We rise by lifting others. ~Robert Fitzgerald
Please find your own unique way to speak out, act up, or just make a difference. Though it may not always seem it, the courage of immigrants is in all our DNA. Now’s the time to put it to good use. ~Penzys Spices
Last week I got an e-mail from a spice company that made me pause and reflect on just how good being good can be.
And these days, we need good things, don’t we?
Our hearts are under nearly constant attack. Every day (often every hour), we’re confronted with things this administration has done – or promises to do – that call into question what and who we are as a nation, and as human beings.
Corruption, dishonesty and greed combined with a lack of respect for human life and a disdain for democracy create the poison that’s been ladled all over our country… for more than a year now. It’s hard to take. So it’s no wonder that it’s difficult to pay attention to it all.
We’ve talked a little about how to beat back the blahs, and how to find your groove in this world of hate and graft and vitriol.
But reading an e-mail from Penzeys Spice reminded me just how much power each of us has to push back the hate in our own unique ways.
It was a simple e-mail, really. In it, Penzeys Spice offered a free gift box. It was their “soul” box – an eight-jar pack of favorite spices, with a soul pin in a pretty little package. It’s normally $35, but they literally gave it away – no purchase necessary.
Because they wanted people to share their message – that “the time has come for us all to stop pretending that what is happening in America is in any way normal. Right now we are in a struggle for the Heart and Soul of our country. It is a struggle we can’t allow ourselves to lose.”
Yes. They said that.
A profit-making company just out and said what we are all thinking, and literally gave products away so that people would share their message with more people. As they said – “[W]e’ve learned through experience that good messages are shared. When a good message is combined with something of value for free it has even greater reach. And if you have a message that you wish would reach many-many people, combine it with something free of great value. Now seems more than ever to be a time to try and reach everybody.”
Guess what happened?
Their message was shared, and shared, and then shared again.
They ran out of soul boxes – and even ran out of the 1/4 cup glass jars that they make those boxes with.
Not surprising, right? Everyone wants something for free.
But here’s the surprise: They had their biggest sales day ever – ending the Saturday of their offer with more than twice the sales of any day that had come before.
Friends, it’s time to remind ourselves. Being good, is good.
Being honest, and caring, and considerate, and protective of the vulnerable – all of these things are good. Encouraging other people to do that same thing, is good. And goodness is often rewarded.
We need these reminders to be good.
When our nation’s leader – our example-in-chief – is a grifter and a charlatan who cares more for profits than people, it’s easy to trick yourself into thinking that being good is a liability rather than a strength.
It’s easy to say that it’s better to be quiet.
Being quiet is easier. It’s not better.
I’m not a spokesperson for Penzeys, and I’m not even encouraging you to go out there and buy from them. I’m also not coaching you on how to do your job or how to run a business.
But I am sharing this story with you in the hopes that it inspires you to be creative about ways in which you can be good – whether that’s in your professional or your daily life.
We each have so much good to offer.
We need so much more good in our lives.
Let’s share it, and build it, and lift one another up.
Just by being good.
Let’s get to work.
Tuesday: Be Good With Your Bad Self
So we just got done talking about how good being good can be – so today let’s remind ourselves how easy it is, too. Call someone you know is having a hard time. Write encouraging messages in chalk on the sidewalk. Mow a neighbor’s lawn.
Whatever feels right, is the right thing to do. So get out there today and make your heart smile! And then if you think of it, shoot me a message and tell me about it. That will make me smile, too.
Wednesday: Speak Up for the Hungry; Protect SNAP
On a partisan vote, the House Agriculture Committee advanced a version of the Farm Bill that will make it harder for 2 million people to eat. No kidding. It does that by taking and/or cutting SNAP benefits from many struggling Americans, including parents raising kids, people with disabilities, and working people. The bill proposes $17 billion in cuts – and a new system of penalties that take away food assistance from those who don’t meet sweeping, expanded work requirements.
In general, you’ll want to ask your congresscritter to oppose the House Agriculture Committee’s version of the Farm Bill and to pass a Farm Bill that protects SNAP from harmful cuts and changes.
But – because Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee unanimously opposed the version of the Farm Bill that just passed out of the committee, if your congressman/woman is in that group (see the committee membership list here), please thank him or her for standing up for families.
And go ahead and mark your calendar for May 8, when Feeding America is organizing a nationwide call-in day to urge House members to oppose cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill. You can use their toll-free number (888-398-8702) to connect to your representative.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to ask Congressman/woman ____ to oppose the cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill. Families are having a hard enough time putting food on the table. I don’t understand why it makes sense to cut benefits to starving families while giving billionaires a huge tax break. Could you explain how that makes sense to the Congressman/woman? What is he/she doing to address the widening level of income inequality in this country, and ensure that well-paying jobs are available in every zip code?
Thursday: Protect Special Counsel Investigations
Yesterday, some of the questions that the Mueller investigatory team has for Trump were leaked to the press and published in the New York Times.
So, the good news is that Mueller’s team is clearly serious. The bad news is that the seriousness of the inquiry will almost certainly further rattle the administration and might put that investigation in more danger. Now, to be clear, those questions have been known to the Trump team since March – so it’s not as if they are new information to them. But now it’s a little more clear just why Trump’s feet might feel more toasty these days than in weeks past.
Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee passed its bi-partisan bill protecting Mueller. So this week, call your Senator and ask what he/she is doing to force that bill to go to the floor for a vote. Senator McConnell is thus far refusing to call it to a vote.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to encourage the Senator to do whatever he/she can to help bring SB2644 to the floor for a vote. This is bipartisan legislation that’s just intended to codify existing Department of Justice regulations to ensure that the Special Counsel can only be fired for good cause. It’s not really clear to me why that’s controversial – it’s legislation that will protect investigations going forward. What is the Senator’s position on SB2644, and what is he/she doing to help bring it to the floor for a vote? (Side note here – McConnell really does hold the cards here – whether to bring something to the floor is his decision. But showing your Senators that you care enough to ask is the point.)
Friday: Fight for Net Neutrality!
In December, the FCC voted to overturn net neutrality rules that promote a free and fair internet. Yet again, the administration chose the big business corporate interests over equality and fairness.
But on May 9, the Senate will present a petition to force a vote on a resolution that would undo the FCC’s action.
We need to show the Senate that we support a free and fair internet – and show the House that we mean business as well. If this resolution passes the Senate it will go to the House; then it will need to be signed by the Trump. So this is just the first step.
But… the midterms are coming, and if we show the level of engagement that I know we’re capable of…
So give a call to your Senators, tell them to vote in favor of net neutrality, and make those switchboards sing! Then head over to Battle for the Net, where you can learn more about their “red alert” campaign and how you can show your support on social media.
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.
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