Your silence gives consent. ~Plato
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. ~The Lorax
Folks, it’s time to act like their words cost lives. Because they do.
Over the weekend, a small liberal town just on the outskirts of St. Louis had their yearly community parade. Folks were understandably excited about its return, and the return to normal that it signified.
It’s such a popular event that people stake out their spots in advance, setting out camping chairs to mark their territory the night before (like Chicagoans staking out their shoveled-out parking spots after a big snow).
There are always lots of kids, lots of politicians waving from vintage cars, and lots of local businesses and community groups – all joining together for what amounts to a long celebratory walk on a fun afternoon.
But this year, sandwiched between a local RV/boat storage company and a martial arts studio, walked an anti-mask, anti-vaccine group.
They boasted signs saying “FAUCI CANNOT MAKE LAW” and “NO MEDICAL TYRANNY!” and flaunted the American flag with smug looks. A thin, older man in khaki shorts pedaled a bicycle pulling a sign calling for an investigation of Dr. Fauci’s “funding.”
They handed out double-sided flyers with wildly false claims – that the vaccine causes your body to make “spikes” akin to having millions of tiny daggers coursing through your veins, that Vitamin D will ward off COVID, that masks don’t help and that tests aren’t reliable.
I was hopping mad about it, and I know I’m not alone.
In fact, even before the parade some internet sleuths had learned about the group’s plans to walk in the parade. They informed the city, which thanked folks for the tip.
But then … they let the conspiracy theorists walk anyway, proudly displaying their disinformation.
The little town pushed back against those of us who questioned their decision to let an anti-science group walk in a parade during a pandemic. They responded that this was a “free speech” parade, and as such they needed to include everyone. I can put my lawyer hat on here and argue that speech that hurts people isn’t protected (you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater), but that’s beside the point I want to make here.
Because my point is that that little town did what Democrats always do.
We are the party of tolerance. Of inclusion. Of listening to all sides, of opening minds, of encouraging debate, of considering every viewpoint.
There is not another side to this.
Masks save lives. Full stop.
Vaccines save lives. Full stop.
Not wearing masks and not being vaccinated costs lives.
And being wishy-washy there-are-reasonable-people-on-both-sides about the dangers of COVID and the importance of vaccines and masks also kills people.
Does that make you a little uncomfortable to see in writing? It might. Because we spend a lot of time soft-pedaling and cushioning the blow of this very stark reality.
We are in a pandemic. I’ll repeat that, because too many people are forgetting it lately. We are still in a pandemic. The virus has mutated. It will do so again. And again and again and then even again … because it is a virus and its job is to infect, replicate, and evade defenses. It is very good at its job.
Our main job is to slow it down as much as we possibly can.
Masks slow the spread of the virus. So does the vaccine. So does social distancing and increased ventilation. Those are facts.
There are not “both sides” here. There is one side that is based in reality, truth, science. The other “side” is a mirage of disinformation – smoke and mirrors propped up to increase clicks and grease political futures.
Sadly, we’re used to seeing disinformation from the far-right. But it’s one thing when disinformation involves your Uncle Bobby spouting off some crazy theory about “deep state” pedophiles operating out of a pizza parlor. That disinformation is dangerous enough. But when disinformation like this runs wild, people begin to doubt the very things that will keep them safest.
And, after all, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Lives are quite literally on the line.
The estimate – so far – is that Republican attacks on science have already cost tens of thousands of lives. Now, with reports from Republican states showing lower vaccine confidence and lower vaccination rates, that number will rise.
If we don’t actively push back when we can, we’re unwitting accomplices. That’s as uncomfortable as it is true.
Listen, I can appreciate our party’s politeness.
I can appreciate the desire to be reasonable, and to be seen as such. I can appreciate our willingness to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and see the world through their lens. It’s a hallmark of our party, and in many ways it’s our biggest strength.
But folks, if we’re not willing to silence liars whose words cost lives because we are concerned we’ll be called out for “cancel culture”…
Well, then we have no business leading in the first place.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of July 6, 2021
Tuesday: Postcards to Voters – Need to be mailed TODAY!
It’s no surprise that we’ll have voting rights actions this week, but before that I want to draw your attention to an urgent Postcards to Voters opportunity TODAY. Two Special Elections on July 13 will fill vacancies. One in the Alabama State House and and the other in their Senate. Democratic candidates Sheridan Black and Virginia Applebaum each hope to make history with your help.
If you can write 5 or 10 postcards to Democratic voters in Alabama and mail them by Tuesday, July 6, great! If not, we can use your help writing to Democrats in Miami-Dade County, Florida encouraging them to enroll now in Vote By Mail.
You can quickly request addresses from Abby the Address Bot in two ways:
- Text HELLO to (484) 275-2229
- Email Request@AbbyAddresses.org with the subject line: I’m ready for some addresses! and the message “Hi Abby. Please reply with the current campaigns available and the sentence format you need so that I may request addresses. Thanks!” The automated bot will get right back to you.
Wednesday/Thursday: S1 (Again, I know, but it’s even more important now)
Yes, Voting Rights.
As you know if you’ve been following along for a while, I’m a huge fan of S1 – the For the People Act. My belief that it’s critical legislation was solidified on Friday, when the Supreme Court handed down Brnovich. What’s the big deal with that case? It effectively weakened the last remaining stronghold of the Voting Rights Act. That’s … bad.
It makes S1 must-pass legislation.
So, let’s act like it’s now must-pass legislation, okay?
Find a local event at www.DeadlineForDemocracy.org.
You can call, Resistbot, or send a video via Indivisible’s Soapboxx (click HERE for that option).
Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling because it’s even more important now to support the For the People Act. Our vote is our entry into the conversation – our seat at the table. People have died for us to have the right to vote, and I want the Senator to know that I think it’s more important for her/him to fight for my right to vote than to protect the filibuster. If it comes down to a procedural rule or my right to vote, I hope the Senator will make the right choice.
On Wednesday, you can also join Indivisible for a phone bank to Arizona. Indivisible national will be hosting a supported phone bank to call voters in Arizona, explaining how important S1 is and why they should support it – and why they should call their members of Congress and urge them to protect voting rights. Join here: https://indivisible.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIocu-grzsrGdCsQWM2TqQ_yrJL2JBEAPzO
Friday: Join the Weekend of Action:
Join Swing Left volunteers from across the country to make calls to voters in Virginia. Why VA? Well, because Virginia’s 2021 state elections will be the first test of public approval for the Biden administration and the state’s governing Democratic trifecta. Swing Left is pushing HARD to keep this Democratic trifecta and will be hosting phone banks from now until the elections in November.
New to phone banking? Don’t worry! Before the calling starts, Swing Left will offer a phone bank training in Zoom with a team of organizers and support specialists ready to answer your questions. Sign up, and they’ll email you details on how to join and training materials! Join here: https://www.mobilize.us/swingleft/event/397294/
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.