Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Social Media · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Get Out There and Support the Work of #TheLastWeekend

This OTYCD post originally ran on July 28, 2018. We’re reposting it today, tomorrow, and November 5 as a reminder to get out there and do the work of supporting #TheLastWeekend however you can.

 

Get your calendar NOW RIGHT NOW and block off Saturday, November 3 through Tuesday, November 6 to support The Last Weekend, a coordinated push to defend and save our democracy.

 

Sounds a bit histrionic, we admit, but with the fallout from the July 16, 2018 Helsinki conference and the continued failure of the GOP-controlled Congress to do anything substantial about it, it’s clear that democracy in America is under threat.

 

You need to wipe your calendar in the days leading up to the midterms and devote yourself to The Last Weekend.

 

It’s an effort backed by every org you like — Swing Left, Flippable, Sister District, Moveon,  Indivisible, Resistbot, Wall-of-Us, you name it.

 

Its goal is to encourage everyone to talk to fellow potential voters. From the homepage:

 

Study after study shows that the most effective way to get people to vote is by having conversations with them in the four days before Election Day (Saturday, November 3rd–Tuesday, November 6th).

 

You’ve done a lot. You’re doing a lot. Can you rearrange your life to do this in early November? Please?

 

 

See the homepage for The Last Weekend:

https://thelastweekend.org

 

 

Read a Political Charge post that supports The Last Weekend:

The Last Weekend: A Call to Action We Can All Support

 

 

Also watch the hashtag #TheLastWeekend on Twitter.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Social Media · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Get Out There and Support the Work of #TheLastWeekend

This OTYCD post originally ran on July 28, 2018. We’re reposting it today, tomorrow, and November 5 as a reminder to get out there and do the work of supporting #TheLastWeekend however you can.

 

Get your calendar NOW RIGHT NOW and block off Saturday, November 3 through Tuesday, November 6 to support The Last Weekend, a coordinated push to defend and save our democracy.

 

Sounds a bit histrionic, we admit, but with the fallout from the July 16, 2018 Helsinki conference and the continued failure of the GOP-controlled Congress to do anything substantial about it, it’s clear that democracy in America is under threat.

 

You need to wipe your calendar in the days leading up to the midterms and devote yourself to The Last Weekend.

 

It’s an effort backed by every org you like — Swing Left, Flippable, Sister District, Moveon,  Indivisible, Resistbot, Wall-of-Us, you name it.

 

Its goal is to encourage everyone to talk to fellow potential voters. From the homepage:

 

Study after study shows that the most effective way to get people to vote is by having conversations with them in the four days before Election Day (Saturday, November 3rd–Tuesday, November 6th).

 

You’ve done a lot. You’re doing a lot. Can you rearrange your life to do this in early November? Please?

 

 

See the homepage for The Last Weekend:

https://thelastweekend.org

 

 

Read a Political Charge post that supports The Last Weekend:

The Last Weekend: A Call to Action We Can All Support

 

 

Also watch the hashtag #TheLastWeekend on Twitter.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Social Media · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Get Out There and Support the Work of #TheLastWeekend

This OTYCD post originally ran on July 28, 2018. We’re reposting it today, tomorrow, and November 5 as a reminder to get out there and do the work of supporting #TheLastWeekend however you can.

 

Get your calendar NOW RIGHT NOW and block off Saturday, November 3 through Tuesday, November 6 to support The Last Weekend, a coordinated push to defend and save our democracy.

 

Sounds a bit histrionic, we admit, but with the fallout from the July 16, 2018 Helsinki conference and the continued failure of the GOP-controlled Congress to do anything substantial about it, it’s clear that democracy in America is under threat.

 

You need to wipe your calendar in the days leading up to the midterms and devote yourself to The Last Weekend.

 

It’s an effort backed by every org you like — Swing Left, Flippable, Sister District, Moveon,  Indivisible, Resistbot, Wall-of-Us, you name it.

 

Its goal is to encourage everyone to talk to fellow potential voters. From the homepage:

 

Study after study shows that the most effective way to get people to vote is by having conversations with them in the four days before Election Day (Saturday, November 3rd–Tuesday, November 6th).

 

You’ve done a lot. You’re doing a lot. Can you rearrange your life to do this in early November? Please?

