I always have a comfortable feeling that nothing is impossible if one applies a certain amount of energy in the right direction. ~ Nellie Bly
Today is Deborah Sampson day in Massachusetts. She’s not exactly a household name, so you’re probably wondering who on earth she was.
Well, she was a soldier.
In the Revolutionary War.
That’s right. A woman was a soldier in the American Revolution – way back in the 1700s.
Although she disguised herself and enlisted as a man, she fought for quite a long time before her sex was discovered by a physician treating her for a fever.
Before that, she had treated her own gunshot wounds so that she could continue the fight for freedom unimpeded by what society thought was possible for women.
You see, nothing is impossible.
It just takes tenacity, dedication and a firm resolve. We’re at a delicate point in our nation’s history, and I don’t say that lightly. But the work of tens of thousands of Americans has already beaten back terrible legislation and slowed the GOP roll.
Is it possible for regular citizens like you and me to save our democracy?
I think so.
Then let’s get to work!
Tuesday: Get Out the Vote for Quist
The congressional investigations into Russia/Flynn/etc. are moving at a snail’s pace. Because Congress is led by the GOP, it looks like we should expect them to slow-roll those investigations until they get what they want from this POTUS. But, as I mentioned last week, there’s an expiration date on these delays – whether the GOP wants to admit it or not. Once one (or both) houses of Congress are in Democratic hands we’ll have subpoena power and control over the investigations. We need to start working on putting Dems in Congress now.
There are two special elections coming up for seats that were left by Trump appointees. Jon Ossoff is running for Georgia’s 6th District; that special election will be on June 20. Polling that came out today shows that he’s opened up a 7-point lead. (WOW!) You can support him by going here and donating your time and talent (or your $$ – or all of the above!).
But on Thursday of this week, Rob Quist faces off against Greg Gianforte in a bid for Montana’s house seat. Prior polling had showed Gianforte leading; more recent polls suggest it’s closer to a tossup. It’s more important than ever to turn out the vote.
How can you help turn out the vote in Montana if you live in, say, Seattle? I’m so glad you asked! Head over here to watch a quick training video and call Montana voters to help GOTV efforts. Just giving a few minutes of your day today and tomorrow could help turn out the vote in Montana, and turn our Congress just a wee bit more purple.
Wednesday: Sign a Petition … and Register Voters
One third of the people who didn’t vote in 2016 didn’t vote because they weren’t registered. Nearly 92 million people who were otherwise eligible to vote didn’t in 2016. So, based on this research, over 30 million people didn’t vote in 2016 because they weren’t registered.
30 MILLION PEOPLE.
In an election that was decided by under 80,000 people, losing over 30 million votes just because folks weren’t registered is totally unacceptable. So let’s get started registering voters and combatting voter suppression.
First, on the voter suppression front, we’ve had some encouraging news. Last week, the Supreme Court announced that it would not hear an appeal of a lower court decision invalidating a North Carolina law that the lower court noted targeted African American voters “with surgical precision.” And yesterday, SCOTUS found that the North Carolina GOP had “packed” black voters into two districts – and deemed that practice unconstitutional.
But last week Trump unveiled a new “Election Integrity” commission. The members of the commission include Kris Kobach, who led the charge against voter fraud – a nonexistent concern that’s been the basis for voter suppression laws across the country.
There’s some evidence that voter suppression may have cost Hillary Clinton the election. Based on some statistical analysis, 200,000 votes may have been suppressed in 2016 in Wisconsin. Donald Trump won Wisconsin by only 22,748 votes.
What can we do? Great question. You can continue to speak out and do things like sign this League of Women Voters petition to show your support for stopping voter suppression.
But speaking out against voter suppression isn’t enough. We need to get out there and make sure that everyone who wants to vote can. We do that by including voter registration in every public event we have. Organizing a rally? Great! Include voter registration. Setting up a march? Great! Include voter registration.
Not only will you register people that come to your event – you’ll remind all of your attendees of the importance of voting.
If you have questions about how to register voters, here are a few resources:
- The League of Women Voters is often the first stop for voter registration questions. They’ve been at the forefront of voter registration for decades, and often have local training programs and volunteers that will come to events to register voters. While you’re at the LWV website, you should check out some of their other resources, including how to hold a registration event at a high school (what a great idea!?!).
- The Voter Registration Project is dedicated to registering voters from under-represented communities. Visit the link to join their group, to check the laws in your state, to register to vote, or to donate.
- Project vote also has a great link with state laws regarding voter registration requirements; they also provide advice to organizations wanting to engage in non-partisan voter registration drives.
- Vote Riders provides training clinics to partner organizations to help them with registration and voter ID requirements. They also provide detailed voter ID information here, as well as information regarding last dates to register voters for various elections being held this year.
Thursday: Come Back Here for Another Pep Talk!
This Thursday a guest poster will tell us all about how her five-year-old is changing the world. It’s an inspiring and heart-warming story that I can’t wait to share – so put a little note in your calendar to remind yourself to come back for some end-of-the-week motivation!
Friday: Beat Back the Budget
Think your calls to Congress fall on deaf ears? Then boy, do I have a story for you!
Last week I made my regular call to my Representative – Lacy Clay. One of the staffers greeted me – and as I launched into my talking points, he politely put me on hold. When I was taken off hold, I started over…
“Good morning! My name is Michele and I’m a constituent here in St. Louis. I have a message that I’d like to leave for the Congressman…”
“Yes, hello, ma’am. I’m the Congressman.”
As you can imagine, I was incredibly impressed that he would answer a constituent call directly. (And no, neither he nor his staff knew who they were talking to – although I suppose they do now!) At a time when most of us can’t get our reps to communicate with us at all, it was refreshing to have a few minutes of the Congressman’s time and attention.
Of course, I had to put him on the spot, and ask him what more we can do. How can we make a change? How can we make our voices heard? His answer?
So this week, we need to join our voices together to call and fight back against this abysmal Trump budget. You probably remember that a while back we got the “skinny” version of Trump’s budget; today we’ve gotten the grim details. By all accounts it’s as terrible as you’d expect: $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade, $272 billion taken from welfare programs, and $192 billion from nutritional assistance. The budget eliminates subsidized student loans and loan forgiveness for nurses, teachers and police officers – and even cuts retirement benefits for federal workers.
As we had expected, the proposed budget also amounts to a big tax cut for the wealthy.
But, as we’ve talked about before, POTUS can propose all the budgets he wants – Congress has the purse strings. We need to call our Representatives (particularly the GOP members) and let them know how we feel.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at _____. I’m calling because I am concerned about the proposed budget. I do not support providing for tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of everyday Americans like myself. I expect Representative ____ to vote in the best interests of his/her constituents. [Here’s where you can riff off of what portions of the budget you think are particularly awful.] Thanks for your time.
That covers this week’s pep talk and list of actions. If you want one more quick action, send this pep talk to a friend or two!
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here!
A huge thank you to everyone who has written. I’m sorry I can’t respond to everyone, but know I really appreciate your words of encouragement.
And thank you, again, for being part of what makes this country amazing.