Finding light in the darkness is a very American thing to do…We have seen front-line and essential workers risking their lives, sometimes losing them, to save and help others, researchers and scientists racing for a vaccine, and so many of you, as Hemingway wrote, being strong in all the broken places. ~President Joe Biden
Honestly, is this real? Read the comment to a post I saw sharing Trump’s latest crazy statement – sent by his “communications team” from his garish post-presidential palace, where he’s the king of the batty ball:
“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers!”
I hope everyone remembers, too.
I agree that it’s hard to believe, looking at that statement, that it could be real. Because in just shy of two months, we’ve collectively hit the reset button and have tossed Trump’s tirades where they should have been all along – in our mental trash. We changed the channel, and moved on.
And now, less than two months into a new administration (headed up by actual adults) we’re left wondering if a garbled missive sent on POTUS-45 stationary is fake… even though it’s the exact sort of thing we used to see every morning, noon, and midnight.
That’s why I, like Trump, hope everyone remembers.
Because right now we’re in such a better place than we were just two months ago – and that’s entirely due to the work that you, and others like you, have done. Dramatically better days are already greeting us. More lie ahead.
For starters, you may have $1,400 (or more) in your bank account today than you did last week, and your state and local governments will get much-needed funding to respond to COVID-19 and the humanitarian emergencies it has caused. But because so much attention has focused on Biden’s significant wins on the American Rescue Plan (much deserved), I don’t think that we’ve heard enough about other massive policy wins.
Massive policy wins that you spent four years bringing about.
So let’s review where we are now, just under two months since Joe (and Chuck) took the helm:
We are back in the Paris Climate Accord.
We are back in the World Health Organization.
We have the first Native American Secretary of the Interior (who, per one of Biden’s first Executive Orders is already directed to study restoring the boundaries of several national monuments shrunk during the Trump administration), and the first openly gay Transportation Secretary.
Science is back at the EPA.
Science is back at the CDC.
And with the elevation of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to Science to a Cabinet-level position, science is now literally back in the White House.
On Biden’s first day, he revoked the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, halted development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and ordered the review of Trump-era rules on the environment, public health and science. One week later, he issued another executive order halting new oil and gas leases on federal lands and offshore waters.
On his first day, Biden extended the pause on federal student loan payments and collections and kept the interest rate at 0%.
With actual experts leading the charge, every day over two million people are vaccinated, mobile clinics have been deployed to offer vaccines to hard-to-reach communities – the first of which opened in California in mid-February, and in its first month the administration established or expanded 441 community vaccination centers (providing staff, funding or equipment).
In January Biden extended open enrollment for Affordable Care Act marketplaces to review policies and rules that run counter to current administration policy “to protect and strengthen Medicaid and the ACA and to make high-quality health care accessible and affordable for every American.”
Biden extended foreclosure moratoriums, established an interagency task force to help reunite migrant families, and revoked the Trump-era order that expanded criteria for deporting immigrants.
Biden has instructed DHS and the attorney general “to preserve and fortify DACA,” ended the “national emergency” on the border and halted construction and spending on the border wall.
During his first month he signed an EO setting out his administration’s policy toward gender identity and sexual orientation and called for a review of federal policies; last week he signed a separate EO creating a Gender Policy Council to include a senior adviser on gender-based violence focusing on those who experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
Because of Majority Leader Schumer, there will be votes in the Senate on key, critical issues that we care deeply about – like common sense gun reform and voting rights. This week the House will vote on the Violence Against Women Act – and unlike the last time (when it went to McConnell’s “legislative graveyard”) we know the Senate will actually take it up. The days of passing bills in the House to see them gather dust on McConnell’s office floor are over. (To be clear, Schumer may not call every bill to the floor – but we will certainly get more critical votes on bills, and be able to force GOP Senators to take votes that they’ve so far been able to hide from.)
These are amazing accomplishments – we have made serious progress on issues that you have called, and written, and signed petitions, and donated to advance/protect/defend … for four long years.
I hear that voice in your head saying But he’s not yet done X… or We still need him to do Y… Yes, friend.
Biden is not perfect, and neither is Schumer – and Trump set the bar for improvement historically low. But that’s not the point here.
The point is that I want you to remember. Remember all of the things you advocated for and about over the last four years, and see the progress that’s been made on those issues in just the last two months. That’s a direct result of what you’ve done. You made all of this possible.
Yes we can make even more progress. No we can’t give anyone a pass. Of course we will continue to press forward.
But stop – just for a moment. Take a deep breath and look around. Take your victory lap. You deserve this moment of relative peace, because you’ve worked (at least) four years for it.
And it’s because of you that we are where we are right now.
I hope you remember.
Now, let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of March 16, 2021
Tuesday: Green New Deal Network Kickoff Rally!
Join the Green New Deal Network TONIGHT at 7pm eastern at a virtual kickoff rally to discuss their THRIVE Act. The Green New Deal Network is a 50-state campaign with a national table of 15 organizations: Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Greenpeace, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indivisible, Movement for Black Lives, MoveOn, People’s Action, Right To The City Alliance, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, US Climate Action Network, and the Working Families Party.
The THRIVE Agenda (Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy) presents a bold new vision to revive our economy while addressing the interlocking crises of climate change, racial injustice, public health, and economic inequity with a plan to create dignified jobs for millions of unemployed workers and support a better life for millions more.
RSVP for the event that happens TONIGHT at 7pm Eastern here: https://www.greennewdealnetwork.org/rsvp
Wednesday: Violence Against Women Act
VAWA will come to a vote this week in the House! You may recall that the Violence Against Women Act lapsed in 2018. The House passed reauthorization in 2019 – but the legislation died in the Senate. (No surprise.)
The GOP will scream bloody murder that because VAWA prohibits stalkers and domestic abusers from buying guns that VAWA infringes upon the Second Amendment. Mmkay. In fact, current law prohibits stalkers and domestic abusers from buying guns. VAWA extends that to boyfriends (it’s called closing the “boyfriend loophole.”).
Bottom line, we need to reauthorize VAWA.
Check here to see if your Congresscritter is a sponsor: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1620/cosponsors?searchResultViewType=expanded
Now give them a call – whether they are a co-sponsor or not! Remember that if they’re doing the right thing they need a call, too. This bill will come up for a vote this week, folks!
Thursday: Welcome, Secretary Haaland!
This week we saw the historic confirmation of the first Indigenous Secretary of the Interior. Amazing! Let’s take this opportunity to send a postcard of welcome to Secretary Haaland. This is such a great project for kids!
Send your postcard to: Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington DC 20240 And remember to send a postcard – letters need to be quarantined and processed separately, so postcards are far easier to handle.
You can also send an email (to email@example.com), or tag her in a celebratory tweet (@DebHaalandNM).
Friday: Set Your Calendar – on Monday DC Statehood Gets a Hearing!
You guys, I’m going to keep on banging this drum. I believe pretty strongly that DC should be a state. It’s got over 700,000 residents and pays more in federal taxes than 21 states. Enough already. This is an issue of fairness.
And on Monday at 11am eastern, the House Oversight Committee will have a hearing! Join and watch here: https://oversight.house.gov/legislation/hearings/hr-51-making-dc-the-51st-state-0
Then follow up and tell your Representative that s/he needs to vote in favor of DC statehood!
DID YOU KNOW YOU’RE A ROCK STAR? I DID. 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.
P.P.S.: 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. We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.