 

 

See the homepage for The Last Weekend:

https://thelastweekend.org

 

 

Read a Political Charge post that supports The Last Weekend:

The Last Weekend: A Call to Action We Can All Support

 

 

Also watch the hashtag #TheLastWeekend on Twitter.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Social Media · Stand for Science · Stand Up for Civilization · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Get Ready to Support #TheLastWeekend on November 3 – 6, 2018

ThisOTYCD post originally appeared in July 2018. In the lead-up to the midterms, we’re re-running important posts. Please click on the announcement from Sarah Jane to learn why you’re not seeing timely daily posts.

 

Prepare to support The Last Weekend, a coordinated push to defend and save our democracy, taking place Saturday, November 3 through Tuesday, November 6.

 

Sounds a bit histrionic, we admit, but with the fallout from the July 16, 2018 Helsinki conference and the continued failure of the GOP-controlled Congress to do anything substantial about it, it’s clear that democracy in America is under threat.

 

You need to wipe your calendar in the days leading up to the midterms and devote yourself to The Last Weekend.

 

It’s an effort backed by every org you like — Swing Left, Flippable, Sister District, Moveon,  Indivisible, Resistbot, Wall-of-Us, you name it.

 

Its goal is to encourage everyone to talk to fellow potential voters. From the homepage:

 

Study after study shows that the most effective way to get people to vote is by having conversations with them in the four days before Election Day (Saturday, November 3rd–Tuesday, November 6th).

 

You’ve done a lot. You’re doing a lot. Can you rearrange your life to do this in early November? Please?

 

 

See the homepage for The Last Weekend:

https://thelastweekend.org

 

 

Read a Political Charge post that supports The Last Weekend:

The Last Weekend: A Call to Action We Can All Support

 

 

Also watch the hashtag #TheLastWeekend on Twitter.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Social Media · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Block Off November 3 – 6, 2018 On Your Calendar and Support #TheLastWeekend

Get your calendar NOW RIGHT NOW and block off Saturday, November 3 through Tuesday, November 6 to support The Last Weekend, a coordinated push to defend and save our democracy.

 

Sounds a bit histrionic, we admit, but with the fallout from the July 16, 2018 Helsinki conference and the continued failure of the GOP-controlled Congress to do anything substantial about it, it’s clear that democracy in America is under threat.

 

You need to wipe your calendar in the days leading up to the midterms and devote yourself to The Last Weekend.

 

It’s an effort backed by every org you like — Swing Left, Flippable, Sister District, Moveon,  Indivisible, Resistbot, Wall-of-Us, you name it.

 

Its goal is to encourage everyone to talk to fellow potential voters. From the homepage:

 

Study after study shows that the most effective way to get people to vote is by having conversations with them in the four days before Election Day (Saturday, November 3rd–Tuesday, November 6th).

 

You’ve done a lot. You’re doing a lot. Can you rearrange your life to do this in early November? Please?

 

 

See the homepage for The Last Weekend:

https://thelastweekend.org

 

 

Read a Political Charge post that supports The Last Weekend:

The Last Weekend: A Call to Action We Can All Support

 

 

Also watch the hashtag #TheLastWeekend on Twitter.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Elections · GOOD UPDATE!

Update: Connecticut Special Election Results: Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

 

Connecticut held a trio of special elections on February 28, 2017. Democrats won two out of three races, and control of the state’s senate remains split between the Democrats and the Republicans.

 

Democrat Douglas McCrory trounced Republican Michael McDonald to claim the District 2 senate seat, and Democrat Dorinda Borer beat Republican Edward Granfield for a house seat in the 115th district.

 

Democrat Greg Cava lost to Republican Eric Berthel to win the senate seat in District 32, but there is a silver lining. Cava did a lot better than expected. District 32 has been described as “the most Republican senate district in the state” and he lost by only 10 points.

 

Turnout for the state senate races was reportedly low, hovering around 18 percent.

 

Read several stories from local, state, and national papers on the results of the races:

http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-senate-special-election-20170228-story.html

http://ctmirror.org/2017/02/28/borer-keeps-115th-house-seat-in-democratic-hands/

http://www.nhregister.com/government-and-politics/20170228/dorinda-keenan-borer-wins-special-election-for-115th-district-house-seat

http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/connecticut-state-senate-district-32

 

 

Original OTYCD post is below.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

On February 28, the state of Connecticut holds three special elections–two for state senate seats, and one for the state house of representatives.

