Action Alerts · Community Activism · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Subscribe to My Civic Workout

Subscribe to My Civic Workout, an activist outlet that delivers twice-weekly action items broken down into things that demand a bit of your time, more of your time, and a bit more of your time than that.

My Civic Workout is one of the many online activism outlets that sprung up after the November 2016 election. It belongs to Action Alliance, as does One Thing You Can Do. But it doesn’t seem to get the play or the recognition that some of the others do, so we’re giving it a blog post.

My Civic Workout does an admirable job of picking a timely resistance-related topic and breaking it down into three actions that demand varying amounts of investment.

The “Five Minute Workout” is quick and simple (but not necessarily easy)–donate money, read a short article, watch a video.

The “Ten Minute Workout” is more involved. Read a longer, more densely written article, such as a white paper or an academic article. Type your address into a database and learn about gun deaths in your area, and share it with friends and family. Call your senators, using a script offered by MCW, and advocate for a bill.

The “30 Minute Workout” is even more involved, and sometimes reminds you to do stuff that you should have done ages ago anyway. For example, in the wake of Harvey, it suggested drawing up a comprehensive, personalized disaster plan. During the effort to defend Obamacare, it encouraged setting up a phone tree–recruiting friends to call their senators, and having them recruit friends in turn. One of its post-Charlottesville tasks was to check an interactive map and see if there were Confederate monuments on public land near you, and if so, urge local officials to remove them.

The twice-weekly email finishes with a selection of nice little digestifs: “Second Wind,” a nugget of wisdom related to the overall theme of the email, and “Need a Little Joy?” a bit of pure fun.

My Civic Workout also stands out among the post-2016-election activist sites for its consistency. Sarah Jane, OTYCD leader, has been a subscriber since January at least and she can’t recall MCW missing a week or otherwise dropping the ball. The graphics are elegant, well-chosen, and pleasant to look at. *We say check it out.

 

Visit the website for My Civic Workout:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com

 

Subscribe to My Civic Workout:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com

 

Suggest a topic to My Civic Workout or otherwise contact them:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com/contact/

 

Meet the My Civic Workout team:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com/theteam/

 

Donate to My Civic Workout:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com/support/

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/mycivicworkout/

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@MyCivicWorkout

 

And while you’re at it, check out Action Alliance, which accepted My Civic Workout and One Thing You Can Do as members who offer and encourage post-2016-election actions.:

https://www.actionalliance.co/#members

 

*My Civic Workout didn’t ask us to write about it. As of late-ish 2017, when we wrote this post, neither MCW or any member of its six-member team followed or subscribed to OTYCD (at least as far as we know). We’ve interacted with whoever speaks for MCW on Twitter. We wrote about MCW because we like it and thought you might like it too, simple as that.

Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Read Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Obama Alum Alyssa Mastromonaco

Read Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House, a refreshingly open and honest book by Alyssa Mastromonaco, alumna of the Obama administration. 

Mastromonaco served as the White House deputy chief of staff for operations and assistant to President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2014.

Her book is a riveting account of what it’s like to work in high-profile political jobs and it’s a breezy read, too. She salts it with useful tips (if you save your bosses money, make sure to tell them; never be a jerk; everyone is replaceable) but its greater value is in showing someone facing challenges and overcoming them.

Mastromonaco’s book, like Al Franken’s book, is one that you need to read right now. She never uses the phrase ‘impostor syndrome’, as far as I can remember, but her approach, her openness, and her willingness to talk about things others would just find too embarrassing, such as how she wrestled with episodes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) on the road, make it a gem.

Mastromonaco is like the senior executive sitting down nervous interns or entry-level staffers on their first day and telling them, “You can do this. I did it, and here’s how.” If you are interested in running for office or helping someone run, it will give you confidence that you can do it.

Note also: Her Twitter bio says she has a new podcast coming soon. We suspect it’ll launch with Crooked Media, given that Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Favreau, and Tommy Vietor are peripheral characters in her book. We’ll update this page accordingly when the time comes.

