No Time Like the Present

The trouble is, you think you have time. ~Buddha

It’s never the perfect time to do anything. It’s just time.

We saw from the electoral results in Virginia last week: we are capable of more than we give ourselves credit for.

But that often makes us uncomfortable. Because it means we really need to try.

If success is impossible, there’s some comfort in the loss. “There was no way, anyway,” we can say to ourselves. “This is as we all expected.”

But that sort of thinking is self-defeating, and means that we don’t allow ourselves to unleash the power that we all have.

The power that you have.

A quick story: In 1977, a 63-year-old woman named Laura Schultz lifted a car off of her grandson, saving his life. She was a petite woman who had never lifted more than 50 pounds. Yet, she lifted a 2,000 pound car that day.

Years later she was interviewed by a psychologist who was studying acts of “hysterical strength,” like hers. But there was a big problem with the interview: she didn’t want to talk about it. In fact, even thinking about it made her uncomfortable.

Eventually, she admitted why. If she was capable of doing something as amazing and powerful as lifting a car off of a child, what else could she have done with her life? What other “impossible” things had she never deemed possible – and therefore never tried?

“If I was able to do this when I didn’t think I could, what does that say about the rest of my life? Have I wasted it?”

That’s a difficult question to answer. But she asked the question and finally admitted to herself that she did indeed have the power to change her life and to use every last ounce of it.

So, she got a degree in geology and became a professor at a local college – all in her mid-60s.

She stopped letting expectations and preconceived notions dictate the way she lived her life.

And isn’t that what we need to do right now? Isn’t that the lesson that we, as members of the Resistance, need to heed?

When every day there’s an article from this pundit and that pundit claiming that Democrats are certain to win majorities in 2018 or that there’s no way Democrats can win in 2018, it can be hard to keep a consistent focus. And if we live the next year based upon which of those two thesis statements we agree with, we base our decisions upon other people’s expectations of what is possible.

We need to stop reading tea leaves to gauge whether we can win. And we need to stop letting those tea leaves influence whether we try our hardest.

Winning might be as hard as lifting a car off of a child. But make no bones about it – anything is possible.

We just need to suspend our disbelief, and try like hell.

So let’s get to work.


Tuesday: Run for Something!

Happy national Run for Office day! Yes, this is an actual official holiday with a dedicated website and everything. Visit the website to learn more about it. While you’re there, you can sign yourself up, or you can nominate a friend who you think would be a great candidate. And don’t worry – signing up doesn’t commit you to running, but you will get lots of great information about being a candidate.

What better way to celebrate our electoral wins last week than to consider being a candidate yourself! And hey – remember what we said (above) about there never being a perfect time?

Maybe this is your time.

(Consider this your sign. You know who you are. You should run for office.)

Wednesday: Don’t Lose Focus on Opposing Tax Gifts for the Wealthy

This tax plan is a real problem. It’s also a moving target. By the time I hit “publish,” the contents will probably have changed. But the main message is the same: this “reform” is actually a gift for the top, on the backs of the rest of us.

To highlight the inequity in a really creative way, Indivisible has put together a fantastic tool that shows just what we could do for our fellow Americans if we prioritized them rather than the top 1%.

For example, one millionaire’s tax cut could pay for opioid treatment for 14 people for a year. Expanding that, using the tax cut gifts that the GOP wants to give all millionaires we could provide opioid treatment for 7.5 million people… and there are currently 2.4 million people who have an opioid use disorder in the U.S. So head over to their calculator and check out some of the other programs we could improve or expand using the money the GOP wants to give the wealthiest Americans. I promise, it will help you craft a message that will resonate with your electeds.

Script (for Senators): Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling because I’m disgusted that the tax plan that’s being discussed benefits the wealthiest Americans and shortchanges the rest of us. Corporations are logging huge profits, and CEOs are doing better now than ever. Cutting corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthiest Americans will do nothing for the rest of us. It’s really clear that the only reason this is even being considered is because it’s what the donors want. Just like with healthcare, it seems that the GOP is more interested in giving a gift to its donor class than looking out for the working class. I urge the Senator to take a leadership position and slow this proposal down, to consider its impact on people like you and I, and to vote against this bill.

Thursday: Support CHIP and Community Health Centers

Another week, another delay in healthcare funding for 9 million children and community health centers. It’s emblematic of the disfunction of this GOP-led government; even when they’re working with a popular, bipartisan program, they still can’t finish the job. *Sigh*

I was so glad to see Senator Bernie Sanders’ op-ed in The Hill this week, laying out all of the reasons why S.1899, the bipartisan community health center funding bill proposed by Senators Blunt and Stabenow, needs to be passed.

I can hear you asking: what about the House bill that passed? And yes, indeed, the House passed a funding bill on party lines last week – and that bill may fund CHIP. But, it’s filled with poison pills and may actually impede the progress of the clean bill that can actually pass, because now they have to quarrel about all of those poison pills.

In any case, it’s time to call our Senators again and tell them that even though it’s a busy news cycle, we’re still paying attention to what they are doing.

Script (Senators): Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m really glad to hear that the bipartisan consensus is that CHIP and community health centers should be funded. While the House recently passed a bill that provides funding for an additional two years, that bill creates funding for those programs by undermining the ACA. Community health centers are critically important – and Senate Bill 1899, sponsored by Senators Blunt and Stabenow, provides funding for community health centers. Please ask the Senator to co-sponsor and support that legislation. And what is the Senator doing to help fund the CHIP program?

Friday: Call on Your GOP Senators to Oppose Moore

Last week, the Washington Post broke a very detailed and disturbing story about Roy Moore, the GOP’s Senate candidate in Alabama’s special election. One of the four women who went on the record for the story was 14 years old when the then-32-year-old Moore sexually assaulted her; the others were teenagers at the time Moore “dated” them. Since the Washington Post revelations, another woman has come forward with additional allegations of sexual assault (this time, a violent one).

Even so, and as disturbing as it is to admit, Alabama voters are so partisan that they just might elect Moore to the Senate. So let’s be clear: the GOP cannot allow a pedophile to take a seat in the United States Senate. A few GOP Senators have already taken that stand, saying that Moore should not be sworn in, even if he wins the election.

Now it’s time for all of our GOP Senators to take a stand.

Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because I’m disgusted that it’s even a debatable question about whether Roy Moore should be a U.S. Senator. It’s high time for Senators like Senator ___ to be clear – Mr. Moore should drop out of the race, and if he doesn’t, that he shouldn’t be allowed to take a seat in the Senate. I never would have guessed that the GOP would publicly back a pedophile, and I hope that’s not Senator ____’s position. I’d like to hear him/her publicly denounce Moore’s candidacy, and ask him to step aside.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.

If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and 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. Welcome, friend!

Lastly, if you’d like to support this work (thanks to those who have done so!), you can become a supporter here.

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