 

The Connecticut state senate races are extra-interesting because as of now, party representation is tied, 18 t0 18. The Democrats have a chance to gain control of the state senate through these special elections.

 

Do you live in Connecticut? Do you have friends and family who do? Support Douglas McCrory and Greg Cava for the state senate and Dorinda Keenan Borer for the state house of representatives in three special elections on February 28.

 

Democrat Douglas McCrory, now a seven-term member of Connecticut’s house of representatives, will run against Republican Michael McDonald in the special election for the 2nd State Senate District. (Eric Coleman, also a Democrat, vacated the seat to pursue a judgeship.) While the 2nd leans blue, McCrory is bracing for a fight. His Republican opponent has reportedly qualified for public financing.

 

Democrat Greg Cava hopes to claim the senate seat for district 32, which has been vacated by Robert Kane, who defeated Cava in the last state senate election. (Kane is leaving to join the state’s office of the Auditors of Public Accounts.) Cava will have two competitors: Republican Eric C. Berthel and Dan Lynch, who has no party affiliation.

 

Democrat Dorinda Keenan Borer hopes to keep the district 115 house of representatives seat blue. It, too, is open because its occupant, Democrat Stephen Dargan, left for a job with the state board of pardons and paroles. She will battle Republican Edward Granfield for the seat. (She does not yet have a campaign web site; we’ll update this post to include it when it appears online.)

 

 

Learn more about the McCrory-McDonald race:

http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-second-senate-districts-endorsements-0121-20170120-story.html

 

 

See McCrory’s Connecticut House of Representatives web page:

http://www.housedems.ct.gov/McCrory

 

 

Donate to McCrory’s campaign fund:

https://causes.anedot.com/mccroryforsenate

 

 

Visit Greg Cava’s web site (which reflects his 2016 race):

http://www.gregcava2016.com

 

Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

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:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/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.

Community Activism · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Learn from Daryl Davis, A Black Man Who Convinced More Than Two Dozen KKK Members to Leave the Group

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

 

Learn from Daryl Davis, a black musician who has devoted himself to convincing white supremacists to leave the Ku Klux Klan, with surprising success.

 

In a February 2017 Atlantic magazine article titled ‘Every Racist I Know Voted for Donald Trump’, Conor Friedersdorf spoke with Davis about his approach. The piece contains wisdom that you can apply when speaking to family and friends who voted for Trump, and even in conversations with diehards.

 

To summarize Friedersdorf’s distillation of Davis’s approach:

Before you engage, be as familiar with the other person’s position as you are with your own.

Invite them to a conversation–NOT a debate.

Look for things you and they have in common.

Keep talking, even if you have to break off and resume later in the week, or the month, or the year. Being able to keep a conversation going–however tumultuous–is better than refusing to talk. Silence can lead to violence.

Stay patient.

Make deliberate efforts to escape your bubble.

If you argue, don’t condescend.

Let the other person explain their cause. Don’t explain it for them.

 

You may never get as good at talking to your opponents as Davis is–some klansmen have given him their old uniforms as they abandon their bigoted beliefs. But if you can reach even a few people, and get them to think and engage, that is a victory in and of itself.

 

 

Read ‘Every Racist I Know Voted for Donald Trump’:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/every-racist-i-know-voted-for-donald-trump/516420/?utm_source=feed

 

 

Listen to the episodes of the Love + Radio podcasts where Davis talks about his adventures at length:

http://loveandradio.org/2017/02/how-to-argue/

 

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!

 

 

Purchase and read Davis’s book, Klan-Destine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan (warning: As of April 2017, it’s out of print and pricey):

https://www.amazon.com/Klan-Destine-Relationships-Black-Mans-Odyssey/dp/0882822691

 

 

Visit Davis’s web site:

http://www.daryldavis.com

Call Your Members of Congress · Community Activism · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Learn the Best Way to Talk to Your Congressional Representatives

Congress is about to do something that you feel strongly about. You need to tell your representatives what you think. But what’s the best way to do that?

This blog post will help you learn the most effective way to make your voice heard.

First, you need to learn who your Congressional representatives are. Go read the first One Thing You Can Do post, Self-advocacy 101: Find Your Congressional Representatives.

Once you have the names of your reps and their contact information in hand, think about why you are calling, how your reps can act on your request, and which reps you should call.

