Do Not Go Gently

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~Dylan Thomas


Anymore, not a day goes by that I don’t see a mental tug-of-war playing out in our media.

On one side – concern that there’s too little passion. That not enough people are standing up to the threats we are seeing, and too many people are bystanders and not enough are activists.

On the other – claims that we all need to settle down – to relax, and to allow ourselves time and mental space. That taking a break isn’t a bad thing. That a good nap and a good bath would do wonders to solve our problems.

Perfect example – last week a commentator decried the relative quiet around Kavanaugh’s nomination, predicting that in five years, when Kavanaugh casts the vote that overturns Roe, progressives will take to the streets – but noting that if they would capture that energy now, they might just keep that vote from happening in the first place.

Meanwhile, on the very same day, I saw an editorial encouraging people to go on a “political cleanse” so they get invited to more parties. (Written by the straight white male director of a conservative think tank. In case it wasn’t already obvious, you really have to pay attention to who writes op-eds.)

There’s an ever-present temptation to slip away into numbness. To say that we don’t matter anyway. To say that we simply need a “political cleanse.”

To go gently into that good night.

It’s been nearly two years of sustained fighting. And many of us hadn’t been invested in politics before that – so we’ve endured a crash course in civics, learning the ropes in the highest stakes environment there is.

Do I blame us for being tired? Not at all.

But we can – and we must – push through.

So, in very practical terms, how do we keep up our fight?

I can’t guarantee this will work for you, but it works for most. It works for me.

When it gets hard, or tedious, or boring, or all of the above – close your eyes.

Think back to November 9, 2016.

Allow yourself to really feel that morning – that day when you woke up to a country that you didn’t recognize. Were you in a dream state? Scratchy eyes with a sore throat from sobbing? Stomach in knots?

How did you tell your children what happened when they bumbled down the stairs with sleepy eyes and bedhead? When they said “you mean the bad man won?” how did you respond?

When you watched Hillary Clinton in a purple suit addressing “all of the little girls who are out there watching,” what were you thinking about?

Do you remember the rawness of that initial rage? How it felt prickly and sharp – and completely foreign? We’re so used to it now – but do you remember when you first met that feeling in person?

And do you remember the stifling heat of not knowing what would happen, coupled with the deep despair that came from knowing what would happen all too well?

I remember all of that.

I bet you do too.

But we stuff-and-push-and-shove-and-tuck that morning down so far down in our psyche that our mind can’t reach it without searching for it on its tippy toes.

Sometimes it’s important, though, to take that box of memories down from our mental attic, unpack it, and remember.

So, friend. What would you do to never have that kind of experience again?

This November, we will feel one of two emotions.

Anguish. Or elation.

What we do right now determines which of those feelings we will have.

We are so close.

Do not stop.

Rage.

Rage against the dying of the light.


Actions

Tuesday: Vote!

If you’re in Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas or Washington – get out there and vote today!  Lots of important issues and great candidates on the ballot. And as you know, there are often fewer people at the polls in primaries than in the general. Let’s show them that we are riled up and ready to vote in November by getting out there today.

And if you’re in Missouri, make sure you vote NO on Proposition A. Proposition A is “Right to Work” – an attempted union-busting measure that means lower wages for all of us and fewer people looking out for the rights of workers. We need more protections for workers – not less. So vote NO on Prop A!

Also Tuesday: Indivisible Phonebanking Training!

The fight to save SCOTUS is incredibly important. So it’s important for us to reach out to voters in key states, and encourage them to lobby their Senators to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Indivisible has kicky phone banking software, and will be holding a phone banking training tonight, at 7:30 eastern. Phone banking times will be on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Check it out here: https://www.indivisible.org/save-scotus/

Wednesday: Show Up for a Racial Justice Webinar

Showing Up for Racial Justice is an organization that believes its role as part of a multi-racial movement is to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help build a racially just society. There are chapters across the country, and they have a number of different programs and initiatives.

One of those initiatives is to end family separation – and to that end, they have a form you can complete with whatever assistance you are willing to provide, whether that’s social media amplification or sponsorship or letter writing or financial assistance. There really is something for everyone, so check it out.

They also have a very interesting “Alt-Right and Immigration” webinar on Wednesday night, at 8pm eastern, 7pm central. From the description: “We will bring together community organizers, organizations and activists that are at the forefront of confronting hate, and discuss ways in which we can strengthen our commitments to impacted communities while deepening our collective knowledge of the threat we face.” Sounds interesting, and pretty darn timely. Head over here to sign up.

Friday: Demand That Kavanaugh be Fully Vetted

The National Archives has said that it may take them until the end of October to finish reviewing all of the requested documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s tenure at the White House as associate counsel and confirmation to the D.C. Circuit. And those are just the documents that Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley has asked for – he is not asking for the papers from Kavanaugh’s tenure as Pres. Bush’s “staff secretary” or as part of the Starr investigation, because he says they aren’t relevant. These records are crucial – they’re part of his record of service in a position that Kavanaugh himself said influenced his judicial outlook. The staff secretary determines what gets seen by the President – and they are intimately involved in policy discussions. John Podesta and Todd Stern wrote a very useful summary of their work as staff secretaries in other administrations, and why they believe Kavanaugh’s papers are relevant and essential to review.

Is the end of October too long to wait for documents that will help you vet someone who will hold an office for the rest of their lives? Hell, no.

Is the end of November too long? Hell, no.

Especially when the GOP Senate left a Supreme Court seat open for an entire year (Merrick Garland, y’all!) for no reason other than to encourage their base to get out and vote for the republican.

Frankly, that’s just the price you pay for nominating someone to the Court who has such a long -and extremely relevant- paper trail.

It’s outrageous that the GOP would even consider voting on Kavanaugh without reviewing these papers. They know they’re relevant. Please pick up the phone and call your Senators. Demand that they ask for and review these essential materials. They deserve to know who they are voting on – and we Americans deserve to know who will sit on the highest court in the nation.

Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to ask what the Senator is doing to ensure that Judge Kavanaugh’s papers from when he was the staff secretary during the Bush administration are obtained and reviewed before his nomination is voted on. His experience is incredibly relevant, and we deserve to know who is going to sit on the highest court in the land – especially when that appointment is for life. If there’s a delay in his confirmation so that we can review his background, that’s the price to pay for nominating someone with such an extensive and relevant paper trail. And, as we all saw when Merrick Garland’s nomination was blocked, the Court is able to function with 8 justices. I’m asking that the Senator just demand that process be followed. Thanks.


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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