But in the end, America chose the boy who stuttered over the bully. ~Van Jones
It occurred to me as I admired the prettiest columbine in my yard, which seeded itself right behind the compost bin.
It’s a strange spot, frankly. I’d never have chosen to plant something there. Half-shaded, right by the supports for the back deck, and relatively hidden from view. I’d not have considered it an ideal location for a columbine.
But, there it sprouted and there it sits, with a fan of the most beautiful purple flowers. Meanwhile the other columbines I have are doing … just fine. They’re blooming.
But not nearly as spectacularly as that plucky volunteer.
That’s the power of right plant, right place.
For years I’ve religiously watched Gardener’s World, a long-standing BBC2 show that runs from spring through frost in the UK. During COVID, a good chunk of the rest of the world discovered how fantastic it is. Perhaps you’ve watched an episode or two yourself.
There’s a particular Gardener’s World presenter, Carol, who beyond being delightfully enthusiastic about … well … most things, is a big fan of pointing out why a particular plant does well in a particular garden.
Right plant, right place!, she’ll say with a blazing smile and a hearty nod for emphasis.
You put the right plant in the right environment and it grows to perfection. You put it in the wrong place, and it’s just … not the same.
You’ve no doubt heard the saying “bloom where you’re planted,” and there’s something to that. You make do with what you’ve got in front of you. We all do. We might need a bit more compost here and a little more water there, and with a few modifications we’ll be okay – great, even.
But there’s nothing like seeing the right plant in the right place.
It’s healthy, strong, robust, and gorgeous … seemingly without effort.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with my husband recently, when he told me that in the past he had always felt a little bad for Joe Biden. It just always seemed like he was in the wrong place, he said. Or that the timing wasn’t right or something. That he could do a lot more, but that it just never worked out.
And that’s true.
For decades, Joe had “bloomed where he was planted,” and had had an obviously very successful political career. You cannot say that someone who was a senator for decades and a Vice President was somehow limping along.
But now we’re seeing the spectacular growth of the right plant, in the right place.
Decades in the Senate gave him tremendous experience in both politics and governance as a legislator; eight years as Vice President gave him a front row seat to the challenges faced by the executive… and to the decay of the Republican Party. We didn’t know it, but that experience was exactly what we needed.
His folksy mannerisms were seen as old-fashioned and a little out of touch … but in the midst of a pandemic and national turmoil, they’re soft reminders of who we used to be and who we can be again.
His vulnerability is his strength; where Trump pretended to be all-powerful (remember the breathless COVID walk up the stairs?) Biden leans into personal pain as a connector to real people like you and I. He serves as an inspiration to dig deep and grow through pain. Or, perhaps, because of it.
The successes of his administration are clear. Vaccine distribution has been awe-inspiring and has outpaced everyone’s wildest dreams. The rescue plan he put forth bails out people (you have to think he leaned upon his experience in the Obama administration during the 2008 bail outs). We are having real conversations about infrastructure, the definition of which has been expanded to include education, childcare, healthcare and broadband….
And folks are noticing. His May approval rating average is 54% right now (compared to a May 2017 average for Donald Trump of 40% of all adults … and 30% of independents).
In this hyper-partisan environment, that approval rating is phenomenal.
Joe is not new to Washington. He’s not the fresh face that folks often yearn for in a new administration.
But he is absolutely the right plant for the right place.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of June 1, 2021
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that a small Nashville hat store thought it would be cool to create yellow stars of David with “not vaccinated” on them to sell for $5 each.
There are no words.
Luckily, the reaction has been swift and harsh, with a number of hat brands, including Stetson, severing ties with the store.
While they’ve already lost a significant number of brands, the brands that are still willing to do business with this company should hear from consumers.
This is not cancel culture. This is consequences.
Your job today? To reach out to these companies and pressure them to sever ties with HatWrks. Of 30ish hat companies that had sold their hats through HatWrks, these 7 remain. Let them know what you think!
