What Can I Do?

The morning after the 2016 election I felt as if someone had died.  It wasn’t just me.  There were millions of Americans who felt exactly like I did.  I kept asking myself how something like this could have happened.

But deep down I knew what had happened.  We had grown complacent.  We let other people worry about the state of our republic.  We weren’t involved in the process, other than voting, and many Americans didn’t even bother with that.  We were able to get away with our complacency up until 2016.  But then it totally bit us in the ass.

Women, especially, felt the pain.  Hillary Clinton, for all of her perceived faults, was the most qualified person to ever seek the office of President of the United States.  Yet, the orange buffoon had managed to squeak out an electoral collage win.

I had never attended a protest/demonstration in my life.  But I marched with 100,000 other Minnesotans on January 21, 2017 at The Women’s March.  It was the largest single day protest in US history.  That wasn’t enough for me.  At the age of 60 I became an activist.

Over the last four years of the trump administration I have involved myself in many ways to make a difference, to have an impact and to defeat the right-wing agenda.  I have learned a lot.

I’ve been asked many times “What can I do?”  Well, now I’m going to tell you.

PSA – If you are still supporting trump and other Republican candidates, you can stop reading now.  Move along, nothing to see here.

Ok, for the rest of you, I am going to give you a laundry list of things you can do to help elect Democrats up and down the ticket.  The majority of these are pretty easy and you don’t even have to leave your house.  Can you use Google?  Perfect, you can make a difference.

The first thing on the list – donate.  For better or for worse, all campaigns need money to be viable.  Whether you can donate $10 or $100, just do it.  I do monthly donations of just $10 to several campaigns.  We need to flip the US Senate, so start donating to those Democrats who are attempting to unseat trump enablers.

Amy McGrath is running against Mitch McConnell.  He needs to go.  Seriously, I can’t think of any other single politician who has done more damage to our democracy.

Lindsey Graham couldn’t suck up more to trump if he tried.  Help out Jaime Harrison to get Graham out of office.

There are so many others.  Maine, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina.  Even Tina Smith’s Senate seat here in Minnesota isn’t a shoo-in.  I donate to her campaign and help out with text banking.  You can help her too:  https://tinaforminnesota.com/

Now, let’s start at the top of the ticket:

Go to https://joebiden.com/take-action/  to sign up to volunteer for the Biden/Harris campaign.  They have a list of ways you can help.  Sure you can donate.  Do.  But you can phone bank from home, text bank from home, attend events online, order yard signs, bumper stickers and lots of other merchandise.  Visibility is key.  Let folks see that you support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

I used to think that these actions didn’t matter.  But they do.  You can put a sign in your yard.  It’s about the simplest thing you can do.

Personally, I am hooked on text banking.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s really fun.

Calling voters or sending texts might not be your thing.  How about writing letters?  Vote Forward is a fun way to reach out to voters in targeted areas.  You are given templates, addresses, etc.  Check them out here:  https://votefwd.org/

Ever heard of Indivisible?  Find them here:  https://indivisible.org/  A national organization, Indivisible works through local chapters to get a lot done.  I began working with the local Indivisible St. Paul chapter last winter.  Since then, I’ve become part of the core leadership team and am involved in so many initiatives I can’t quite keep them all straight.  We work locally, regionally, state wide and nation wide to get Democrats elected up and down the ticket.  St. Paul is a safely Democratic community.  But one of our goals is to flip the Minnesota Senate from red to blue.  So we will be “adopting” Democratic candidates in flippable districts.  We’ll be fund raising and volunteering for these candidates to help get the Minnesota state senate back in the hands of Democrats.

There is an Indivisible chapter near you.  You can find them at the link above.

Are you worried about the election?  Yeah, me too.  Especially as it pertains to voter suppression, voting by mail and interference from a number of bad actors.  Your local election offices need help.  They need people to work at the polls during early voting and on November 3rd.  Reach out to your county election office (Google is your friend) and find out how you can apply to be an election worker.

Never underestimate the power of social media.  It might be the one thing Trump truly understands.  Follow your favorite candidates on all the social media sites you use.  Like, share and retweet their posts.  Share information about their policies and campaign events.  Like  I said above, visibility is key.

