Image credit: Kathy&Sam, CC
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
Leafcutter ants are peculiar, fascinating little creatures. They use their buzzsaw-like jaws to cut up leaves that they then carry back to their massive nests. They are impressively strong, being able to lift and carry 30-50 times their own weight.
That’s one powerful animal – no question about it.
But their true strength – their real power – lies in their ability to work as a team, with each individual ant’s actions feeding into the larger group’s objectives.
On its own, one ant can cut up plenty of leaves. But working together, a large nest can strip a tree of its leaves overnight.
Just imagine that for a second. Thousands upon thousands of tiny creatures can strip an entire tree of its leaves – because each one takes a teeny tiny bite.
So let’s bring the analogy back to ourselves. As members of the Resistance, we’re all powerful on our own. Each of us has our own focus, after all. Some might spend more time on the budget, while others spend more energy on climate change, reproductive rights, or healthcare. So action sites (like this one) seek to provide a variety of actions for Resistors to choose from. You could think of it as giving ants a choice of taking a bite of a number of tasty trees.
But sometimes we all need to join back together as part of one big army.
That’s what we need to do right now.
This week, our MOC need to see a unity of purpose and a strength in numbers. So the actions this week aren’t unique. They’re not particularly clever.
In fact, they echo the action items that you’re likely seeing from other action sites this week. We’re talking health care, and budget, and the search for the truth about Russia.
Because just like leafcutter ants,
if we all work together…
and we each take a teeny tiny bite…
We can take down the entire tree.
Let’s get to work!
Tuesday: Call Your Senators to Support the ACA
This week, Congress is in recess and – theoretically – your MOC will be out and about in your state and district listening to constituent concerns. (Yes, yes, I know…)
But seriously, it’s time to once again deluge our Senators with calls regarding the ACA, and the terrible-awful ACHA. As you’ve likely heard, Senator McConnell assembled an all-male working group that he’s tasked with putting a passable bill together. Word on the street is that they are gauging whether it’s possible by the reactions they get from constituents during this recess.
So it’s our job to let our Senators know that (1) we are still paying attention and (2) we won’t stand for: the elimination of healthcare for 23 million Americans; the elimination of protections for preexisting conditions; the $834 billion cut to Medicaid; the elimination of funding for students with special needs; the re-introduction of lifetime and annual benefit caps; the disparity in insurance costs for women, who would pay more; and the “age tax” that would be levied on seniors, who could be charged up to five times more than younger insureds.
All this destruction to give a tax cut to the wealthy.
So let’s each take a bite of a leaf, shall we?
Call Script: Hello, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because the healthcare bill that’s being negotiated is terrible. It’s bad for women, for special needs students, for anyone that’s had a pre-existing condition (which eventually includes everyone), for seniors – and will kick 23 million Americans off their health insurance. I expect Senator ____ to vote against any bill that provides a tax cut to the wealthy on the backs of his/her constituents. Please let the Senator know that I’ll be watching his/her vote and reaction to the healthcare bill very closely. Thanks for your time.
Bonus Action: If you’re on Twitter, you can easily share the impact of Trumpcare on your state by following Indivisible Data; they’ve been doing the heavy lifting for us by creating state-specific graphics for you to share. (And while you’re on Twitter, follow Small Deeds!)
Wednesday: Save Democracy for the Bargain Price of $4.68/month!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the GOP has proven that if we want a proper congressional investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia and his myriad conflicts of interest, we need to change who represents us in Congress.
So when do we start working to elect more Democrats? Today – with It Starts Today.
It Starts Today is an ingenious subscription service that uses our vast numbers to tackle fundraising and recruitment challenges. Each month, subscribers donate $4.68 – one penny for the Democratic nominee for each House and Senate race coming up in 2018. (Contributions are distributed to the official Democratic candidate after any primary battles are waged.)
As they say at It Starts Today, “[w]e don’t play favorites or write anyone off, and your money goes directly to the nominee in every race in every district in every state.”
Knowing that this kind of contribution exists is sure to take a huge load off of candidates and their campaigns. And, perhaps more importantly, potential candidates’ concerns about fundraising will be lessened – encouraging more great people to run.
Simple? Yes. Brilliant? Oh, Yes.
Thursday: Beat Back the Budget
As we discussed last week, by all accounts the proposed Trump budget is 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 proposed budget eliminates subsidized student loans and loan forgiveness for nurses, teachers and police officers – and even cuts retirement benefits for federal workers. It also amounts to a big tax cut for the wealthy (perhaps so they can buy more champagne for popsicles).
But POTUS can propose all the budgets he wants – Congress has the purse strings. (As Senator Blunt said in his tele-town hall last week “The President’s budget is just advisory. It’s the President’s sense of what they want to do. At the end of the day it’s the Congress that appropriates the money.”)
This means that our voices are particularly effective here. So call your MOC and let them know that we simply won’t stand for these draconian cuts.
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. If you’re feeling spunky, call every day and discuss a different budgetary issue.] Thanks for your time.
Friday: Dust Off Your Marching Shoes!
On Saturday, June 3, the March for Truth will be taking place in cities across the country. The goals are simple and bipartisan (at least, theoretically):
- An independent commission must be established, and Congressional investigations should be properly resourced and pursued free of partisan interests;
- As much information should be made available to the public as possible, and as soon as possible;
- Congress should require Donald Trump to release his tax returns to clarify his business interests and obligations to any foreign entity;
- If crimes were committed or if collusion is discovered, it must be prosecuted.
Those are goals I think we can all get behind!
You can find your local march here!
If you’re in the St. Louis area, head over here where you’ll find information about the St. Louis march.
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.