The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It is as unbelievable as it was predicable.
I’m sure you’ve been living in the same frantic dream state I have been in since last Wednesday, when a hodge-podge of self-proclaimed patriots stormed the Capitol. There’s so much to say that it’s hard to find the right words – let alone the time to put them together in a coherent and inspiring way. For weeks (and months and years) ahead I know we’ll be unpacking what happened, the implications of it, and what we’re going to do about it.
But for now, I want to focus on a welcome sight.
Last week I talked about the bystander effect – when a group of people see something – an emergency or a situation that deserves attention – and do nothing, even though there are many people capable of taking action. This is such a common phenomenon that the general advice if you’re having a heart attack or need help in a crowd is to catch someone’s eye, point to them, and say “I need help right now – please call someone.”
That way, you’ve bestowed agency upon someone. You’ve given them direction, and they now know their assistance is required.
Once that person acts, others will follow that lead and help out too.
That’s the flip side to the bystander effect. And we’re seeing it now.
After the insurrection, there was the understandable pause for shock. Then Facebook suspended Trump’s account. Then Twitter followed suit. Both started as a “pause” but soon followed up with full-on bans (at least for the foreseeable future).
Other companies followed. Youtube, Pinterest(!), Snapchat, Reddit, Shopify, Google, Instagram, TikTok, Apple, Discord… Stripe won’t even process his campaign donations. At this point he’s been banned by so many social media companies that his phone is a brick.
The PGA announced it would no longer be holding a 2022 PGA Championship event at a Trump property. And today, Deutsche Bank – which has financed Trump’s businesses and to which Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars – said it would no longer be doing business with him. For someone who lives parachuting from one loan to another, I imagine this will do real damage to Trump’s plans.
These were welcome signs.
Then even more came.
Over the weekend, top Republican donors announced they would no longer be supporting the 147 Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn the election (aka the “Sedition Caucus”). Simon & Schuster cancelled Josh Hawley’s book contract, to his howls of indignation.
Then more statements came in from corporate donors like Dow, Citibank, Hallmark, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Mastercard, AT&T…
One after the other after the other…
Just as with the social media companies, once one donor/corporation recognized the threat as real and imminent and urgent – and actually did something about it, it gave the others permission to look around objectively and make the same determination. That gave the next permission, and the next – until there was social pressure among them to not be left out.
Another positive sign came from Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who said she wanted Donald Trump gone – and that: “if the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me.” She later clarified that she was not going to become a Democrat – but that doesn’t mean she can’t be like Senator Angus King or Bernie Sanders and be an independent (and caucus with Democrats).
(A note that a friend pointed out to me today. Alaska just passed Rank Choice Voting, which means Murkowski is essentially untouchable at this point. She will not have a Republican primary. In their system, there is one primary that includes candidates of all parties; the top four vote getters advance to the general election. Plus, Murkowski famously won election through a write-in campaign she waged after she lost her primary. In other words, she just doesn’t have the same pressures as other Senators might have.)
Could Lisa Murkowski be the first of others? Honestly, who can say? If you had told me one week ago that by the end of the weekend Trump would have lost ALL of his social media accounts and would be impeached again, I would have told you that you need to take a break.
But here we are.
And as we speak, I’m hearing from folks that some House Republicans, including Liz Cheney (third in command) are considering voting to impeach. It would not surprise me if by the time you read this (it’s late already) another Senator or House Republican hasn’t made a new statement.
So here we are.
It has been four years of anger, pain, and anguish. And a lot of work. Four years of Democrats knitting pink pussy hats, marching for truth, floating bloated Trump baby balloons, calling and calling and calling Congress and, yes, protesting peacefully. We’ve just been trying to get someone to act on what we’ve seen for so very long.
It took an insurrection and six deaths to wake people up.
As much as I want to scream WE TOLD YOU SO, I’m just glad to have more people on Team Reality. And I refuse to shame people for finally seeing the light – even if I wish they’d seen it sooner.
The insurrection was a watershed moment. Now let’s use the momentum it’s given us.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of January 12, 2021
Action 1: Impeach. Again.
This is an easy one for all of us to get on board with, yes? We all need to call our Representatives and encourage them to vote yes on the article of impeachment that will go to a vote WEDNESDAY.
I was saying last week – even before the insurrection – that we needed this action. It is an imperative now. (Yes, even if his term is not cut short. We need precedent, and we need accountability. Not to mention if the Senate convicts, he loses many trappings of being a president and cannot run for office again – and we would all sleep better knowing this was guaranteed to be his last and only term in office.)