NOTE: This list is accurate as of June 1 at 11am CST (to the best of my knowledge); I’ll do my best to keep it updated but if you find out these brands have pulled contracts please let me know! I have also included the town/location for these companies because if you live there, you should absolutely reach out to any reporters in your area that might be interested in covering the story – and your local influence will certainly be greater.
UPDATE: American Hat has informed us that it does not have a current contract with HatWrks!
American Hat: (Bowie, Tx) email@example.com (800) 392-4197; https://www.facebook.com/americanhatcompany/ https://twitter.com/AmericanHatCo; https://www.instagram.com/americanhatco/ http://www.americanhat.net/
Capas Hats: (Maspeth, NY) firstname.lastname@example.org, 718-894-3732
MISSOURI PEOPLE –> Henschel Hats: email@example.com https://www.facebook.com/henschelhats https://henschelhats.com/contact-us/. 1(636)724-4000 Headquarters: 3569 New Town Lake Dr. Suite #1, Saint Charles, MO 63301
WEDNESDAY: CALL THOSE SENATORS!
As you well know, on Friday Republican senators blocked a non-partisan investigation into the insurrection.
They went into the long, holiday weekend assuming that on the other side of it you’d not be as angry and would not be fired up enough to speak up.
Prove them wrong, okay?
Regardless of how your Senators voted, please call them both.
Script for those who voted for the investigation: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I just wanted to call and thank the Senator for voting in favor of the non-partisan investigation into the January 6 insurrection. I’m incredibly disappointed in the Senators who voted against or who missed the vote. It really bothers me that 35 Senators can thwart an investigation into an attack on our democracy. What is the Senator’s stance on eliminating the filibuster?
Script for those who voted against: Hi, my name is ___ and I”m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because I’m disgusted that Senator ____ voted against a non-partisan investigation into January 6. I may not agree with the Senator on a lot of things, but I always thought we could agree on democracy. I’m sad to learn that’s not the case.
Script for those who missed: (MO Roy Blunt fits into this category: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because I’m disgusted that Senator ____ wasn’t even present for Friday’s vote on the January 6 commission. This is a historic moment in our country, and s/he couldn’t even bother to be there. When our country and our state needed a leader, s/he wasn’t there. I won’t forget that.
Thursday: Down With the Filibuster!
Well, if Friday’s filibuster of the January 6 non-partisan commission didn’t prove that we need to eliminate the filibuster, I don’t know what can. When 35 Senators can stymie a non-partisan investigation into the January 6 insurrection, we’re in a dangerous place.
Not sure where your Senators stand on filibuster reform? Check this handy Whip Count: https://www.peopleswhipcount.org/?fbclid=IwAR2F2S_fK_lWq85zENuGJkBeuXyFgowqqTiZVkaPfZP7iBDcpOBvZSqd82Q#filibuster
Now, get out your phone for Day Two of calling your Senators!
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m calling from _____. I’m to ask Senator ______ to publicly support abolishing the Senate filibuster. Friday’s vote was telling. There will be no progress in the current Senate. We must abolish the filibuster to break the gridlock that keeps us from enacting the important legislation needed to secure our democracy. Thank you!
If you have a Republican Senator, you’re not going to get very far here, obviously. My plan is to call and let them know that because of the Senator’s vote (or failure to vote) on Friday, I’ll now be supporting filibuster reform.
Script (GOP Senator): Hi, my name is ____ and I’m calling from ____. I’m calling to let the Senator know that because Republicans filibustered the January 6 non-partisan commission, I’ll be fully supporting filibuster reform and doing whatever I can to see it implemented. I’m shocked that a once-great party has been reduced to covering for insurrectionists. It was important for me to see that so clearly, and I’ll be taking action now. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.
Friday: Wear Orange
Join folks across the country and honor survivors of gun violence this National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange weekend.
It’s a simple and effective way to show your solidarity with the gun violence prevention movement.
You can find an event by clicking HERE.
And you can download a social media profile frame to honor survivors here: https://wearorange.org/go-orange/
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.