Sometimes you will need to call all three–both senators and your house rep. Other times, you’ll need to call only your senators, or only your house rep. It is important to call only those who can help you. Senators can’t assist with house matters, and house reps can’t address things handled by the senate.

Other things that interest you might be better directed at someone else–your state-level legislative reps, your local school board, your governor, your mayor. Think about what, specifically, you want your Congressional reps to do. If they don’t have the power to act on your request, don’t call them. Find out who does have the power, and call them instead.

After you’ve learned who to call, compose a short script on the topic you want to discuss. It should be no more than five sentences–equivalent to an extremely short blog post or two tweets’ worth of material.

Your script needs to include your name, your zip code, why you are calling, and what specific action you want your representative to take on your behalf.

Shorter is better. Writing and following a script will help you avoid rambling.

 

Example for a Senator: I am (Firstname Lastname), from zip code (12345), and I wanted to ask Senator (Lastname) to oppose the nomination of Jeff Sessions to the office of the Attorney General of the United States. His civil rights record is abysmal, and it should disqualify him from this critical post. (If your senator is on a relevant committee, say, ‘I know Senator (Lastname) is on the Judiciary Committee. I am asking the senator to vote against Sessions in Committee.’) Thank you.

 

Example for a House rep: I am (Firstname Lastname), from zip code (12345), and I wanted to ask Representative (Lastname) to vote against H.R. 2802, the so-called First Amendment Defense Act. It would allow bigots to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the cover of religion. Please uphold the rights of gays, lesbians, transgender people, and others by fighting to defeat this bill. Thank you. (Note to readers–this is a real House bill. OTYCD will address it in a future post.)

 

Be impeccably polite to the person who answers the phone. If the topic you need to talk about makes you too angry, rehearse your script until you can say the words without getting mad.

Giving your name and zip code is key. It lets their staff know you are a real person who lives in the area they represent. They do not count, or act on, calls from people who live elsewhere; their actual constituents’ needs come first, as they should.

Calling is the best method of reaching your Congressional representative. While many Congressional representatives are active on social media, they and their offices don’t give much weight yet to statements that come to them through social media platforms, even if they’re from genuine constituents. Don’t tweet, Snapchat, or Facebook it–call!

Email is second to calling. Postal mail can matter, but might arrive too slowly, depending on the situation. If you can use the phone, do it.

 

 

Community Activism · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

UPDATED: Meet a Family Who Will Suffer if the Republicans Destroy Obamacare. Then Recruit Your Red State Friends to Call Their Senators and Oppose Trumpcare With You

UPDATED FOR INSPIRATION: On the off-chance that you don’t know anyone who will be directly and catastrophically affected if the ACA is repealed and replaced, please read this post by Hugo award-winning editor and podcaster Lynne M. Thomas, whose daughter, Caitlin, has Aicardi Syndrome. Thomas lays out just how her family would suffer if Obamacare is destroyed. Please read this and hold the Thomases in mind when you make your calls–especially if your senator is Mitch McConnell.

 

Read An Open Letter to Mitch McConnell and the GOP, by Lynne M. Thomas:

An Open Letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell and the GOP

 

IMPORTANT RED ALERT UPDATE for June 2017. Mitch McConnell has invoked Rule 14, which fast-tracks the AHCA in the Senate. Their aim is to pass something before the July 4 recess. The best time to stop this wretched bill is now. If it gets back to the house, something like it gets passed.

We know you’ve called your reps over and over on this, and this isn’t the first time we’ve asked you to take to the phone.But you now need to call your Senators, daily, AND urge your red state friends to call their Republican senators, daily, on this, through the end of June. The AHCA is literally life and death for many. Please make this effort.

 

IMPORTANT RED ALERT UPDATE May 26. Ok all, see this May 25 tweet from Topher Spiro, who writes often on health care issues and tweets as @TopherSpiro:

INTEL: Several GOP Senators have privately said this recess is the test – if they get blowback at home, they’ll tell McConnell it’s over.

We know you’ve called your reps over and over on this. Now it’s time to call your Senators, daily, AND urge your red state friends to call their Republican senators, daily, on this. The AHCA is literally life and death for many. Please make this effort.

Pull out your address book. Identify how many friends you have in red states. Recruit them to call their members of Congress.

