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Author Topic: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.  (Read 1387 times)

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Online ValerianTopic starter

Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« on: December 16, 2016, 02:25:09 PM »
Like many people, I've been reeling this last month or so over the 2016 elections here in the U.S.  I've been signing petitions and following along with all the big protests, crossing my fingers that some of these efforts will actually help preserve some of the progress we've made recently rather than having large portions of it undone over the next four years.  (And, yes, also hoping that it won't actually be four years since we do have such a thing as impeachment in this country.)

Yesterday I found this guide, compiled by a group of former congressional staffers.  These are people who saw the tactics used by the heavily right-leaning Tea Party up close and personal, and saw how effective those tactics were at stopping many of the plans made by Obama and other Democrats.  These ex-staffers have compiled the details of those techniques into this document to create a blueprint for forming small, local groups that can have a big (dare I say yuge?) influence on their representatives in Washington.

It's well-written and gives clear, detailed ideas for good ways to resist the negative changes we're otherwise likely to see in the very near future.  Perhaps more importantly, it reassured me to see that there were things that could be done besides signing petitions that may or may not be seen by the right people, actions that could be taken that have already worked in the past.

A sample:
Quote from: Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda
Using these lessons to fight the Trump agenda

For the next two years, Donald Trump and congressional Republicans will control the federal government. But they will depend on just about every member of Congress to actually get laws passed. And those members of Congress care much more about getting reelected than they care about any specific issue. By adopting a defensive strategy that pressures MoCs, we can achieve the following goals:


Stall the Trump agenda by forcing them to redirect energy away from their priorities. Congressional offices have limited time and limited people. A day that they spend worrying about you is a day that they’re not spending on ending Medicare, privatizing public schools, or preparing a Muslim registry.


Sap Representatives’ will to support or drive reactionary change. If you do this right, you will have an outsized impact. Every time your member of Congress signs on to a bill, takes a position, or makes a statement, a little part of his or her mind will be thinking, “How am I going to explain this to the angry constituents who keep showing up at my events and demanding answers?”


Reaffirm the illegitimacy of the Trump agenda. The hard truth is that Trump, McConnell, and Ryan will have the votes to cause some damage. But by objecting as loudly and powerfully as possible, and by centering the voices of those who are most affected by their agenda, you can ensure that people understand exactly how bad these laws are from the very start – priming the ground for the 2018 midterms and their repeal when Democrats retake power.

Quote
Preparation

1. Find out when your MoC’s next public town hall event is. Sometimes these are announced well in advance, and sometimes they are “public” but only sent to select constituents through mailings shortly before the event. If you can’t find announcements online, call your MoC directly to find out. When you call, be friendly and say to the staffer, “Hi, I’m a constituent, and I’d like to know when his/her next town hall forum will be.” If they don’t know, ask to be added to the email list so that you get notified when they do.


2. Send out notice of the town hall to your group and get commitments from members to attend. Distribute to all of them whatever information you have on your MoC’s voting record, as well as the prepared questions (next step).

3. Prepare several questions ahead of time for your group to ask. Your questions should be sharp and fact-based, ideally including information on the MoC’s record, votes they’ve taken, or statements they’ve made. They should, thematically, focus on a limited number of issues to maximize impact. Prepare 5-10 of these questions and hand them out to your group ahead of the meeting. Example question:

“I and many district families in Springfield rely on Medicare. I don’t think we should be rationing health care for seniors, and the plan to privatize Medicare will create serious financial hardship for seniors who can’t afford it. You haven’t gone on the record opposing this. Will you commit here and now to vote no Bill X to cut Medicare?”

The guide is still evolving, with the authors looking for real-world stories and suggestions to improve and refine the plans they've laid out.  In short, I'm feeling just a tiny bit optimistic for the first time in a while, and hopefully this guide will be of help to others, too.  :)

Offline Kuroneko

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2016, 04:53:28 PM »
Thank you for posting this, Valerian.

Offline Trevino

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 12:39:58 PM »
The New Yorker has posted some ideas as well, at least as to what we can do in the immediate run: http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/nine-ways-to-oppose-donald-trump

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 09:51:12 AM »
There's also an essay collection coming out, called What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump's America.  It features advice on practicing constitutionally protected acts of resistance as well as essays by Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and the heads of such organizations as the ACLU, the NAACP, the Sierra Club, and the National GLBTQ Task Force.  It's due out on 17 January.