Word on the street is that GOP House members are not being “whipped” (i.e. strongly encouraged/persuaded to vote in a certain way) on this vote, and your voice here really will make a big difference.
So give their office a quick call ASAP!
Action 2: Stop the Sedition Caucus
As we’ve already discussed, a number of GOP donors have already distanced themselves from the Sedition Caucus, the 147 members of Congress who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Those donors represent one side of the donation coin.
The other side of that coin? Us.
The Anti Sedition project with It Starts Today funds the next Democratic opponent of each of the 147 members of the Sedition Caucus. So not only will they have fewer corporate donations to rely on … they’ll have a Democratic opponent who has the support of thousands of people like you and me.
It’s a simple project that we launched on Friday (yes, Friday – it was a busy Thursday/Friday) – please check it out, sign up, and share with your networks. If you’re interested in helping promote by being on a social media team, let me know! Here’s the LINK.
You can read more about it here: https://itstarts.today/stop-the-sedition-caucus/
Action 3: Put Public Pressure on More Donors
Although many corporate donors have announced they will pause or suspend political donations to the 147 Sedition Caucus members (and beyond, in some cases) quite a few haven’t yet made a statement. See: https://popular.info/p/three-major-corporations-say-they The following list of companies have not yet (as of right now) responded to inquiries. Check the list. You may work for one or have a strong customer relationship with them:
Abbott Laboratories, Accenture, Aflac, Akin Gump, Ally Financial, Alston & Bird, Altria Group, AMC Theatres, Anthem, Bacardi USA, Baker & Hostetler, Bloomin’ Brands, BP North America, Boeing, Burger King, Capital One, Caterpillar, CBS Corporation, Charter Communications, Chevron, Clorox, Cox Enterprises, CSX Corporation, Deere & Company, DLA Piper Llp, Edward Jones, Enterprise Holdings, Exelon, Fox Corporation, General Dynamics, General Motors, Gilead Sciences, Glaxosmithkline, Glover Park Group, Greenberg Traurig, Halliburton, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Holland & Hart, Holland & Knight, Home Depot, Honeywell, iHeartmedia, Hartford Financial Services Group, Invesco, JBS, Jetblue Airways, Juul Labs, K&l Gates, Koch Industries, KPMG, Kroger, Leidos, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Lockheed Martin, Lowe’s, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, McDonald’s, Mcguire Woods, Merck & Co., Metlife, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Morgan Stanley, Motorola Solutions, Murphy Oil, Nestle Purina Petcare, Netjets, News Corporation, Norfolk Southern, Northrop Grumman, Northwestern Mutual, Novo Nordisk, Occidental Petroleum, Oracle, Pfizer, PG&E, Philips North America, Phillips 66, PNC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Publix Super Markets, Raytheon, Reynolds American, Rolls-Royce North America, Safeway, Samsung Electronics America, Sidley Austin, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Southern Company, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Aerosystems, Squire Patton Boggs, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Walt Disney, Tyson Foods, Union Pacific, United Airlines, Universal Music Group, and Wells Fargo.
Work for/have a relationship with one of these companies? Write them an email, Tweet at then, message their facebook page. Let them know that you want them to join the other corporations that are standing on the side of democracy. Others have warmed the water up for them. It’s time to get in.
Action 4: DC Really, Truly, Needs to be a State
Again, I’ve thought this was a no-brainer for a long time. But again, the insurrection makes it even more clear.
Here’s a great discussion of why the events of the last week make the case for D.C. statehood even stronger: https://fortune.com/2021/01/12/dc-statehood-arguments-capitol-attack-riot-trump-supporters-inauguration-violence/
Without statehood, the D.C. mayor is reliant upon the President to deploy the National Guard. As D.C.s Democratic “shadow representative” explained: “D.C. should never have to worry that a President will take over its police force and use it how he or she sees fit.” D.C.’s shadow representative can introduce legislation and speak on the floor – but cannot vote on legislation. Even so, D.C. residents pay more in federal taxes per capita than anywhere else in the country – classic “taxation without representation.” D.C. also has more residents than Vermont or Wyoming – and is similar in population to Alaska and Delaware.
Soon-to-be Majority Leader Schumer (God that felt good to write) is for D.C. statehood, as is President-elect Biden. So let’s keep the momentum going!
Call your Senators and Congressperson and let them know you support D.C. statehood. You can also go to https://statehood.dc.gov/page/why-statehood-dc and use their “Take Action” form, which populates a message for you. Super simple!
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!
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.