 

Buy Mastromonaco’s book at these independent bookstores:

http://www.strandbooks.com/index.cfm

http://www.powells.com

 

Follow Mastromonaco on Twitter:

@AlyssaMastro44

Community Activism · Ethics · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Read There Is No Good Card For This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love

Read There Is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love, by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell.

 

TINGCFT might seem like a not-quite-on-topic choice for a political blog, but bear with us. It’s a great textbook on how to have awkward conversations, how to listen, and how not to be a jerk–skills that are ever more precious and valuable in the time of Trump.

 

McDowell is the genius behind a series of greeting cards that you’d actually want to send to someone who’s going through hell but still has a sense of humor. Crowe holds a doctorate in social welfare, and founded Help Each Other Out, which teaches people how to avoid being the person who ghosts or says and does unhelpful things when bad stuff happens to friends and family.

 

The whole book is a gem, but in particular, it goes over how to help people in the grip of illness, fertility issues, divorce, unemployment, and grief.

 

Some general takeaways:

 

It’s better to do something than nothing. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is doing something.

Remember it’s about them, not you. Don’t make their problem about you.

Listen.

Your kindness is your credential.

The person who needs help may not respond to your overture the way you’d expect. Don’t hold that against them, and don’t let their response deter you from helping others.

 

 

Buy There Is No Good Card for This at great independent book stores such as The Strand or Powell’s:

http://www.strandbooks.com/index.cfm

http://www.powells.com/book/there-is-no-good-card-for-this-9780062469991/1-5

 

 

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!

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Learn to Evangelize (In a Good Way)

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.

 

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!

Elections · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

VOTE. HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY VOTE. TODAY IS THE DAY. THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS ARE HERE.

The time has come.

 

It’s worth all caps.

 

VOTE. HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY VOTE. TODAY IS THE DAY. THE MIDTERMS ARE HERE!

 

Know also: Some Democrats will lose some races. We at OTYCD would be delighted if every Democrat wins every race everywhere, but come on, that’s not gonna happen.

 

Know also: Trump, notoriously, has done nothing to secure America’s voting infrastructure against onslaughts from Russian cyber-attacks.

 

Whatever happens, stay strong, stay realistic, and stay here and carry on the fight.

 

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

Believe It, You Matter, Part III: The Parable of Eating Less Meat

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017. 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.

 

Believe it, you matter. Every little thing you do to push back against Trump matters, no matter how small. 

 

Eating less meat is, generally speaking, a good idea. It’s better for your health and it’s better for the planet, because raising animals for meat demands more resources than growing plants for food.

 

But what if you can’t quit meat entirely for the rest of your days? What if you need it for health reasons, or cultural reasons, or hey, you just like meat too much to give it up once and for all?

 

Despite what some nasty, one-upping vegans and vegetarians would have you think, if you make a conscious choice to eat less meat, and you faithfully commit to making a change, that’s a win. Even if you never give up meat entirely, that’s a win, because you thought the matter over, you chose to eat less meat, and you stuck to your choice to eat less meat.

 

You are part of the resistance. Many of us–those behind this blog included–cannot devote ourselves to the resistance full time. We have jobs and family obligations and housework and a host of other demands on our time. There are some days when we don’t have the chance to do anything at all to advance the cause. (If WordPress forced us to write fresh posts every day instead of banking evergreen posts at our leisure and bumping them forward as needed to make room for breaking news, this blog would not exist.)

 

And there are some people who can’t advance the cause as often as they might like. Maybe they live in an environment where it’s not safe to resist Trump openly. Maybe they have crazy-demanding job or school schedules. Maybe they’re 24/7 caregivers. Maybe they’re disabled. Doesn’t matter why, it just is, and they have to work around it.

 

The point: As long as you’re doing something, you win. Even if it’s not as much as you want to do. Even if it’s not as much as you think you should do. Even if it’s not as much as your neighbor did, or your cousin did, or your best friend from your Indivisible group did.

 

Resisting Trump is not a competition, nor should it be. Something is better than nothing, no matter how small that something is. We should celebrate every contribution that we make in the effort to push back against Trump. All of it helps.

