We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. ~Dr. Martin Luther King
Sometimes when you get disappointment it makes you stronger. ~David Rudisha
Best laid plans, right?
I had already written this week’s pep talk – surprising myself with productivity earlier in the week – and then…
Suddenly there was a flurry of activity, my social media feeds full of anxious tweets and nervous flutters – the Mueller Report is being delivered! Hallelujah! Then… angst. Depression. Anger. Fear.
And then a sustained and worried silence.
The report didn’t conclude that Trump conspired with Russia. It made no conclusion about whether he obstructed justice, and left that to AG Barr, who surprised no one by declining prosecution.
We’re Better Than This; This Result is a Reminder
I struggled with whether to even write about Mueller and the report and the reaction to both, because in some ways I feel like we need to simply move on and not dwell on any disappointment we might feel.
But I saw too many people who said they were done. That this was the last straw, that their hopes were dashed, that they believed the system would work and Mueller would save us from the darkest corners of our country. And now they’re so dejected that they just can’t go on.
I can understand that feeling, but I want to explain why I know we’re better than to give in to it.
We’ve all been awaiting the Mueller report like it’s a book we’ve pre-ordered. Its arrival has been teased for months. Its very subject has dire implications for our national security and the rule of law. Of course we’re interested in what it has to say.
But here’s the thing…
The existence of the Resistance does not now, nor has it ever, relied upon Mueller. We were here before him. We’re here after him.
We were showing up and speaking out months before Comey was fired and Sessions recused himself. We were active and outspoken well before Mueller’s name and the words “special counsel” were first uttered with reverence… and hope.
Before we relied upon him, we relied upon ourselves.
Don’t you remember?
We showed up in pink pussy hats to show solidarity with women and each other at the Women’s March; we showed up at airports with signs offering free legal services and love when the Muslim ban was announced; we jammed the phone lines with protest calls about Bannon, and Sessions, and … and … and …
And even since Mueller was installed, we kept going. We showed up with red shirts to March for Our Lives; we showed up for die ins to fight for health care and insurance equity; we showed up to march for facts, for science, for truth.
We’ve showed up … for each other. Time, and time, and time again.
Don’t you dare leave your post now.
You might be disappointed, but I hope now you can also be reminded of your power. Of our power. It’s always been up to us, you know. While we were hoping that Mueller would swoop in and help fix this mess, we forgot that we started to fix it ourselves. And I happen to think we’ve done a pretty good job so far.
You know this already, or you wouldn’t be reading these words right now. You wouldn’t be showing up for a pep talk every week, to get that sustained boost of hope and inspiration and motivation for the week ahead. You understand that the resistance isn’t like some crash diet that we go on until bikini season ends. This is a lifestyle. This is our lives now.
This is your life now.
So Mueller or not, it’s business as usual.
So why does it still suck so much?
Even though I know that you know that we need to continue on, it’s still a whole lot of disappointment. Do I understand the winge-ing? The hand-wringing, the anger, the worry, the depression? Of course I do. I’m right there with you.
Because we wanted the report to be a wakeup call…
We all dreamed that the Mueller report would finally wake the rest of the country up to what we’ve seen since the first day of Donald Trump’s campaign. I hoped that it would give the GOP Senators the cover they would need to walk away from Trump. That it didn’t provide that sort of wakeup call is disappointing, to say the least.
And we know the GOP will use the report as propaganda…
And yes, it means our work is a bit harder.
Because right now, the GOP is positively giddy. They’re on a sugar high of power, an adrenaline rush created by their perceived “victory” over the “liberal left.” Unfortunately, they seem to care more about making us cry than on the country’s wellbeing. Case in point – GOP Missouri state representatives bring their “liberal tears” coffee cups onto the floor of the house and drink from them – in full view.
Keep in mind that even in the reddest of districts, 20-25% of their constituents are liberal.
That level of distain for fellow human beings is disgusting to me, and I see more mature behavior from the kids in my son’s kindergarten class. But that’s what we’re dealing with.
It’s more important now than ever that we remember that we are the adults in the room. We cannot take the bait and turn this into an “us” vs. “them.” We are better than that, friends.
This was never a contest. It was (and it still is, remember) an investigation. And an extremely serious one at that.
So … What now?
As I said to a friend last week, the best response to disappointment, rejection, and defeat… is success.
The best revenge is to simply keep going. To keep fighting. To continue on, solid in what we’re working toward and with the knowledge that we are on the right side of this one. We are David, not Goliath. We’re the underdog. The heroines in the story. The plucky souls who never give up and find a way, even when nobody sees them coming.
We’re the grassroots bubbling up, organizing, growing, changing as we need to – and scaring the GOP so much that their one greatest pleasure is to make us cry. Imagine that! We’ve gotten to them already, just by working hard and working together.
