Out of adversity, comes opportunity. ~Benjamin Franklin
Over the past month, many of us have worked from home. Many others have sacrificed their health and safety to keep the wheels of our society turning, however slowly.
We’ve learned some surprising and valuable lessons.
Our actions really are killing the environment, after all.
Our healthcare system really is stacked against a lot of people – and running hospitals for profit means that those lean, mean, money-making machines don’t have as much stretch as our society needs in a time like this.
Our political structure really does value the wealthy and powerful, and those people really aren’t the ones that keep the trains running on time (both literally and figuratively).
Our supply chains really are fragile. We really do rely too much on other countries for some things.
There really is inequity in health outcomes, and it really is tied to zip codes and economic opportunity.
We really do undervalue teachers and our public school system, which does a heckuva lot more than people realized.
And we really do have one political party that is trying with all its might to help people vote, and another that truly believes the more people vote the worse the outcomes for them (whether that’s accurate isn’t clear, actually).
Now the question is how we use those lessons we’ve learned.
That means acting intentionally over the next months and years to craft policies that address the structural and political problems we’ve witnessed, and trying to ensure that the people leading our country take what we’ve learned and apply it in a way that benefits all of us.
Now, I figured with a pandemic and all we might have a really hard time doing that last bit – electing leaders that will act to the benefit of all of us. After all, with Republicans refusing to allow vote-by-mail or expanded absentee voting, will people really risk their lives (and the lives of their loved ones) to vote?
Yesterday we got the results from Wisconsin’s Democratic primary. And oh boy.
The results of the Democratic primary themselves weren’t the shocking bit. Oh no – the shocking part was the result of a special election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, of all things. You wouldn’t expect a race for a state’s supreme court to be such a big deal, even locally.
But this was a local election with surprisingly massive national consequences, because whomever won the seat will likely cast the deciding vote on a voter suppression case, the outcome of which will determine whether 240,000 Wisconsonites are removed from the voter rolls.
In a state Trump won by 22,748 votes, that’s a big deal.
Trump himself had endorsed the conservative incumbent justice. The Wisconsin republican party had gone all in and all out for the guy. Completely false (and terrifying) attack ads rained down on the Democratic nominee.
Meanwhile, Democrats were on their back foot, with their strategy of three weekends of neighbor-to-neighbor door knocking thrown out the window and their efforts to increase absentee voting hitting a brick wall.
Efforts to extend absentee voting deadlines hit a dead end. A federal judge ruled that absentee ballots received by April 13 should be counted; the Wisconsin republican party appealed all the way to the Supreme Court … and the extension was tossed.
In-person voting prospects looked bleak. On election day, out of more than 180 polling locations in Milwaukee, only 5 opened.
It was looking quite grim, frankly.
But the results came in last night. And – lo and behold – that conservative candidate lost by over 160,000 votes.
That’s … wow.
After witnessing the GOP’s blatant voter suppression in this election, people have aptly wondered what they’ll be willing to do in November. If they were willing to go to such lengths for a state supreme court election, what will they do when the President is on the ballot?
That is a good question, and one that we need to think through.
But I like to think of it in the opposite direction, too. If this is what Democrats were willing to do for a state supreme court election … imagine what we’ll be willing to do in November. Republicans were willing to play (more) dirty politics and disenfranchise people.
Democratic voters were willing to risk … death.
Don’t know about you, but I think that shows just how dedicated and serious we are. We understand the stakes. We aren’t playing games.
We understand that all of the lessons we’re learning during this awful pandemic have been earned in vain if we don’t elect leaders who will act on them.
There’s not much positive about the situation we’re in. The silver linings are hard to come by. But seeing the dedication, drive, and commitment people have to voting in this election is nothing short of inspiring.
That’s a bit of light that’s worth focusing on for a bit, don’t you think?
Okay, folks. Let’s get to work.
Actions for the week of April 14, 2020
Tuesday: National Call-In Day Today!
The Declaration for Democracy, a historic coalition of 150 different organizations including from the labor, racial justice, faith, women’s rights, environmental and good government communities, is calling for a national call-in day today to demand $4 billion in funding to secure elections.
States need this funding to increase vote-by-mail, expand early voting, and keep their voters and poll workers safe.
So call your Senators today and ask them to include $4 billion in funding to secure our elections in the next stimulus package!
Wednesday & Thursday: Support the post office
This is such an amazing video from Chop Wood Carry Water explaining what is up with the postal service that I had to share. https://www.facebook.com/ChopCarry/videos/229399394974175/
Three things you can do (so it’s really two days of actions in one day!):
First: Call your Representative and your two Senators, and tell them that funding for the USPS needs to be in the next stimulus package, full stop.
Second: Text USPS to Resistbot (50409) for a simple and effective action. Resistbot will send a letter to your Senators and Rep, signed by you, stating:
The United States Postal service is a time-honored institution that employs thousands of Americans, including veterans, and is essential for the maintenance of a functional democracy. In the age of COVID-19, having a healthy and strong postal service is more important than ever. More and more Americans are relying on the USPS to deliver medicines, food, and essentials now that social distancing is a matter of life and death. The USPS is a lifeline for all Americans, regardless of age, gender, race, disability or socioeconomic status.
Please make supporting the USPS financially a pressing priority. This is a no-brainer, nonpartisan move that will help millions of Americans and likely save lives. Thank you for your time.
Your name, constituent from ______.
Last night I was signer number 183,680! My letter was sent to both Senators, my rep, and an image of my letters was sent to my email. And the best part? It took 3 minutes, tops.
Third: The last thing you can do is buy some stamps! And may I recommend buying some postcard stamps so you can use them in the upcoming election season? Because you KNOW you’re going to need them. Buy them in advance and show how much we’re supporting the USPS.
You can go to www.usps.com and order them online! (When I went to their website, a banner appeared: Due to a high volume of orders at this time, please allow an additional 2-3 days for the delivery of your order. A really positive sign!!)
Friday: Email Liberty Mutual
Yes, that Liberty Mutual.
Sleeping Giants was founded after the 2016 election with the goal of “stopping racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic news sites by stopping their ad dollars. Because of ‘programmatic’ ad buying, many companies don’t even know they are appearing on these sites. We inform them and help them take their ads down.is a great community of people who reach out to various.”
Brilliant, right? Right. Well, Liberty Mutual Insurance has pulled ads in the past from The O’Reilly Factor and Laura Ingraham after being contacted by Sleeping Giants. Now the organization is again reaching out, asking them to “stop running ads on Fox News entirely, as the channel pushes dangerous and lethal misinformation about COVID-19.
You can send an email to the Liberty Mutual leadership team to help Sleeping Giants!
Send your email (template below) to:
CMO at Liberty Mutual
📝 SLEEPING GIANTS TEMPLATE (feel free to make it your own!):
I’m reaching out to you as part of the Sleeping Giants community to urge Liberty Mutual to stop running ads on Fox News.
Over the past few months, it has become clear that Fox News is putting its viewers lives at risk by spreading misinformation and dangerous medical advice on their channel.
This is a pattern shared by several Fox News hosts, including Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Trish Regan, Jeanine Pirro, as well as their daytime hosts.
Several viewers have ended up in the hospital as a result of these false and irresponsible claims. Fox News has clearly become a danger to public health, which is putting all of our lives at risk.
Is this really where you should be putting your money? Please reconsider your media buy with Fox News and consider ad placements that are aligned with your values at Liberty Mutual.
WHEW! GO TEAM!
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!
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.