“If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.” ~Prof. Greg Scott
“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.” ~Charlie Chaplin
Note: Some of you may recall this post, which was originally published on November 28, 2017 – over TWO years ago! It 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
Here we are, in the thick of the holiday season.
It’s that time to be happy, and cheerful, and sing-songy and chipper.
Well, truth be told, the holiday season is tough for many of us even under better political circumstances.
But right now you might be like Amy Siskind (curator of the Weekly List) who thought she was handling the current political climate fairly well … until she learned from her dentist that she had apparently been “screaming in her sleep.”
It’s a stressful time.
But that means it’s all the more important that we intentionally cultivate positivity and not let ourselves wallow in boundless anxiety.
Easy to say, but hard to do. I can relate.
But here’s something you can incorporate into your regular, everyday life that will make you more joyful and effective. (And you don’t need yoga pants to do it.)
I’m not kidding.
We are understandably deadly serious about what’s going on in our country. But humor is a powerful tool for self-care, and a fantastic weapon in its own right. So hear me out.
Let’s review what we’ve already talked about regarding the Resistance’s resilience and humor: people with higher levels of “coping humor” have greater resilience.
- In one study people with higher levels of coping humor “showed little or no increase in negative mood when their number of negative life events increased”.
- Another study showed that end-stage renal disease patients with a greater sense of humor had a 31% higher survival rate.
- And humor has been shown to alleviate tension and encourage social support – a double benefit of sorts.
So there are definite physical benefits to tickling your funny bone. But why does it work?
Well, humor – and having a sense of it – helps us to gain control over an otherwise uncontrollable situation. You might remember that American POWs used humor during the Vietnam War to rebel in ways no other POW group had ever done. Even when their physical situation was entirely out of their control, they took control over their reaction and perspective – and humor played a huge role in that.
In our political environment, it’s easy to feel like you have no control. In fact, my working theory is that our activist stress level increases as our feelings of powerlessness increase. So using humor to take mental control over our situation is not only refreshing; it’s a tool to combat the negative effects of this administration.
Having fun is subversive – and effective. “Authoritarianism is directly incompatible with collective joy; it demands fear, obedience, hierarchy and an obsession with security and preparation for war.”
Smiling in the face of tyranny and dancing in the streets to protest the assault on the First Amendment not only lift our spirits – they lift our message. Activists have long found ways to use humor to draw attention to important issues and to have a good giggle in the meantime. Hey, we’ve all seen the hilarious signs that fellow activists have held up at protests. Why? Because they make us laugh, and they make a point. (Plus, the press loves to cover them!)
So remember that it’s healthy to laugh, it’s good to take control over our lives through humor, and that having fun can be the best way to make our point.
So as you’re having get-togethers with fellow activists over the holiday season, inject a little humor into your party.
- Take a page from Cocktails for Survival or Cocktails for Survival II – Surviving the Trumpocalypse and stir up a Mueller-Mulled Wine or an im-peach cocktail.
- Make it easy on yourselves and fun for your guests and serve cheetos and “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake.”
- Or have a Trumped-up cookie exchange.
Let your imagination run wild.
But whether you’re at a party or all by yourself, try to find and create reasons to laugh about the terrible-awfuls that we face each day.
And don’t feel like you need to apologize for laughing, or that you’re not “doing it right” if you’re not scowling with clenched teeth and fists.
Because you’re not making light of our situation.
You’re taking control of it.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the week of December 17, 2019
Tuesday: Dust off those marching shoes!
Tonight, on the eve of the impeachment vote, people will take to the streets and go to congressional offices all over the country at 5:30 pm local time as part of the “Nobody is above the law” events.
Find an event near you here: https://www.impeach.org/event/impeach-and-remove-attend/search/
Can’t attend an event? Make sure you call your own House Rep, but also help spread the word about Wednesday’s action…
Wednesday: Light Up the Phone Lines!
Pro-Trump Twitter is lighting up the phone lines with calls to the “Dirty 30” Democrats that are from Trump-favorable districts. (Read about it here: https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/15/conservative-groups-wage-war-on-impeachment-083396?fbclid=IwAR0mjeLl93J7E7q4a_QiFMixe8N1ABzfExublYjpOYPIHWl5tql4qcfNl3Y)
That means we need YOU to reach out to your Rep to encourage them to vote for impeachment – and help find folks in these “dirty 30” districts to get them to call and encourage their rep.
Here’s the list: (If you can’t see the image below, click here to go to the Tweet where it was posted. https://twitter.com/CortesSteve/status/1206412190640685056)
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to encourage the Congress(wo)man to vote in favor of impeachment, and to say thank you for doing the right thing for our country, even if it’s not easy to do politically. Thanks!
Thursday: Now… the Senate
Once articles of impeachment pass the House, they move to the Senate, where the impeachment trial will be held.
I’m sure by now you’ve heard that Moscow Mitch announced on national television that he’s going to be coordinating with Trump’s legal team for the impeachment trial. In other words, the fix is in.
BUT. There are some GOP Senators – a handful, really – that are doing some hand-wringing over Mitch’s coordination with the white house and his push for a trial without witnesses. (Check out this story about them: https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/16/politics/senators-worry-white-house-and-gop-leaders/index.html)
There IS a way for us to encourage our Senators to ensure there’s a real, substantive trial on impeachment. We just have to demand it.
So pick up your phone, and call your Senators. Both of them! Especially if you’re in a red state, now’s the time to put pressure on.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because I’m concerned that the Senate process for impeachment has been coordinated with the White House. That’s wrong. It’s like the Senate no longer cares about what the Constitution says it should do. A little under half of the country doesn’t think Trump should be impeached – but over half of the country does. This isn’t just a joke – it’s serious. And it’s the Senate’s responsibility to make sure it’s treated as seriously as it deserves to be. I want Senator ___ to vote for fair rules and procedures that will show the American people and the people of our state that you understand how important this is. We’ll be watching.
Friday: Spread the word about Organizing Corps Paid Trainings
Here’s a great opportunity for anyone interested in getting involved organizing. Organizing Corps is having both a 7-day bootcamp and a 5-week immersive training in organizing. Not only will both trainings be intense – they’re paid.
The 5-week training comes with a $3,000 stipend. It’s a full-time, in-field training program designed for recent graduates and career switchers interested in getting intensive training and on-the-ground practice in their hometown before applying to join the 2020 general election. Apply by March 4th.
The seven-day training comes with a $500 stipend. It’s a 7-day crash-course in campaign organizing geared towards college seniors and students completing school by June 2020, as well as those looking to work on the 2020 general election but cannot commit to the 5-week Immersion Program. Apply by February 5th.
They’re operating in eight states: Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
I’m really excited to highlight a program that’s providing great experience and training – and making it accessible by providing a stipend. Bravo!
Applications are reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis, so don’t delay! https://www.organizingcorps2020.com
WHEW! GO, TEAM! SUPER PROUD OF YOU!
P.S.: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.
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!
P.P.S.: If you want to help support this work you can do so via Patreon at
https://www.patreon.com/smalldeedsdone or via paypal at https://www.paypal.me/smalldeeds
My deepest gratitude in advance.
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. Don’t you forget it.