“We must keep our faith in the Republic. The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.” — Queen Jamillia
“So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.” — Padmé Amidala
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.” — Yoda
It’s May the Fourth – a special day in the Star Wars world. (“May the fourth be with you…”)
And although I can’t claim to be the biggest Star Wars fan, I appreciate it for what it is – a classic hero’s journey where we follow someone from believing he has no power… to watching him take down an empire.
It’s the epic tale of good versus evil.
So naturally, it got me thinking about where we are as a country right now. And I wonder how this moment – our moment – would be portrayed on film.
I have a good sense that the Resistance would be … the Resistance. And, as I considered it, I had no real doubt that Republicans would be “the Empire.”
Seem too harsh?
Pull up a chair.
Seventy percent of Republicans do not believe Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
They believe a blatant, dangerous lie because their party will not debunk it, even though it could easily do so … because the lie serves them politically even while it tears at the fabric of democracy.
Our democracy is being hijacked by one political party that is openly gerrymandering and restricting voting to make it harder for the other political party to win.
We have one political party that is openly defying its constituents (see as an example Missouri, where a statewide ballot initiative expanded Medicaid, but the state legislature is refusing to fund it).
We have one political party that has wrapped itself up in “religious freedom” so that anything contrary to what it terms “traditional religious family values” is somehow an infringement on its rights.
We have one party whose members stormed the capitol on January 6 to prevent the transition of power – and whose leaders still defend the people who did so (and ostracize those in their ranks that won’t).
We have one party that has turned its back on science and the truth – so much so that nearly half of its members are choosing not to get vaccinated during a global pandemic.
That is breathtaking.
All of that is breathtaking.
But the most breathtaking of all is the reason Republican leadership seems to be willing to take (or not take) these actions.
The Republican party’s Empire-like quest for power at all cost drives so many of the decisions that clearly put our democracy at stake. When the goal is raw power, the ends justify the means. No matter how cruel the means may be.
Now we’re at a crossroads. As with any good hero’s journey, we’re coming upon the scene in our epic Resistance vs. Empire saga when we need to make a decision. As individuals, and as a collective.
What are we willing to do about this power-grabbing Empire?
Do we stand our ground and fight – even in places where we’re outnumbered and the odds are against us? Do we flee, and take refuge in a few places where we feel safe – even if that means ceding territory? Or do we try to “patch things up” with the Empire and hope they’ll change for the better if we’re really nice and inclusive?
I don’t think we have much choice in the matter, frankly.
We can’t meet in the middle with a party that’s openly embraced authoritarianism and outright lying to the American people. There are some things that are not open for compromise – truth and democracy being chief among them.
And we can’t just go back into our “safe states” and relax. Joe Biden won the popular vote by over seven million – but we were just 90,000 votes shy of a second Trump term, a Republican House and a Republican Senate. The oddities of our electoral system don’t favor us. That’s a simple fact.
If our goal is a functioning democracy, our choice is made for us.
We press on, fighting where we must to protect voting rights, civil rights, fairness and democracy. We join together, help one another, and elect leaders that will work to further democracy – not their own power.
And we keep the faith that this hero’s journey is one we’ll emerge from… Victorious.
May the force be with you, friends.
Now let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week Of May 4, 2021
Tuesday: Help Collect Voting Stories
Your voice matters. That’s the message that Fair Fight Action is sending in their most recent request for voting stories. “Fair Fight Action is working to protect your freedom to vote and ensure your voice is heard. In the last 10 years, have you experienced any obstacles, difficulties, or issues while registering to vote, casting your ballot, or getting your vote counted? Your story—however big or small—will help Fair Fight Action advocate for voters like you.”
BRAVO! Telling the stories of real people is going to be powerful, and persuasive. Head over to Fair Fight Action to share yours, and make sure you forward the project to your network. Here’s the link: https://www.myvotingstory.com/?fbclid=IwAR1fOL54yxPjc3-fKo3stCbtxCvylU4AmF6EVoTzds–kNA9K1SMHE3NHQg
AND! You can help make calls to collect these voting stories. From Fair Fight: “We need your help to call voters in states across the country to hear their voting experiences. Through these stories you will help collect, Fair Fight Action and our partners will demonstrate to Congress the need for enhanced federal protections to ensure all eligible voters are able to cast their vote freely and make their voices heard, regardless of where they live.
Each phonebank will start with a brief overview of the goal of these calls, the script and a training on the phonebank system.” These story-collection phone banks are happening Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/fairfight/event/384255/?fbclid=IwAR15EC0srxcHjz-2iIOFXujExAjR4-xKNJRv8ZHssURphQpACaplnU3XJZM
Wednesday: Join Fair Fight Action To fight Against Voter Suppression in the STates
The right to vote is under attack in states across the country. Join the charge to protect voting rights in your community! Head over to https://www.stopjimcrow2.com/#national and click your state to learn how to take action today. Don’t see your state on the list? You can still provide support at the Federal level by supporting the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Amendment Act.
Fair Fight has developed specific actions for the following states. Please share with your friends and network! Again, check out https://www.stopjimcrow2.com/#national for more.
Thursday: Join Movement Labs for a Friendly Phone Bank
Per Movement Labs: If you are turned off by the cold-calling you may have done in other phone banks – this is a very different experience.
“The people we are calling are really positive,” said Austin Weisgrau, staff coordinator for the program. As we’ve already talked to them before, “they want to do more to help, it’s a rewarding experience.”
This Thursday, Movement Labs will be continuing to help Black Voters Matter fight toxic voter suppression bills moving through state houses. Join their Black Voters Matter Call Team, which is calling all the Floridians who indicated they needed to register to make sure they follow through and get registered.
There will be a breakout room for technical support and training on the call, but feel free to get a head start with the training and getting signed up at https://mlabs.link/call
Date: May 6, 2021; time 3:00 PM Pacific (5pm Central, 6pm Eastern)
Friday: Join the John Lewis Day of Action
Today voting rights are under attack nationally by state legislators introducing and passing laws to put up barriers to our participation in elections. Meanwhile, Billionaires and Big Business are spending unlimited amounts of money to buy our elections. Americans are coming together to fight back.
Join us on May 8 to demand the passage of the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and D.C. Statehood and to address one of the greatest obstacles to the passage of civil and voting rights – and one of the last vestiges of slavery – the filibuster!
Find an event near you at: https://www.johnlewisdayofaction.org
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.