The Time Tornado

Time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I’m absolutely convinced that the people of ill will in our nation – the extreme rightists – the forces committed to negative ends – have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation… for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.” Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals. Without this hard work, time becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

A short post this week, folks – there’s a birthday in the family today! Which of course got me thinking about time, our relationship to it, and how fast it goes…

You know, a very good friend of mine recently got married.

When she first got engaged I shared with her my theory of the “wedding vortex” – the at-first slowly spiraling effect of time that increases in velocity and power, until in the days and hours before a wedding everything seems to spin so quickly and time move so fast that it’s over before you know it.

It’s like a tornado of time.

I realized over the weekend that the “wedding vortex” could just as easily be called the “campaign” or “election” vortex.

It’s like I looked down, and looked up, and three months passed by.

Meanwhile everything (and everyone around me, frankly) is spinning like a top.

I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way.

No doubt our time tornado occurs because we’ve all had our heads down, noses to the grindstone, working and thinking and doing All Of The Things.

But it’s still jarring to look up and realize that people are already voting. Early voting in Georgia already started (and broke records!). Same with Ohio. In just two weeks, people will be able to vote absentee in person in Missouri. (If you’re not sure when voting starts in your neck of the woods, check your state at (at but note that it does not include Missouri’s new absentee-without-excuse option, even though there is such an option beginning in two weeks, because of a law that went into effect August 30.)

The advice I’ve always given friends entering the wedding vortex is pretty simple. Stop and look around every now and again. Remind themselves what’s important and why they’re going through all this stress to begin with.

I actually think that’s pretty good advice for people who are entering the election/campaign vortex.

But I’ll add to that advice. Because we’re talking about the future of our country, not a wedding ceremony. The stakes are unbelievably high.

I like Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement that “time is neutral.” It’s what you do with the time you’re given that matters.

Say, for example, that Person A and Person B are each given 2 hours of time. Both are required to stay on their couch.

Person A, a democracy champion, uses his two hours researching what’s going on with the election. He reads up on the issues, “likes” a number of posts of Facebook, and retweets some great analysis with his own awesome zingers.

Person B, who fancies Republican rule, spends his two hours in a text bank, directly texting thousands of voters and urging them to vote.

Which one do you think will have a *more* direct impact on the election?

I hear that voice in your head. Yes, sharing information on social media is, in fact, helpful. Being informed is, in fact, a good thing – and I support it. But you have to get out of your own bubble.

You can fret about and refresh 538’s polling averages all day. That will increase your stress level without doing one darn thing to change the election outcome.

Or you can use the very little time we have left directly reaching out to voters. I’ve included ways to engage below that are both super simple and satisfying. (AND I’ve included a webinar that’s happening today so that you can continue to feel informed.)

But whether it’s texting voters, manning a polling station, volunteering for a candidate’s phone bank or writing postcards, there IS something that you can be doing. Right now. Wherever you are.

To use time. For good.

Friend, you know as well as I do that we’re in a fight between democracy and autocracy. If we do nothing but spin in circles as the election vortex overtakes us, we’re not helping.

But if we stop the spinning, and look around…

If we steady ourselves and take real, concrete action…

Well, in that case we can win this thing.

Let’s fight with all we have with the time we’ve got.

Let’s get to work.

Actions for the Week of October 18, 2022

Share the Student Loan Relief Application

The new student loan forgiveness program provides eligible borrowers with full or partial discharge of loans up to $20,000 to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to non-Pell Grant recipients. People who qualify include individuals who made less than $125,000 in 2021 or 2020 and families that made less than $250,000 in 2021 or 2020.

The very simple and easy application is now open, and will remain so until December 2023. Share widely!

Write postcards for Arizona Write-In:

From the amazing Markers for Democracy: The original Democratic candidate for AZ State Senate in AZ LD22, who was running unopposed, withdrew to take a high-paying job lobbying for a utility. It is too late to replace him on the ballot & votes for him will not count. The winning candidate will be a write-in. Republicans sense an opportunity to grab this Senate seat in this blue district. Of course, AZ Democrats had been counting on this seat in the strategy to flip the AZ State Senate & boost turnout up ballot for statewide candidates. Please join us in helping AZ Dems write in Eva Diaz & make their votes for State Senate count!

The program:  Regular postcards. Addresses are distributed by email. Mail postcards as soon as possible.
Request Eva Diaz AZ LD22 Addresses here:

Tuesday: Join the Cast of Succession & Flip PA Blue!

Join Turn PA Blue & the PA House Democratic Campaign Committee will be calling Pennsylvania voters about their Mail In Ballots to help make sure their voice is heard in the upcoming critical election. This Wednesday they’ll be joined by cast members of Succession!

This phone bank is held on Zoom. At the start of the shift, we will review the script and provide dialer training to anyone who need it. Then we’ll make calls together until the end of the shift. You will receive a link to the Zoom meeting on the morning of your shift!

Tuesday, 10/18: Cast members of the hit HBO series “Succession” (We’ll be making calls Get out the Vote calls specifically for Laurie Smith- State Rep Candidate HD18)

Wednesday, 10/19: Lt. Gov Candidate Austin Davis & Blayre Holmes Davis

Register here:

Swipe Blue!

You might remember a few years back (I believe in 2018?) there was an app that allowed you to access your phone contacts, find out which of them voted in past elections, and then send them a reminder to vote. I loved it!

Well, meet Swipe Blue, a similar app that matches your phone contacts to the public voter file to show you which friends are registered as Democrats, Republicans, independents, or third party. They do not store your contacts so your privacy is fully protected.

It helps you text your friends a friendly voting message to encourage them to vote.
According to Swipe Blue’s website ( studies show messages from friends are 29 times more effective than strangers. That doesn’t surprise me, and it’s why I’m constantly telling y’all to text your friends! Well, this app will make it easy.

Download it at the app store, or check it out online at:

Text Bank With HRC + Hocus Pocus? Yes please!

Want to make an impact on the election and go to fun Spooky Season activities? Then this is the PERFECT opportunity for you!

From their Mobilize link: “We’re combining our two favorite things… the Sanderson sisters and getting out the vote! We’re streaming the new Hocus Pocus 2 on October 25 while texting voters to make sure they have a plan to vote on Nov 8!

Join us for this virtual watch party and text bank Tuesday, October 25 from 6 to 8pm! Sign up today and don’t forget to invite a friend!”

Zoom information will be sent the day before. Sign up here:

Bonus action: Join NDN and Simon Rosenberg for a Conversation With Bill Kristol

I’ve noted Simon’s excellent (and encouraging) analysis via his org NDN a few times over the last few months. Today at 1pm, he’ll be hosting a conversation with Bill Kristol:

In the last few years a courageous set of Republicans have fought the rise of MAGA and Trumpism in their own party. But with MAGA now clearly outlasting Trump, and deepening its hold on the GOP, what is the future of the anti-MAGA movement inside the GOP?

To explore this vital topic we are pleased that one of the most important and visible leaders of the anti-MAGA movement inside the GOP, Bill Kristol, will be joining us for a live, public discussion on Tuesday, October 18th at 1pm ET.  You can RSVP for the event here, and learn more about Bill and his essential work below. 

This will be a really great event.  Hope you will join us.  Free free to invite friends and colleagues – all are welcome. 



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.

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!

P.P.S.: If you want to help support this work you can do so via Patreon at or via paypal at
My deepest gratitude in advance.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every email! We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.

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