The gift of a day

Don’t just count your years. Make your years count. ~George Meredith

Tomorrow is my son’s birthday. He’ll be eight.

That means that eight years ago I was terribly uncomfortable, wondering when everything was going to change (the uncertainty was the worst).

Now, eight years later, I am again terribly uncomfortable, wondering when everything is going to go back to the way it used to be.

Friend, it doesn’t look like that’s happening any time soon.

But you already knew that. You also already knew that our current government isn’t handling this crisis like a government that cares about its people and that it’s dismantling the rule of law and further marginalizing people while we busy ourselves with staying alive.

You know, just a regular Tuesday.

When I was in grade school, I used to wonder what regular people’s lives were like in the middle of great historic events. What they thought about. Whether they dreamed, and what they dreamed about. Whether they knew great, hulking machines were churning above their heads as they went about their daily lives.

The answer, as we now know, is yes. They do know. The great hulking machines of history make a lot of noise. But after a while, what you once found distracting just becomes the hum in the background as you fold the laundry and think about what to make for dinner.

There is a point at which we can no longer muster panic.

Even if panic is the appropriate response.

And so, friend. Here we are.

It’s been years since we first starting calling our legislators, pushing and pulling the levers of democracy. Pushing the “stop” button time and again.

So I understand when I hear from you that you’re tired, melancholy, angry, worried. Those are all completely valid emotions, especially for what we’re going through right now. You’re not crazy. We’re in a pandemic, and your response to that heart-stopping event is okay, no matter what it is.

But here’s the thing that I think about on the birthdays of the people I love (and on other important milestone days through the year).

Every day, every week, every month – and yes, every year, is an opportunity. You’re not guaranteed tomorrow, as our news makes abundantly clear right now.

But you do have right now. That is a gift to honor.

And you do have control over what you do with that gift.

When so much is swirling around, and there’s so much that you can’t control, it’s comforting to me that I can still use a few minutes that I’ve been given to call up my government and tell them they’re doing it wrong. I can still pester them. Bug the crap out of them. Let them know I am still watching.

I find it empowering to be able to let them know that – yes even though I can still hear those hulking machines of history grinding above my head – I’m still going to annoy them by staying alert and attentive.

And I find even more comfort in knowing that they realize every time that I call, that there are hundreds – if not thousands – more like me that are watching them like a hawk, too.

I suppose I think of myself as a representative of those people. If they aren’t able to call because they can’t muster it through their fog, then I will call for them.

If they aren’t able to advocate for themselves because this is all too much, then I will carry that water for them today.

That is the least that I can do for my fellow Americans, my fellow humans.

So on this day – the day before my son’s birthday – that’s what I’m thinking of. How I can use the gift of this day to help other kids, other moms, other people like you who just can’t right now.

I’m still here fighting for you.

Join me, if you can.

Let’s get to work.


Actions for the Week of May 12, 2020

Tuesday: Listen to the Supreme Court Cases about Trump’s tax returns AND help Christy Win!

FIRST!

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this morning about whether Trump can block his accounting firm and banks from releasing his tax records. The oral arguments start at 10am (eastern), and there’s a great explainer at the Washington Post here. WaPo will also stream audio live. I have a hunch it’s going to be a busy, busy day in the Twittersphere.

SECOND!

Tuesday, May 12th, is the last day voters can mail in their ballots to vote in California’s special election for the 25th Congressional District. Christy Smith is running for the Congressional seat vacated by Katie Hill. Smith is facing Mike Garcia, a Trump-endorsed Republican. (Blerg.)

Tuesday is the final push to remind voters to send in their mail ballots. Republicans are eager to flip this seat, which will be up for vote again in November. (Double berg.) Let’s help Smith build momentum one last time by reaching out to voters today! You can sign up to volunteer to text, or call, through the Christy for Congress website. For phone banking, sign up for a call training session and then hop on the phones this afternoon. For texting, simply click on the texting event on the ‘take actions page.’ 

Wednesday: Support Frontline Foods

Healthcare professionals in hospitals across the country are heroes – working around the clock to keep us safe. If you’ve been looking for a way to help them, check out Frontline Foods.

Frontline Foods (https://www.frontlinefoods.org/) is a volunteer-run organization that works to thank these heroes with warm meals from local restaurants. (Because food = love, amiright?) Fifty-seven cities (!!) are connected to a Frontline Foods chapter. In each city, volunteers deliver meals to healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 care. The gift of a meal shows our thanks for their tireless work protecting our communities. 

There are several ways to support the efforts of Frontline Foods. First, you can start a chapter in your city to expand the reach of the program. Frontline Foods created this thorough step-by-step PowerPoint guide to help anyone begin the process of setting up a city-wide chapter.

If your city already has a chapter, you can donate your time or resources. All donations to the organization go directly to purchasing meals from local restaurants who’ve been impacted from stay-at-home orders. You can sign up to volunteer by clicking ‘contact team’ on your city’s donation page via the Frontline Foods website. Volunteers connect the organization to local restaurants, organize meal deliveries with hospitals, and serve food to healthcare workers. Learn more and get started here: https://www.frontlinefoods.org/.

Thursday: Call your SENATORS to support the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act

Senators Tammy Baldwin, Chris Murphy, and Chuck Schumer introduced legislation in the Senate that federalizes and increases transparency of the supply chain for medical supplies and equipment during the COVID-19 response. The bill requires weekly publicly reported assessments on the supply of national critical equipment and supplies. It also stipulates a national coronavirus testing program for both symptomatic testing and antibody testing. This act protects our communities and our healthcare workers, who desperately need access to personal protective equipment. Call both of your Senators to ask for their support of the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act.

Friday: CARES 2 ACT INFO

Mitch McConnell has said that he’s under no “urgency” to pass additional legislation that will help the country through this pandemic. I don’t know about you, but it sure as hell feels urgent to me.

But due to your persistence and work in 2018 we have a Democratic majority in the House that is leading the way! They’re working on a CARES 2 bill that will include more sweeping provisions to help us all through the pandemic, including:

  • More state and local government aid
  • Rent and mortgage assistance
  • Monthly relief payments to families ($2,000 for most families)
  • Funding to make broadband internet more available
  • Help for workers – through unemployment and other initiatives
  • Funding for testing
  • Funding for the postal service
  • Funding for SNAP increases

Read more about what folks are expecting to see in the bill HERE, and call your congresspeople to let them know what you think!

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!

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.

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