The Weeds of Democracy

They tried to bury us. They didn’t know that we are seeds. ~Mexican proverb

Weeds are just extremely resilient flowers.

One gardener’s noxious weed is another’s landscaper’s “ground cover,” prized for its hardiness and its spreading habit (and often sold for $6.99 per flat at your local big box gardening store).

Besides being fast to spread, weeds have all kinds of amazing ways to prosper. Some tunnel far underground with spectacular runners that can burrow under – and into – cement, coming up in the darnedest places. One particularly adventurous sort emerged in my mother’s basement by way of her stone foundation.

Others have prickly pods with thousands of seeds that spread into the wind on parachutes of fluff. (These, in particular, are popular with five-year-olds.)

Still others can climb up higher and faster than you can pull them down, wrapping themselves around shrubs and other vines.

That’s the thing about weeds.

They’re hard to manage.

They don’t follow the rules.

They’re unruly, a little unkempt, and maybe their flowers aren’t as delicate as the hothouse varieties you have to coax along.

But darn, do they ever excel at surviving.

Just like us.

We’ve been through a lot over the last year and a half. Boiling heat. Freezing temperatures. Storms, and droughts, and a lot of people hacking away at our roots.

Every time they thought they had squashed us, or buried us, or dried up our reserves… we’ve come back.

Actually, we haven’t just come back.

We’ve grown.

We’ve overtaken entire communities – reaching out into areas and districts that have lain fallow for decades. We’re sprouting up all over the country, surprising the “experts” who lack our weed-like resourcefulness and resolve.

And now, as the spring weather warms the ground, we’re seeing more and more weeds like us, emerging from the winter, faces raised to the sunshine.

Ready to get growing.

Ready to join our unruly, intrusive, eager, insistent lot.

I can’t wait to see the harvest this November.

Let’s get to work.


Tuesday: Tell Your Reps – Fund the State Department

(HUGE hat tip to follower and friend Susan Craig for her foreign policy expertise and for sharing this action. Want to help find and research actions? Shoot me an e-mail at!)

Today and tomorrow, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet with congressional committees to defend the administration’s 2019 Budget Proposal, which calls for a whopping 30% cut in funding for the State Department. Over 150 generals and admirals and 1,200 veterans have already voiced their disapproval of such drastic cuts to diplomacy and foreign aid. Why not add your name to such a distinguished list? Call your representatives and ask them to fully fund the international affairs budget.

Script for Resistbot (text RESIST to 50409 to get started), e-mail or postcard:

Dear (insert your Congresscritter’s name here): Our world has gotten more dangerous, not less, in the past year.  I stand with the many generals and veterans who are calling on you to fully fund the international affairs budget for 2019.  The Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to the State Department would further decimate the agency’s staffing and morale.  Diplomacy and development are critical tools to keep our nation safe.  I urge you to fully fund the International Affairs budget at $60 billion.

Wednesday: Tell Amazon to Cut NRATV

Let’s face it: parents use Amazon. Our kids watch Amazon videos, we use its convenience during the holidays – it’s an ever-present fixture in many homes.

Let’s face it: parents care about kids’ safety more than they care about the convenience of Amazon. 

So it blows my mind that Amazon – which depends upon the patronage of so many parents – has not cut NRATV. (YET.)

NRATV is Fox News on steroids. And if that doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you then you are one fearless cookie.

Today, give Amazon a wake-up call and tell them that you will be ending your Amazon Prime membership (or not auto-renewing it) unless they dump NRATV.

Go here to cancel your auto renew; you can simply re-instate auto-renew if Amazon cuts ties with the NRA:

Thursday: Repeal the Dickey Amendment

We hear two things after mass shootings: “thoughts and prayers,” and “nothing can be done.” The “nothing can be done” argument is fueled by the lack of evidence-based research on the topic of gun violence. That dearth of research was caused by the “Dickey Amendment,” passed in 1996. That amendment restricts the CDC from researching gun violence and its effects on public health.

Fun fact: even former Congressman Dickey – yes, the guy who authored the amendment – has called for it to be overturned.

Senator Martin Heinrich (N.M) called for the amendment to be overturned last week on Twitter. If we really want to learn about what can be done to curb gun violence, overturning that amendment is a great place to start.

Script (for either Senators or your Rep): Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling to ask the [Senator/Congressman/woman] to support responsible legislators like Senator Heinrich in overturning the Dickey Amendment. We need to enable scientists to study gun violence – that research will help legislators determine how to protect American lives, while protecting our liberties. Even former Congressman Dickey supports overturning the Amendment that he authored! What is the Senator/Congressman/woman’s stance on this issue?

Friday: Tell Your Senator: Oppose S.2155

Ten years ago we were in the throes of a financial meltdown, caused by speculative behavior by banks. After that crises, our legislators enacted new regulations. Makes sense, right?

Right. But on March 5 the Senate will likely have a floor vote on Senate Bill 2155, which removes some of those protections. It’s being sold as a bill to help community banks (which recorded a 9% increase last year and have seen record profits so they aren’t exactly destitute), but at the expense of financial stability and consumers like you and I. For example, it deregulates 25 of the biggest banks in America, and will exempt manufactured home lenders from rules that prohibit them from steering consumers toward more expensive loans. It also will exempt lenders from appraisal requirements for many rural loans. It’s time for us to call our Senators and tell them that we see just how terrible this bill is, and we expect them to oppose it.

Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to ask the Senator to oppose Senate Bill 2155. I know there’s a great deal of interest in helping community banks, and I support that. But deregulating 25 of the largest banks in America and exempting manufactured home lenders from lending regulations doesn’t do anything to help community banks. Actually, both of those things do a lot to hurt the very communities that community banks try to serve. Please ask the Senator to oppose this bill.

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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