It’s a relief to hear the rain. It’s the sound of billions of drops, all equal, all equally committed to falling, like a sudden outbreak of democracy. Water, when it hits the ground, instantly becomes a puddle or a rivulet or flood. ~ Alice Oswald
The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence, but by oft falling. ~Lucretius
We’ve had a bit of a drought, haven’t we?
Since November 2016, when a lot of America awoke from a political slumber, we’ve been highly attuned to elections. On the nights of special elections, we glued ourselves to the t.v. or hit “refresh” again and again… exchanging hopeful texts and tweets and Facebook posts, until we learned, again, that the Democrat had lost.
Our spirits were getting as crunchy and dry as grass in a mid-August drought.
Do you feel the rain?
It started, as all storms do, with a drop here and a drop there. Amidst the “losses” we saw blue outperforming partisan benchmarks in this race here and in that one over there. But the ground swallowed those drops up before most of us even saw them.
And who pays attention to just a few little raindrops?
But more soon followed – scattered showers with special elections in Oklahoma (?!?) and continued over-performance in specials across the country.
In November, with the Virginia and New Jersey elections, we graduated to a full-on rain shower.
Last Tuesday the whole country heard the first crack of thunder, and the rain came pouring down.
We – you and I – are the architects of that storm. We are the thunder. We are the raindrops – singular drops that all fall together, joining more, and even more – all together into a river with such sustained force and intensity that it can cleave stone.
We hold that kind of power.
But we only hold it when we all work together. One little raindrop can go unnoticed. But a thunderstorm is hard to miss. And a river? Well.
Rivers cut their own paths.
So let’s keep working together – amplifying each others’ power, and eroding the obstacles that stand before us.
Let’s get to work.
Tuesday: Oppose the Tax Bill
So, folks, it’s time to hit the phones.
The tax plan looks like it has the votes to pass, but the ACA repeal did at one point, too. I’ll spare you a long analysis of the myriad reasons why the tax bill is terrible, because it’s all over the news – and because it was just finalized on Friday, the analysis is coming out hour-by-hour. Suffice to say that it doesn’t simplify a darn thing, adds plenty of juicy loopholes for special interests, will increase taxes on the middle class while giving a healthy cut to the wealthy, will throw 13 million people off health insurance, and will cause an automatic cut to Medicare and Medicaid in 2018. It’s terrible policy achieved by an entirely partisan and rushed process that disregards regular order, and is widely described as the worst bill in history. (It’s also just one leg of a tripod plan that will result in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Welfare in 2018 – thanks to the college keg dreams of Paul Ryan.)
So, if you’re reading this, you need to pick up your telephone right now and call your Senators. You are one of the overwhelming majority of Americans who oppose this bill, and you need to tell them that you see what they’re doing and you won’t let them forget it.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at _____. I’m calling to encourage/beg/plead with the Senator to vote against this Tax scam. It’s a boon to the wealthy on the backs of regular people and has been rushed through the Senate in record pace with little time for analysis or feedback. It’s over 1,000 pages long, was finalized on Friday, and will be subject to a final vote in the next day or two – what’s the rush? Why the hurry? If this is a bill that the Senator is proud enough of to vote for, he/she should be willing to hold hearings and answer the many questions that people like me have. This is yet another broken promise from the GOP. Please, tell the Senator to listen to the majority of the American people and vote no.
Wednesday: Support Net Neutrality
The FCC voted last week to repeal the net neutrality protections that had been put in place during the Obama administration. Although it wasn’t a surprise, it was a disappointment. If nothing changes, the rule (or, rather, the absence thereof) will take effect 60 days after it’s published in the Federal Register.
But that doesn’t mean the fight is over, and considering the implications of this rule, we cannot back down now. Not only are a number of state AGs suing the FCC, but the Senate Democrats will be trying to claw back the regulatory action through the Congressional Review Act, or CRA. The CRA allows the House and Senate to overturn regulations. (So, yes, if you’re keeping score, Congress does have the ability to rein in overly burdensome regulations and activist agencies.)