In the past, OTYCD has asked you to call friends and family in red states to urge their Republican MoCs to vote against cabinet nominees and legislation. Today, we’re asking you to take some time to sit with your address book, identify who your friends are in red states, and see who among them you can call, email, or nudge on social media to push back against nasty things the Republicans are trying to do.

Living in a solidly blue state is a double-edged sword. Your MoCs agree with you, but it’s the Republicans who own everything at the moment. Republican MoCs in other districts and states won’t listen to you (and rightly so) because they need to concentrate on their own constituents.

The next-best thing you can do, once you’ve done what you can do directly, is urge friends in red states to call their MoCs and speak out.

So, step one: Pull out your address book, or Christmas card list, or whatever database or master list you keep of friends and their contact info. Ideally, this info includes street addresses.

Step two: Identify who lives in red states.

Step three: Rank the red staters in order of how strong your relationship is.

Step four: Now, think. Who have you talked about politics with on this list? How did it go? Reshuffle the list to move those who share your politics, and those who may not share your politics but who seem sane and like to talk politics with you, toward the top of the list.

Those with strong bonds and who share your politics should be on top, followed by those with strong bonds who show an interest in politics, but who might not always agree with you 100 percent. Then come the people with more distant relationships but who share your politics, followed by more distant relationships with politically aware people who seem sane.

Also, be alert to sharp exceptions. You might have someone in your orbit who’s largely apolitical except on a specific issue that damn near consumes them. Many mothers of school-age kids who didn’t care about politics or were only mildly interested got pretty damn interested right quick when Betsy DeVos was nominated to run the department of education.

Sift these single-issue red state folks out and rank them below the broader-interest folks. If you agree with their outlook on their single issue, make a point of engaging with them on that issue alone and sharing action items that would interest them.

Step five: Look at the first group–the people you have strong bonds with and who you share the same political outlook with. How often are you talking to them? Can you invest more time in them? These are the people you want to cultivate first.

And when we say ‘invest more time in them,’ we mean overall. Do NOT make it all about politics! Work on maintaining and strengthening your bond first and foremost. Use the 80/20 rule that social media mavens tout: For every action that serves your goals (in this case, urging your friend to call their Republican MoCs), perform at least four other actions that have nothing to do with your goals. (Bonus points if most or all are in service of your friend. At least half of the four should be.)

Once you feel like you have things humming along with the first group (and take as much time as you need to reach that point–never rush it!), then turn to the second group: the people you have strong bonds with, but who you don’t really talk politics with.

In the course of strengthening and maintaining your bonds with them, try dropping mentions of how you feel about something that the Republicans are trying to do. Don’t be angry, do be factual, and make it clear that you are stating an opinion.

Pay attention to how they react. Stick to the 80/20 rule. Keep watching how they react. If they show a pattern of changing the subject, showing annoyance, or actively shutting down, lay off for a few months and try again. If they ultimately ask you to quit it forever, then quit it forever. It’s more important to show that you’re able to listen to them and honor their requests.

If they show a pattern of reacting positively or even neutrally, stay alert to political events that are happening locally that they might like, and encourage them to go. Maybe it’s a Town Hall meeting with an MoC. Maybe it’s a protest. Maybe it’s giving them a ride to the polls. Think about what they would like best, tell them about it, and if you live close enough, offer to go with them.

Future posts will elaborate on cultivating the more distant red state friends and family on your list. But overall, remember:

Friendship comes first. If you wouldn’t want to invest time in this person if they lived in a blue state, then don’t bother. Just don’t. Don’t treat fellow human beings like a 10-point buck you’re dying to bag and mount on your wall. People can smell that crap a mile away.

Remember the 80/20 rule. For every time you talk about politics or ask them to do something political, you should be doing at least four other things that aren’t about politics, and at least two of those four should be things your friend enjoys.

If they complain that you’re talking about politics too much, back off. Again, see points one and two above. Don’t completely stop talking about politics, mind you, if talking politics is part of who you are. But listen to your friend, give it a rest for a time, and keep your talk to venting rather than you asking them to do something.

This is soft activism, and no form of activism yields results overnight. This is gardening. This is exercise. It takes time. Remind yourself that it takes time, and that it may not pay off as spectacularly as you hope it will. But you will have succeeded in deepening a relationship with another person who you care about, and you will have gotten them to think about and care about making a difference. That’s worth it. That’s always worth it.