Citizens working together are more powerful than US Attorneys. And presidents. ~Preet Bharara
Note: Some of you may recall this post, which was originally published on October 31, 2017; its message felt especially relevant this week. I hope it reminds you just how much your daily contributions matter, and how powerful we are when we all work together I see the work you’re doing, friend. And I’m grateful for it, and for your presence by my side. xo, michele
There’s nothing more frightening than a government that’s working against you.
There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing a movement coalesce to fight back.
We’ve seen time and time again over the past almost-year that when we stop thinking why we can’t do something we find ways to change the world. When we stopped believing we were helpless, we were no longer helpless. When we stopped believing our political situation was hopeless, we gave ourselves reason to be hopeful. When we stopped believing there was no way to stop this administration, we found ways to stop it.
The first step always seems to be overcoming the limitations we place on ourselves.
An example: chef Jose Andres went to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. When he arrived, he visited a friend and fellow chef who had a freezer full of food that was going to go bad. Another friend had a generator. The next day he was feeding San Juan. The next week the Salvation Army was asking himfor food.
They had no strategic plan, no funding, no long-term analysis and no distribution network.
“We decided we would just start cooking.”
He fed hungry Puerto Ricans literally millions of warm meals and sandwiches – including people in mountainous areas that are hard to find and harder to reach.
How did he do it?
Rather than asking why, he asked why not.
I can hear your inner voice telling you right now that he’s a special case, it was a special situation, he’s smarter or more talented or wealthier than you. That you don’t have time, or you don’t have special skills, or you’re not special enough to do something so big.
Poppycock. Stop selling yourself so short.
We get one shot at life, folks. And there are a lot of people who gave a whole heckuva lot for us to be able to live the one we have with vibrance and gusto.
There are a lot of things that are scary about living right now. But the scariest thing, to me, is to do nothing at all.
I’ll bet you feel the same.
So let’s get to work.
***Big thanks to the amazing Susan Craig for her invaluable help with actions this week!
Tuesday: Don’t Let This Become Normal.
Trump’s tweetstorm on Sunday crossed a new norm-busting line when he went beyond his usual tactics of suggesting political bias (“witch hunt!”). He went further by “demanding” that DOJ do his bidding by opening a new investigation to determine if the Trump campaign was surveilled for “Politcal Purposes.”
As Benjamin Wittes explains in the Atlantic, unfortunately, the President does have the constitutional authority to do this. The lack of presidential interference in judicial investigations is simply “one of our deep normative expectations of the modern presidency.”
At least it was.
There’s some scuttlebutt to imply that the tweet was an effort to get Rosenstein to resign (as he’d be reluctant to open the investigation) or give the President grounds to fire him for not following through on the request. It seems as though Rosenstein’s statement (coming soon after the tweet and prior to any formal tasking from the White House) that he will expand the current review of FBI conduct, has averted this crisis….for now. But this development is important. So stick a pin in it.
And with all the firings, tweets, distractions and developments under this administration, it can be really hard to focus beyond one news cycle. (Trust me, I can relate.)
So what can you do? First, just remind yourself that this.is.not.normal. Pay attention to this story.
Second, call your Senators to tell them that if Trump is going to defy expectations, then you expect them to do the same thing – and stick up for all of us, whether it’s something they’ve done before or not. Let them know you’re paying attention and you hope they are, too. Here’s a sample script:
Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I just wanted to the let the Senator know that I find President Trump’s tweet “demanding” that the Justice Department act on his behalf – for overtly political reasons and without a shred of evidence to support his conspiratorial assertions – very troubling. I expect the Senator to come out publicly and let the White House know that this is a dangerous precedent, and to assure her/his constituents that it’s on her/his radar. I hope you will support the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act and encourage Senate leadership to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. These latest developments indicate the President’s ongoing desire to impede and undermine DOJ’s work and a vote on that bill would send a powerful message to the President that it’s not ok.
Wednesday: Support Planned Parenthood
By now, you may have already heard about the so-called “gag rule” that the Trump administration is trying to implement. If not, essentially it would “prohibit doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers across the country from being able to refer their patients for safe, legal abortion.”
Yes, you read that right.
Any medical facility that even so much as refers a patient for abortion would lose federal funding.
It’s ridiculous. And even with all the crazy going on in the White House, this issue is central to women’s health and it’s really important to speak out against. Here’s a nice article summing up the attacks on women’s health written by a health care provider.
What can you do?
You can go here to submit a comment to HHS via Planned Parenthood.
And you can find – and use – your local Planned Parenthood. Let’s face it – they’re the ones that are truly in the crosshairs here. If you’re a woman and you need a yearly exam – make an appointment at Planned Parenthood. They’re excellent providers, and they can use your support right now. While you’re at it, encourage your friends to do the same.
Thursday: Support Common Sense Gun Reform and Find Out Where Candidates Stand
Last week, yet another school shooting ripped our hearts apart. Not even a week later, it’s no longer front-page news.
But here’s a shocking headline, and a sobering statistic: 2018 has been deadlier for school children than deployed service members. “Twice as many students have been killed in school shootings as have members of the military who were on deployment.”
If you haven’t joined Moms Demand or been to one of their meetings, you absolutely should. These ladies (and men, of course) get things done, and it’s a great place to meet like-minded folks.
But if meetings aren’t your thing, you can advocate from home by going to EveryTown’s digital action plan: Throw Them Out.
It’s my new favorite one-stop-shop for statistics and great questions to ask your lawmakers about gun reform legislation. (Pssst: I’ve seen some folks referencing the need for “gun control.” The phrase “gun control” has a negative connotation – and pro-gun activists point to its use as evidence that we’re out get everyone’s guns. And that’s not what we’re doing at all – we all know that. But let’s not set ourselves up for that specific attack and use the more specific and accurate “gun reform” instead. After all, our goal is common sense gun reform!)
So check out that resource, and then use the “Get Candidates on the Record” as a template for questions of local candidates that you might want to support. Now’s the time to get them on the record about how they plan to protect our lives.
Friday: See What the Trump Administration is Doing to Insurance in Your State
Here’s a brand new resource – and you know how I love to share those! It’s a fancy, interactive map of the United States that shows the impact that the Trump administration’s policies have had on insurance premiums in your state.
It’s got lots of great quotes and share-able information – and makes a difficult issue easy to understand and to share with friends. As our news culture gets more and more saturated with Russia stories (which are important, don’t get me wrong) we run the risk of issues like these getting lost in the noise. Help your friends stay informed – particularly about health care costs, which are important to all of us.
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.