And it goes without saying – VOTE.  If you vote by mail, take every precaution to make sure your ballot is delivered on time and counted.  Don’t wait until the last minute.  Make your plan to vote now.  It is too important to be left as an afterthought.  Talk to your family, friends and anyone who will listen about voting.  Be a pest.  It’s ok.  Desperate times and all that.  Trump has stated unequivocally that he wants to slow down the mail to keep people from voting.  https://www.npr.org/2020/08/13/902109991/trump-admits-to-opposing-funding-for-postal-service-to-block-more-voting-by-mail

This is no ordinary election year.  Donald Trump and all of his enablers need to be beaten and beaten well.  We need all hands on deck.  Every single one of us needs to actively work to get rid of trump and the harmful Republican policies that are ripping our democracy apart.

If you aren’t sure how to get started or are uncomfortable with just jumping into any of these activities reach out to me.  I’m more than happy to help get you started.

We can’t wake up on November 4th asking ourselves “what could I have done?”

Let’s get to work.

 

It’s Not About Politics

It’s about right versus wrong.

It’s about common decency.

It’s about truth versus lies.

It’s about honoring our system of government and how the founders intended it to work.

It’s about checks and balances.

It’s about empathy and compassion.

It’s about serving all of the people, not just a minority subset of them.

It’s about being a humble public servant.

It’s about the rule of law.

It’s about the common good.

The shattered families and friendships are not about political differences.  It was never about that.  Political differences are as old as the country itself.

This isn’t about policy differences.  We’ve always had different ways of looking at the same issue.

This is deeper and more sinister.  A large portion of the United States population has decided to hitch their wagon to a person who has done absolutely nothing to deserve their support or their vote.  A person who drives wedges between us rather than doing the job of the President, which is to unite us.  A person who has no desire to govern the country but only to wallow in the adulation of people wrapped up in the cult of his personality.

The MAGA hat wearers support him because of his lies.  Because of his crassness.  Because of his lack of intellect.  They love it when he tweets and retweets all the things they think but, up until now, didn’t feel comfortable saying out loud.  I don’t care about them.  Not one bit.  They are the minority of the minority.  Their glorification of the con artist isn’t surprising.  It’s just professional wrestling to them.  It’s entertainment, not politics.  They don’t care one iota about the workings of their government.  They just want to be part of the show.

But what of the rest of them?  The rest of his supporters.  The ones who don’t wear the hat or wave the campaign flag?  The ones who don’t treat him like a rock star?

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how otherwise good, moral and yes, intelligent people can continue to support him.  I lay awake thinking about it.  How can they not see what I see?  A small-minded man totally driven by his insecurities.  He ran for President for the attention and publicity.  He never thought he’d actually win.  But now that he has that microphone and people all over the world are watching his every move, he is not about to give it up easily.

An amoral person will not think twice about lying, cheating, and stealing to get what he wants.  He’s been doing it his whole life.  He doesn’t hide it.  He does it out in the open because he knows it throws us off.

And other amoral people will cheer him on.  Because it validates them.

But what about those people we thought we knew?  What of them?  What are we to think when they tell us they still support him?  What does that tell us about these people we thought we knew?

I don’t have the answer to that.  I spend hours each day worrying over it.  Trying to figure it out.  Trying to see what they see.  But it’s impossible.

This isn’t about politics.  It’s about character and goodness and generosity and empathy for each and every human being.  It’s about holding on to what is great about America, if you can even manage to find it anymore.

Why are the good people in that minority of Americans willing to trash everything?  Why do they want to tear it all down?  Why do they think that’s necessary?

This election is the most critical in American history.  You can argue about others, but this one right here will decide if the great American experiment can be revived.  It’s currently on a ventilator with little chance of recovery if this administration is allowed to continue.  You can kiss everything that we thought was great about America goodbye.  Unhook it from life support and bury it.

And while the majority of us will mourn it’s passing the minority of the minority will cheer, yell, and pound their chests because they got exactly what they wanted.  More of the show, more of the entertainment.

And the others?  The ones we thought we knew?  What will they think?  Will they quietly celebrate the passing of America?  Or will they finally realize that they were the ones who unplugged the life support?

Two men are vying to be our next President.  One lies as easily as he breathes.  One cannot manage to show an ounce of empathy or compassion.  One cannot put his own needs and desires aside for the greater good of the American people.  One is tearing apart our institutions on a daily basis.  One spends every waking moment trying to game the system.  One enjoys dividing us.

The other is the exact opposite.

This is not about politics.  And if you think it is, you would be wrong.