That’s why rather than quitting we need to double – and triple – down.
I know you’re disappointed. I know you wanted something different. But nobody is going to deliver us. Nobody’s going to be our savior.
This was always up to us.
This was always up to you.
We can do this.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the week of March 26, 2019
Tuesday: Join Me In Calling for the Mueller Report to be Released – and House Veto Override Bill Today!
Today, and every day until it’s released in its entirety, I’m going to be calling my Senators and my Congressman and demanding they call for its release. I strongly, strongly suggest that we all do the same.
This needs to be a crush of calls, folks. Think back to the ACA fight. Remember the shock at our response? Let’s channel that energy, and charge up our phones!
Also: today the House will hold a veto override vote on Trump’s national emergency declaration. The House needs a 2/3 majority vote to override the veto – so it’s all hands on deck, folks! Contact your Congresscritter and tell them to vote to override the veto.
Note that 5calls, Rogan’s List and whole passel of other groups are calling today – so lend your voice and don’t be left out!
Wednesday: Support the Resolution Condemning Trump’s Transgender Military Ban
On Thursday, there will be a vote on a resolution against Trump’s transgender military ban. The resolution states that the “House ‘strongly opposes’ Trump’s ban… and rejects ‘the flawed scientific and medical claims’ in the Mattis implementation plan that justify it. Additionally, the resolution urges the Pentagon to refuse to instate Trump’s ban and to ‘maintain an inclusive policy allowing qualified transgender Americans to enlist and serve in the armed forces.'” It’s critical that we show support and solidarity for our transgender service members – so please call your Congresscritter and ask them to vote in favor of this important resolution.
Thursday: Ask Your Congresscritter to Protect Kids and Cosponsor HR230
It’s a funny thing about our administrative state. We’re used to hearing about the EPA making this regulation, or the FDA issuing a rule making. But the important thing to remember is: they can only make those decisions when Congress hasn’t already told them what to do.
That is, basically, what the administrative state is tasked with doing – filling in the blanks when they need to.
And lately, they’ve been filling in the blanks in ways that aren’t in the public interest. Luckily for us, we have a way to speak out about it – and potentially do something about it.
Here’s a perfect example. (Hat tip to Chop Wood Carry Water for the idea for this action). There’s a particularly nasty pesticide called chlorpyrifos that Dow Chemical has produced since the 1960s. Back in the day it was used in homes, golf courses, fields and farms.
I said it’s nasty – and it is. It’s a relative of sarin gas. It’s highly toxic to birds and bees (who are already in serious decline) and “moderately” toxic to humans. Studies show that even small amounts of it can cause neurological damage in children, resulting in lower IQ, memory loss, and ADHD. Kids in farming communities are particularly vulnerable.
As its toxicity was more readily understood it was banned for home use in 2000. But the EPA has refused to eliminate its use in farms and fields. The apples in your refrigerator were probably sprayed with it. Families living near orchards and farm fields must live with the toxic drift. (Here’s the story of a family living next to an orchard that came home from Easter lunch to a toxic backyard.
In 2015 the Obama administration banned it. In 2017, the Trump administration, with Scott Pruitt at the helm, said “oh hey – not so fast!” and pulled back that decision. In August 2018 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said there was no way to use chlorpyrifos safely, and ordered the EPA to ban the chemical within 60 days. The EPA appealed.
Yesterday, the full 9th Circuit heard the appeal, and we’ll find out soon enough if the ban will remain.
But here’s the thing. We are not at the mercy of the EPA. Congress can simply ban the chemical. And that’s what HR230 is doing – ensuring that this dangerous chemical does no longer ends up on your grocery store shelf or in your drinking water. (Currently it ends up in both.)
Call your member of Congress today, and tell them that you expect them to cosponsor and support HR230, for your safety and the safety of the kids in your district.
Click HERE for the list of cosponsors.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to ask the Congress(wo)man to cosponsor HR230, which would prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos. That chemical is a relative of sarin gas, and there’s no way to use it safely. It ends up in our produce and in our drinking water, so no matter what region you live in you’re still at risk of exposure. We know too much about what this chemical does to people – kids in particular – to just sit by and let it happen. The EPA no longer wants to ban this chemical on its own, so I’m relying on the Congress(wo)man to protect her/his constituents.
Friday: Attend My Building Blue Training!
Exciting stuff, guys! Saturday, March 30 I’ll be leading a training on communications and strategy in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s going to be an action-and-information-packed 30 minutes. You can join the fun by signing up here.
For those of you who aren’t in St. Louis, I wanted to make this information available – so I’ll be giving subscribers access to a recording of the information as well as any materials that I provide as part of the event. If you’re not a subscriber yet, sign up here!