 

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!

Action Alerts · Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Community Activism · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Work Like Never Before: Countdown to the Midterms

Sarah Jane here. I’m the lead writer and editor on the One Thing You Can Do blog.

 

We’re post-Kavanaugh. We’re angry and exhausted but anger is winning out.

 

Here is the silver lining: The pushback against Kavanaugh scared the crap out of the GOP, and while they won (which is bad, don’t get me wrong), they won by a hair, a sneeze, a twitch, a wiggle, a blink, and they had to fight like hell and take damage and break shitloads of rules and norms and traditions to eke out that whisper of a win.

 

The GOP know how precarious it is, and they’re feeling it. The boasting at Kavanaugh’s formal confirmation ceremony (which is damn weird and wrong in context, because c’mon, we’re talking about SCOTUS here, and SCOTUS is supposed to be above politics, right?) is just as much to shore themselves up and sell themselves on what they just did as it is to perform ritual cruelty and recommit to general assholic behavior.

 

They want you to go away. GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is convinced this will all blow over.

 

Show McConnell that he is wrong. Show him this won’t blow over. Show the GOP you are not going to go away.

 

Assuming you’ve had a rest–because you should really, properly step away and rest for a bit after all this–stoke the glowing embers of your anger and light your way through the last few weeks before the midterms.

 

If you’re not using the Core Four strategy, check it out, then pick two Democrats to support in each chamber of Congress, an incumbent and a challenger for each.

 

Donate to worthy Democratic incumbents and challengers.

 

Canvass–knock on doors to talk to people in person about the merits of a candidate for office.

 

Phone-bank and text-bank–like canvassing, except it’s over the phone or via text.

 

Write get out the vote (GOTV) postcards and help underwrite Tony the Democrat’s postcard-writing army.

 

Follow Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) on Twitter for updates on the state of the (admittedly difficult, thoroughly worth it) quest by Democrats to claim control the Senate.

 

Follow Swing Left (@swingleft) on Twitter for updates on the state of the quest by Democrats to claim control of the House of Representatives (doing well at the moment but as we’ve said before, always act like your candidates are 10 points behind, even if they aren’t).

 

Follow Flippable (@flippable_org) on Twitter for updates on efforts to flip state legislatures blue, and see what you can do for your own state’s legislature. We need to turn the state legislatures blue to, for example, remove anti-abortion laws sitting on the books that would go into effect if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

 

Follow Tokyo Sand (@DHSTokyo) on Twitter and subscribe to the Political Charge blog for updates on state voter registration deadlines as they approach and arrive, plus vital related news about the midterms.

 

Assuming it’s not too late in your state, consider filling out and returning an absentee ballot now, to free yourself to help others get to their polling places on November 6. Take the day off work if you can and volunteer to help others vote.

 

Learn if your state is one that allows 17-year-olds to register to vote if they’ll be 18 by November 6, and help them register, if there’s still time.

 

Put campaign signs on your lawn and campaign stickers on your car.

 

Talk to friends and family about voting. Help them make a plan to vote on November 6. Help those who want to do more than just vote.

 

Be welcoming and kind to Independents, Libertarians, Republicans, and others who don’t normally vote for Democrats but are doing so in the 2018 midterms.

 

Talk to people who didn’t vote in 2016. Donate to organizations that help people register to vote.

 

Don’t compare yourself to other activists. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do as much as you want to do. See the value in what you are doing, and keep doing it.

 

Give as much time as you can to as many candidates as you can on the federal, state, and local levels [as well as ballot questions, if that applies in your state].

 

Months ago, we asked you to donate two hours a week to helping your preferred candidates. Now that we’re T-minus one month from the midterms, we’re asking you to take your schedules in hand and figure out how much time you can devote to the democracy bucket brigade between now and November 6.

 

Anything you do from the list above counts. Include routine self-care in there, too.

 

And, Believe It: You Matter. It’s true, and it never stops being true. You matter, your vote matters, and your activism matters.

 

Go forth and do good, people.

 

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!