How Do You Say “Wake Up” in Russian?

You can live a whole lifetime never being awake. ~Dan Millman


It’s a wild time to be alive.

It’s a wild time to be awake.

Yesterday the President of the United States stood on the world stage and sided with Vladimir Putin against the United States. He publicly endorsed a KGB officer’s “powerful” denials of Russian interference in the 2016 elections over our own intelligence community’s assessments.

Russian influence in the 2016 election and in the Trump presidency just can’t be denied. Not anymore.

And nobody – except the President of the United States – has tried to do so.

But, for those of us who have been paying attention, none of this is really news. In fact, the first time we talked about Russian influence was in February, 2017. And it was then that I said that surely – this would be the issue that crossed party lines. The party of Regan, of the Cold War, of hawkish defiance against the Soviet Regime – that party would never overlook being so cozy with Russia.

We were so naive.

But we weren’t – and aren’t – asleep.

You’ve seen the folks that are dozing through the dismantling of our democracy (and their own lives, though that’s a separate discussion), haven’t you? The ones who go out of their way to avoid political news, or anything uncomfortable?

Yes, well. They’re sleeping. And they really don’t want to be disturbed.

Some people can’t take seeing the world as it truly is. Maybe it’s the Matrix, who knows. But, as a friend reminded me this week, people still went to work, to the grocery store, and on vacation while Hitler was in the midst of his power grab. The people who want to sleep, will sleep.

And it’s hard for people who are trying to sleep to snooze away when we’re making so much racket.

Much easier to say we’re being hysterical. (Silly women.)

And to demand that we pipe down, so they can go back to dreaming.

But then Trump kissed Putin’s ring at an internationally televised press conference. 

And a lot more people woke up.

Oh, friend. You and I have been awake for a long time. I know we could all use some shut-eye. The days for sleep will come. I promise.

But for now, let’s welcome our newly-awoken Resisters. As frustrating as it is that they slept in, it’s good that they’re here now.

They will likely need a cup of very strong coffee.

And for you, friend.

Know that I’m thinking of you, and that even though things feel overwhelming right now, we will come out the other side. Eat well, stay hydrated, get some sleep, vent (email me! I’m happy to be your sounding board), and take your vitamins.

We need you.

Let’s get to work.


Actions

This week we’ll be burning up our phones. Our Senators and Congress(wo)men have every ability to get to the bottom of the extent of Trump’s Russian influence. If they don’t use their power in this time of crisis, we need to ensure they lose that power.

Tuesday: Call Your Congresscritter and Demand Investigation of Trump and Russia (And Ask Tough Questions)

If Congress was doing its job, we wouldn’t have all of these swirling questions about Trump and his ties to Putin. But the GOP leadership has thus far refused to investigate, and that’s clearly unacceptable. In light of yesterday’s conference, hopefully some of the GOP will see the light and consider investigations.

Let’s encourage that instinct.

Call your Congress(wo)man and push them to call for Congress to use its investigatory authority to hold Trump accountable. Then ask them what they are going to do – specifically and personally.

Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because like most of America, I am extremely concerned by Donald Trump’s actions at yesterday’s press conference. We are past time for leaders to express concern and issue statements by press release. It’s time to start investigating. It’s time to get to the bottom of why the President refuses to criticize Putin, but has no problems criticizing our Department of Justice, our judiciary, our FBI, our intelligence community – and the investigation into Russian meddling in our election. I’m calling on Congress(wo)man _____ to use her/his office to call for those kinds of investigations to happen, right now. What is the Congress(wo)man’s position on Donald Trump’s actions this week? What will he/she do to hold Trump accountable? What actions is he/she planning on taking?

Wednesday: Attend a Democracy Vigil on Tuesday.

There are hundreds of Democracy Vigils planned across the country. Go to Confront Corruption (www.confrontcorruption.org)  to find one near you.

Thursday: Call Your Senators and Demand That They Support the Disclose Act of 2018 (And Ask Tough Questions)

Last month, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and David Cicilline introduced the Disclose Act of 2018. What’s that, you say? Well, it’s a great bill that is particularly relevant now.

It would “require organizations spending money in federal elections to disclose their donors, and help guard against hidden foreign interference in our democracy.” Sounds like exactly what we need.

You can read a wonderful summary of the bill at Senator Whitehouse’s page here. It has been endorsed and supported by every single Senate Democrat, so the script below is only useful for Republican Senators.

It’s currently in Rules Committee. Go here to see if your Senator is on that Committee. Missouri folks, Roy Blunt is the chair – which means he has a whole lotta power over this bill. Let’s let him know we’re watching.

Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling because – particularly in light of the press conference Donald Trump had with Putin – I am calling upon Senator ___ to cosponsor the Disclose Act of 2018. It’s clear that we need to do more to disclose who and what is influencing our elections and campaigns. What is the Senator’s position on that bill? What is the Senator’s position on Trump’s actions this week? What is he/she going to do to hold Trump accountable? What specific actions are planned?

Friday: Catch Up.

Having trouble remembering all the details of the Russia-Trump story (or, more accurately, stories)? Here are some helpful resources to refresh your recollection:

  1. The Moscow Project, is a handy repository of Russian-related information.
  2. More into flow charts? This Politico piece has you covered. Seven charts, lots of info.
  3. Congressman Eric Swalwell has put together a very handy explainer on Trump’s ties to Russia – and put it on his official .gov page. Stunning. Go here to check it out.
  4. This WaPo article is a nice explainer on connections between Trump and Putin.
  5. And this New York Magazine article (“What if Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987?”) does a nice job of summarizing the situation we might find ourselves in. It’s also intensely frustrating, because Sarah Kendzior and others have been sounding the alarms on every single “new fact” that’s put forth in that article.
  6. Speaking of Sarah Kendzior, she and Andrea Chalupa have launched a podcast called Gaslit Nation that goes deep into the Russian/Trump connections. They’ve only dropped one episode so far, but it’s a great listen. It’s also terrifying.
Also Friday: Take a Breath, and Take Care of Yourself.

I really mean it when I say to eat well, stay hydrated, get some sleep and take your vitamins. (And not just because healthcare costs are so high that being healthy is a critical cost-saving strategy.) I also really mean it when I say you need to get some of this energy and anxiety out. Don’t bottle it up – find a friend or two and talk it out. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, shoot me an e-mail. You’ve always got my ear.

Onward, upward, and in solidarity~

Michele


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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