in a television interview that he did it to try to stop the #TrumpRussia investigation. Comey claims that during a January dinner, Trump tried to get him to pledge his loyalty to him, and he rightly refused.


Any one of those things should sink him. The wheels of justice seem to turn agonizingly slow–and indeed, they do, by design. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, the lawyers have to carefully and meticulously build their case.


A good way to get through this weird patch of American history is to pretend you are stranded on a deserted island.


The world knows your ship sank, and knows where it went down. Rescue is coming, but not today, and not next week.


Sure, it makes sense to spell out ‘Help’ on the beach and try to wave down passing planes and ships. (For which read: Demanding an independent #TrumpRussia investigation, demanding investigations into Trump’s ethics violations, and generally demanding that your MoCs keep the heat on and do their jobs.)


But you can’t count on those things paying off immediately, or at all. In the meantime, you need to learn to the lay of the land, and you need to do the hard work of keeping yourself alive. (For which read: Everything else you can do to push back against Trump, from supporting Democrats and non-lunatic Republicans in special elections, petitioning your MoCs on other critical matters, fighting voter suppression, joining marches and protests, you name it.)


And when you can, you should give yourself a few hours off from the hard work of survival and lie on your pretty little beach and sip coconut milk. Self-care is key, and should not be neglected.


Hang in there.


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