When the water starts boiling, it is foolish to turn off the heat. ~Nelson Mandela
When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat. ~Ronald Regan
Our country is at a boiling point.
Literally, and figuratively.
In a literal sense, across the United States, temperatures have hit record highs – with St. Louis, Missouri expected to have a high temperature in the 90s or above for the next 10 days.
Based upon the current heat map of the U.S., chances are that wherever you are reading this from, you’re dealing with a similar situation.
But as I was checking the weather this morning, I realized…
Our country is boiling for another reason.
Over the last week, after a year of being at a slow simmer… the January 6th Committee upped the temperature with its first public hearings.
No doubt you’ve been following the coverage, including the shock from pundits who dismissively assured us that nobody would care about the hearings. It wouldn’t “move the needle,” they said.
But, as it turns out, once the American people understood the stakes –– and that this really was an attempted coup –– they got pretty engaged.
Those who said Americans would just shrug and immediately turn the channel were wrong.
Now we’re seeing the frenzy of reporting – the round tables of pundits hashing and rehashing the testimony of this Trump official and that Trump campaign manager, the animated tweets, the front-page headlines.
It’s a level of activity and excitement about this critical, potentially democracy-ending topic we’ve not seen since January 2021.
That’s a bit wild to consider, isn’t it?
How could the (ongoing) threat to our republic not have been front-page fodder for the past year? How is it not the first question every single politician and public official is asked?
How could something this big, this consequential, this jaw-dropping not be on air 24-7?
And then it occurred to me this morning, as I pulled up the week’s forecast.
…A forecast with a map of the United States, awash in red heat warnings.
…A forecast that proves the existential threat that is climate change.
Ah. Yes. There is no greater example of our tendency to downplay – or simply ignore – the things that are most frightening than climate change.
And an attempted coup (that, again, is ongoing) is pretty darn scary.
It’s not particularly easy to watch coverage of what the former President did; how he defrauded people who trusted him so completely; how his lies ruined their lives; how he wrecked our nation’s trust in itself … in ourselves.
It’s far easier to change the channel. To say it really can’t be that bad, that it was just a “dust up” or a passionate crowd gone wild.
It’s not that hot, really. *shrug*
We know what happens when we ignore serious, existential-level threats for decades. Maps like the one I saw this morning will probably be enough to convince a few more people that we need to take bolder climate action.
Maybe the Committee’s hearings will serve the same purpose.
Let’s hope so. It’s hot enough, already.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of June 14, 2022
There’s (Maybe?) A Bipartisan Gun Deal: Let’s Call In Support
Last weekend, people across the country joined March for Our Lives at rallies to protest gun violence and call for change. At the rally in Washington D.C., a presenter tripped and fell onstage, creating a loud sound that resembled a gunshot. People throughout the crowd, many of whom were gun violence survivors, ran for their lives.
This is the America that MAGA Republicans and the gun industry they cater to have created.
It’s long past time for common sense gun laws, and last week we got the news that a bipartisan bill has been agreed to (in theory). One of those who has signed onto the bill is Missouri’s own Roy Blunt, who is not running for reelection.
To be clear: the bill doesn’t go very far at all, but it does make a little progress.
Let’s call our Senators and encourage them to vote for this bill – praise them if they’re already supporting it – and ask them to do even more.
Hi, my name is ____ and I’m calling from zip code ____.
I want the Senator to support the bipartisan gun bill Senator Murphy and others have agreed to. Gun violence is a public health emergency, and although I don’t think this bill does enough to combat it – it’s a start. Is the Senator supporting the bill?
Hear Former Gun Industry Executive Discuss the Gun Industry’s Strategy:
On Wednesday, June 15, at 7pm ET, Ryan Busse, author of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America and Senior Advisor to Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence will join us. As a long-time former executive at one of the country’s top gun manufacturers, Busse reveals how his industry radicalized a large swathe of America. He explains how it will take just a few moderate Republicans leaders to stand up for gun safety, for us to begin to stem the tide of gun violence.
Moderated by Melissa Kane, Chair of the Board of Directors of Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV) and a member of the advisory board of Newtown Action Alliance, they will discuss how we got to where we are today and where we go from here with the constant waves of mass shootings in our country.
Sign up here: https://bigtentusa.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrf-uvpzwqHdAk_ffyZUC5YiftsgTZUAci
1/6 Hearing Framing, Messaging:
Smart folks like Ruth Ben-Ghiat provide some helpful framing for the January 6 hearings. Frankly, they often remind me that I’m not crazy, nor overreacting. I thought this message from her was especially helpful for understanding the framing of 1/6: https://lucid.substack.com/p/what-the-history-of-coups-reveals?r=2ptzp&s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
There have also been some helpful tips from comms experts on how to talk about the hearings. I found this simple chart from Defend Democracy a good summary of some of the advice I’ve seen:
|Focus on the future. The ongoing threat||Let this be about a one-time event of the past|
|Talk about sabotaging or overturning elections||Talk about stealing or subverting elections|
|Focus on what they wanted to achieve||Focus on a single day’s events|
|Talk about the danger to our freedom as a country, as voters||Talk about the danger for Members of Congress|
|Say “everyone should be held accountable,” even Members of Congress or former Presidents||Prejudge the outcome of the investigation or talk about political up/downsides|
|Talk about the many aspects of their plan and the broad involvement of Trump officials, members of Congress, etc.||Talk about them as accidentally related or coincidental or focus only on the people who attacked the Capitol|
|Talk about a faction of Republicans: Trump and his allies, lawless faction, MAGA Republicans, etc.||Hold anyone who has ever been a Republican responsible for this|
|Call 1.6 an “attack on our country” or and attack on “America” or on “Americans” and an “insurrection”||Call it a “riot or a “protest” and don’t make it about “Congress” or “the Capitol”|
|Make this about consequences – freedom to vote and overturning elections||Only make this about the fate of Democracy and Democratic norms|
Catch Up on What You Missed; Tune In Thursday:
If you need to catch up on what happened during the first two hearings, Common Cause has some great summaries (with citations to the testimony and videos).
Summary of the first hearing: https://www.commoncause.org/democracy-wire/the-first-january-6th-committee-public-hearing-what-we-learned/
Summary of the second hearing: https://www.commoncause.org/democracy-wire/10-key-takeaways-from-the-second-nonpartisan-january-6th-committee-hearing/
The next two hearings were scheduled to be on June 15 and 16:
Hearing 3, June 15 –RESCHEDULED– This hearing, which as of this AM has been rescheduled to give technical staff a little space between hearings, will target Trump’s alleged plot to influence and possibly replace the U.S. Attorney General in order to further false election claims. Set to testify are Jeffrey Rosen, who was then acting attorney general, his deputy Richard Donoghue and Justice Department official Steve Engel. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Hearing 4 will take place on Thursday, June 16 at 1pm. The link is not yet up on the Committee’s website, so it’s possible that date/time will change. The hearing will outline Trump’s efforts to pressure VP Mike Pence to stop the electoral count. Greg Jacob, the former chief counsel to the vice president will reportedly testify.
WHEW! GO TEAM!
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