Postcard campaigns, especially Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaigns. We liked these already but started liking them even more when our readers showed they agreed with us. Look under the ‘Postcard Campaigns’ heading to find fresh ones that you can join.
Defending the right to vote. We at OTYCD feel that anyone who’s eligible to vote and wants to vote should vote. We also think it’s shitty that Republicans see denying the vote as an electoral strategy, and we view it as a symptom of the rot affecting that political party. Expect us to cover voting rights issues of all sorts, from gerrymandering to automatic voting to fighting voter ID laws to helping felons regain the right to vote.
Federal, state, and local candidates of interest. The election of Donald Trump shocked lots of far, far better-qualified people into running for office. We will continue to devote posts to candidates of interest–Democrats and the occasional sane Republican–who are running for local, state, and federal posts. If we ask you to “watch” or “keep an eye” on them, we’re indicating that it’s early days yet, both for the candidate and the election in question, and you’ll want to keep tabs for now. Pieces on candidates running in special elections that happen soonish will probably ask you to “support” them.
Calls to pace yourself and stick with activism. Trump will go, but you must not. The Republican Party wasn’t always this borked, and not every Republican is borked, but too many of them are. They used to be willing to respect rules and norms, and they used to be able to recognize Democrats as legitimate. But as Jon Stewart pointed out when he was still at The Daily Show, years ago now, after Obama got elected, “They think tyranny is losing.” Until the Republicans fix themselves and elect and support people who don’t think tyranny is losing, and can treat Democrats as human beings who think differently rather than enemies to be opposed at every turn, we need you to step up and speak out.
The Republican Party will still be borked after Trump leaves. It will still have too few John McCains and Lisa Murkowskis and too many Mitch McConnells and Paul Ryans. We need you to stay here and carry on the fight. (And yes, we hear you saying, ‘But I don’t like John McCain or Lisa Murkowski either!’ We will never get an all-Democrat Congress, but we can aim for a mostly-sane-and-mostly-rules-and-norms-respecting Congress.)
The key to doing that is to pace yourself and your activism. You can’t go full tilt 24/7/365 even if it feels like the world is burning down around you. Rest is vital. Identify what helps you chill out, commit to it, figure out a chill-out routine, and stick to it.
This is neither a sprint nor a marathon. This is exercise. This is gardening. This is long game stuff. Do not burn your candle at both ends all day, every day. We need your light, and we need it to last as long as possible.
An update about in-person protests, dated May 2020: We at OTYCD have alerted readers to upcoming protests for as long as we’ve been around. Because COVID-19 is nasty, absurdly contagious, and Very Much Still a Thing, we will NOT post about upcoming in-person protests until the pandemic is under control.
This doesn’t mean we disapprove of those who are now choosing to attend protests in person, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean we disapprove of the aims of many of these protests.
It just means we’re not comfortable endorsing the notion of participating in a protest that requires people to gather in the same physical space in large numbers.
It comes down to this: We at OTYCD won’t ask you to do something we won’t do ourselves. We used to go to All! The! Protests! But since COVID-19 arrived, we’ve attended exactly… none, for various personal reasons.
Instead, we’ll point you to protest alternatives, such as boosting hashtags on social media. We also expect to promote ways to support those who choose to protest in person, such as donating to bail funds. But until COVID-19 is no longer a serious threat, we won’t be posting details and particulars about in-person protests.
And a word about online petitions. We almost never write about them because we’re convinced you’re better off calling your MoCs, or state reps, or local reps, or going to a protest, or donating time or money, or reading an article, or recruiting friends and family to call… pretty much anything else is more effective activism than signing a petition.
The only petition we’ve written about was the one on the WhiteHouse.gov platform that urged Donald Trump to release his tax returns. We wrote about it well after it had reached the 100,000-signature threshold, and we only did it to urge you all to, in effect, run up the score and make it the most-signed WhiteHouse.gov petition ever.
You can see it at the link below. It racked up 1.1 million signatures before it closed on February 19, 2017.
Whitehouse.gov is official, well-run, and every signature is legit.
Did it convince Trump to release his tax returns? Nope.
Bob Mueller has access to Trump’s tax returns now, so we hope the larger point is moot, but, hey, we did use the petition to meet our goal of making it the most-signed on that platform. Yay for that, and yay for its symbolic value. But that petition didn’t achieve what it set out to do.
If you want to do something that has a shot in heck of doing good, save your energy for other actions. Seriously, following someone on Twitter or liking them on Facebook has more of an effect than signing a petition, in our opinion. Time is short and your energy is finite. We won’t get you mad without giving you the tools to fight back, and we don’t want you to waste your efforts. Ever. That’s why OTYCD doesn’t do petitions.