So, Chuck Schumer will be forcing a CRA vote in the Senate regarding net neutrality. The vote hasn’t yet been scheduled, so there’s not a resolution or bill number to reference. Still, call your Senators (both of them) to tell them that they need to vote for net neutrality and against the FCC’s repeal of the net neutrality protections. If their office told you before that they couldn’t take any action because the FCC is independent, now’s their time to shine. They will have to vote one way or another on this resolution, so let them know that you’ll be watching.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because the FCC was wrong to eliminate net neutrality protections. Last week, Leader Schumer stated his intention to force the net neutrality issue to a Senate vote pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. We are relying upon Senator ____ to protect our open and independent internet, and I’ll be watching to make sure Senator ____ votes in favor of doing so.
Boy, am I ever ready to stop harping on these issues. If you feel like this is has been a two-month-long rinse and repeat, you’re not alone.
A refresher: While the GOP has spent its time and energy trying to pass a terribly unpopular tax bill, it has neglected to restore funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and for Community Health Centers.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program insures over 9 million children. Funding for the program lapsed over a month ago, and much to the dismay of … well … everyone, the GOP has not seen fit to reauthorize their funding. Families are already beginning to receive notices that their CHIP coverage will lapse soon; sixteen states will exhaust their funding before the end of January 2018. The Kaiser Family Foundation has updated their information regarding when states will run out of CHIP funding. Check this link for information about your state.
But that’s not the only healthcare story we need to stress. If funding for Community Health Centers (FQHCs) is not renewed, millions of patients will lost access to healthcare, and 161,000 jobs will be lost. States will literally lose billions in revenue. Head over to this white paper to see a breakdown of how many jobs and how much revenue will be lost if the funding is not restored. (It’s in Table 1.)
Script (you can use this for Senators or for Reps): Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to see what ____ is doing to reauthorize funding for CHIP and community health centers. I’m really concerned about the priorities I’m seeing in Washington. You know something’s wrong when Congress prioritizes giving wealthy people tax cuts when – over the holidays no less – families are worried that their kids’ insurance will lapse and community health centers might have to lay people off. This is ridiculous! What is ____ doing right now to help the people of our state/district?
Friday: Make Your Protest Plan
There has been a rumor or two that over the holiday weekend Donald Trump will try to fire Robert Mueller (or, rather, goad Deputy AG Rosenstein into doing so, fire Rosenstein if he refuses, and go down the chain of command until he reaches someone who will do the deed). It’s imperative that we react strongly and with one voice to this action if it’s taken.
Uh huh. Easier said than done. So how do we encourage ourselves to ACTUALLY protest?
Make a plan.
Voter turnout is markedly higher for those people who are forced to think through their “voting plan” in advance. That’s why any voter turnout call scripts you get these days have questions like “have you thought of whether you are going to vote before or after work?” or “your polling place is xxx – do you know how to get there?”.
Same with us, guys. So let’s make a protest plan.
Once again, Trump Is Not Above the Law is a resource of pre-planned protests – events that have already been organized. Go check it out and see what protests will be held near you and make note of the organizers. Okay, so now that you have that protest address and the organizers – how will you get there? Do you know where the parking garages and lots are in the area?
Think about what you might need if you were out all day protesting – snacks, water, a portable cell-phone charger like the one people use when they’re camping (seriously these are amazing and I use mine all the time). Have a little bag ready for yourself and hang it in the closet.
Do you like to take a sign to protests? Where are your markers? Do you need poster board?
What shoes will you wear? What friend(s) will you bring?
Thinking these logistics through help you plan ahead for what will hopefully not happen – but if it does, you’ve already done the mental heavy lifting, and your only task will be to execute your plan and hit the streets.
I’ll see you there.
And as my parting words this week, here’s a very inspirational quote from Sally Yates, who had a wonderful piece in USA Today:
So stand up. Speak out. Our country needs all of us to raise our collective voices in support of our democratic ideals and institutions. That is what we stand for. That is who we are. And with a shared commitment to our founding principles, that is who we will remain.
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!
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