Resources

The news gets crazier every day, but even if trump disappeared in a puff of smoke tomorrow, we’d still have lots of work to do. So, how do you know what to do?

First stop is the Indivisible Guide. Written by former Hill staffers, the guide tells you how to take action effectively. One thing you’ll learn from the guide is that calling your members of Congress is effective, so I suggest putting their numbers into your phone to make calling easy. I use the numbers for the local offices, rather than the D.C. office, and if one local office is busy, try another one. Calls are easy to make; you don’t really need a script, just tell them your name and where you live, and what you want your member to do. Or you can call to thank them for something they’ve done; positive strokes are good too. 

Should you call if your represented by a Democrat? Absolutely. Democrats need some spine-stiffening, and it will only come from us. They need to know that if they take a bolder approach, their voters want it. If you’re represented by a  Republican, call away. Yes, you might live in a safely red district, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t enough people like you to make him reconsider whether he really wants to defund Planned Parenthood. If you’re going to be complaining about something on social media or bitching about it to your friends, make the call first.

Hard to keep with everything, isn’t it? There are a number of email lists you can sign up for that will send you daily or weekly ideas for actions to take, with options for different time commitments. My Civic Workout, Do A Thing, and Wall of Us are three that I’m subscribed to. There are numerous Facebook groups that I can’t point you to because I have an aversion to Facebook, but they’re out there, and several of these sites will help you find them. Another big list of resources is here, highlighted by the Town Hall Project, which tracks Congressional town halls and other availabilities. 

And give! Time or money. The ACLU got the biggest chunk of my money soon after the election, because we had already been regular donors there, but we gave a much bigger chunk. Decide what aspect of all the terrible things happening is the most important to you, and focus there.

Now, let’s talk local. trump and the R’s won not because we were mean to conservatives or because we live in a bubble, trump and the R’s won because we got complacent. We didn’t pay enough attention to legislatures and downballot. Our values matter even more at the neighborhood level than at the state level. Lots of city council seats and school board seats will be up for election this year. Is your council or board implementing your values? Does the composition of the board or council resemble the city or district they represent? If not, what are you going to do about it? Run? Identify an ally and her run? Either way, time to get to work.

I just got my first invite for a kickoff fundraiser for my congressmember’s re-election campaign in 2018, so the battle to take the House is underway. Consider donating to a campaign, even if you don’t have a lot to donate. Attend an event, get a chance to meet your representative and ask a question. 

Volunteer for a campaign. Go to your local Democratic organization meeting, and connect with like-minded souls. You’ll never be an apathetic voter again; your ballot will be turned in first thing. Next thing you know, you’ll be sitting through city council meetings,

Any other ideas people have, share them in comments.

Washington v. Trump

The Ninth Circuit unanimously smacked down the trump administration today in denying their request for a stay of the TRO stopping their immoral and unConstitutional Muslim ban. The administration could appeal it to the Supreme Court, but it’s not even clear they could get five votes for cert, much less five votes to overturn. The 9CA didn’t accept every single one of Washington’s arguments, but it didn’t buy a single one of the administration’s, and was particularly scathing about the requirements for judicial review and due process. 

The usual voices have cried out that American lives have been put at risk, even though no one from the banned countries has committed an act of terror on US soil. Those same voices are silent in the face of the 30000 US lives lost every year due to guns, the equivalent of 10 9/11 attacks. They protest at any hint of a limitation on sales or possession of guns, and never accuse the NRA of putting American lives at risk, even as the NRA insists that the answer to the deaths by guns in America is more guns. An American is more likely to die at the hands of a toddler with a gun than at the hands of an Islamic terrorist. 

People aren’t bigoted because they want to ban Muslims. They just want to be safe. They only want to be safe from certain kinds of dangers, it seems.

The Munich Post

The NYTimes brings us a story of the chaotic process of the fist few weeks of the trump administration. There are many little tidbits in it, most utterly predictable. trump is obsessed with his image, his ratings, as it were. He had the (mistaken) impression that everything was going just fine, that he was a resounding success, until someone changed the channel away from Fox, I guess. He watches TV all the time. He’s inordinately proud of the changes he’s made to the Oval, especially after he found out that taxpayers pay for them. He’s worn out about 6:30, so he goes to the residence to greet and watch TV and call friends to boost his mood.

Meanwhile, the small group of people running the country are working, assuming they can turn the lights on. Either way, they’re keeping everybody else in the dark, eschewing the normal sort of interagency review for speed. trump will sign what they put in front of them. Shadow President Bannon managed to get himself appointed to the NSC without trump even understanding what he was signing. When Bannon’s rumpled mug appeared on Time this week, it reminded trump that he’s angry about Bannon, so maybe Bannon reached too far.

In he meantime, Bannon sure seemed to be running things, and he likes the chaos. While everybody wonders what’s pgking on, he executes his plan.

Another leader who loved to creat chaos and take advantage of was Hitler. Trump hasn’t called for a Final Solution yet, and so far, there is still resistance to normalizing trump. But how long will it hold? As Ron Rosenbaum argues in the LA review of Books, our norms and isstituions won’t save us, only our people standing up can save us. 

And I remembered the Munich Post, defending Weimar Germany. I reflected on how fragile democratic institutions could be in the face of organized hatred. Hitler had been tricky about his plans until he got the position and the power to enact them. Trump had been tricky, neither accepting nor rejecting the endorsement of KKK leader David Duke. David Duke! The KKK! In this century! He claimed he didn’t know who he was. He couldn’t be disqualified because of someone he didn’t know. That’s where we all went wrong, thinking he was stupid and outrageous, not canny and savvy and able to play the media like Paganini. The election demonstrated the weakness of a weak democracy, where basic liberties could be abolished by demagoguery and voter suppression.

Our institutions aren’t designed to keep out trump, welcomed in through  the front door. It’s our duty , if we’re to save our way of live, to make Trumpism does not become normal.

Rule of law

In the firehouse of news and nonsense that erupts daily from the trump White House, it’s easy to lose track of yesterday’s stories. The Muslim ban has been subject to multiple court orders, but is CBP adhering to those orders?

There are numerous indications that the CPB and the administration are not. The ACLU is trying to get more info about what the CBP is doing, but obviously, this is a Big Deal. We’re not even two weeks into the new administration, and they’re already ignoring the judiciary? And yet there are still people like Sheryl Sandberg who think it’s too early to make judgments about trump yet. Lean in to trump if you want, Sheryl, but I know where I stand.

Nominees 

I agree with Jonathan Chait here; Dems should not cooperate in any way with trump’s illegitimate nominee to a stolen SCOTUS seat. If that means losing the filibuster, then so be it. 

For that matter, I think the Dems should delay, obstruct, throw wrenchs in the gears of the Senate and the House, and vote no on everything trump and Republicans try to do until and unless the immoral and illegal Muslim ban is overturned. I have called my Reps to tell them so; have you?

And Shadow President Bannon makes it clear that he would love nothing more than all out war with Islam, and a white Christian nation. It’s unclear whether trump’s white evangelical base understands what Bannon’s Chrisitianity looks like, nor his neo-Nazi shock troops.

Today’s must reading

Kara Swisher has become the most important tech writer around (not that she already wasn’t a really good one), because she’s willing to call tech leaders on their nonsense.

Comparing Sean Spicer, Shadow President Bannon, and Joseph Goebbels In their own words.

Border Patrol agents were forcing green card holders to give up their green cards on threat of not being able to return to the US for five years.

The ACLU received $24 million in online donations this weekend. They’re going to need that, and more. I’ve given; have you?

If you can’t get through to your Senator’s DC office, try a local office. If the first local office is too busy, work your way down the list. Keep those phones busy, and remind your Senators that you expect them to stand up for your values, not try to find common ground with bullies!

Pro-unborn

The pro-life movement doesn’t deserve the name. Once again, too many have demonstrated that they don’t care about the lives of people who live and breathe and might be different than them, but only about some abstract potential of might be human beings on whom they can project goodness and innocence, and who demand nothing of them.

It’s impossible to claim a biblical justification for a pro-life view, and believe that banning Muslims from the US is not only acceptable, but the right thing to do. Jesus didn’t say anything about only welcoming the stranger if you were safe. We aren’t told to love our neighbor as ourselves only if we aren’t afraid. Jesus didn’t promise safety and protection from all harm.

Of course, we are safe. We live in a very safe country, and Muslims are not a threat to that safety. We have met he enemy, and he is us. Our own fear and paranoia is the biggest threat we face, and we’re failing the challenge.

Feeedom and safety lie in turning away from fear towards love. Care more for the living than the maybe someday living.