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2016, 01:27:58 PM »
Apologies for the double post, but the authors of the Indivisible guide have a website set up now where you can contact them and also sign up to receive updates to the guide.  :)

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2017, 11:30:38 AM »
Hat trick!   ;D  There is now a page on the Indivisible website where you can search for a group near you or register your own group.

Offline elone

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2017, 10:31:47 PM »
Bernie is still out there fighting for all of us. Working on grass roots movement. Of course a lot of this is the future, not right now.

https://ourrevolution.com
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 10:33:31 PM by elone »

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Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2017, 02:01:11 PM »

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2017, 08:31:28 AM »
Some solid tips on how to keep sane: https://qz.com/852187/coping-with-chaos-in-the-white-house/
That was a very interesting article, thank you.  :)

I just happened across this article featuring tips from lifelong activists about taking care of yourself while you're working to support the issues that matter to you.  Much of it is common sense, but unfortunately it's easy to get caught up sometimes and forget the basics.  This fight will be a marathon, not a sprint, so we all have to pace ourselves.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2017, 08:56:40 AM »
I've worked on causes most of my adult life and learned that while you can often win you can also fall short of the goals you and your group set.  It's helpful to remember that even though you may not get all you want you make a difference as you travel.

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2017, 08:37:55 AM »
Secretary of Education nominee (also Amway billionaire and major political contributor to Republican causes) Betsy DeVos is in serious danger of not being confirmed.  Two Republican senators have pledged to vote against her, citing concerns over her inexperience and obsession with school voucher programs, which have been shown to be ineffective at best.  This puts the votes at a tie.  Pence would then break that tie, presumably in her favor, but if just one more Republican senator votes no, then she's out.  The following senators are believed to be particularly reluctant to vote yes:

Gardner - Colorado
Toomey - Pennsylvania
Flake - Arizona
McCain - Arizona
Sullivan - Alabama
Heller - Nevada
Portman - Ohio

If you are one of their constituents, now is the time to call them and urge them to vote against DeVos.  They're trying to rush her confirmation before anyone else can change their minds.  But please call only if you actually are one of their constituents, as pretending only hurts legitimate callers.

This site will help you find contact information for your representatives.  It's best to keep messages short and direct, so there's no need to say anything fancy.  Give your name and address (or at least a zip code) so that they can verify you are a constituent, urge your senator to vote against DeVos, and thank them.  If you're lucky enough to get through to a person (many offices are pretty overwhelmed with calls right now) be polite.  Staffers are usually very professional and should take your concerns seriously.

Lisa Murkowski, the Republican senator from Alaska who has pledged a no vote, stated directly that it was the volume of calls to her office expressing concern that changed her mind, so this really does make a difference.

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Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2017, 05:54:29 PM »
Pertinent points of focus from MLK's daughter.


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Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2017, 07:59:18 AM »

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2018, 10:10:05 AM »
More opportunities to contribute!  There's a group called Get Her Elected that's recruiting volunteers for specific, short-term jobs for various progressive campaigns that women are running across the US.  It's very well-organized and you decide which jobs you'd like to volunteer for.  All you do is sign up for their email list and every Monday you'll receive a listing of which volunteer opportunities are available and what skills they require -- accounting, writing, research, data entry, making calls, etc.  Then you put your name in for whichever job(s) interest you and the organizer will let you know if you've been selected.

The beauty of it is that you can choose how many hours a week you put in and it can all be done online or over the phone.  It's a great way to help out.   ;D

Online Soveliss

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2018, 01:40:11 PM »
More opportunities to contribute!  There's a group called Get Her Elected that's recruiting volunteers for specific, short-term jobs for various progressive campaigns that women are running across the US.

I kept deluding myself that what people had between their ears mattered more than what they had between their legs, but apparently, for plenty of people, it doesn't work that way. Figures. [/sarcasm]

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2018, 10:38:30 AM »
I kept deluding myself that what people had between their ears mattered more than what they had between their legs, but apparently, for plenty of people, it doesn't work that way. Figures. [/sarcasm]

Could you clarify this, please?  I'm not sure what you're getting at here and I don't want to make assumptions.

Online Soveliss

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2018, 11:53:03 AM »
Could you clarify this, please?  I'm not sure what you're getting at here and I don't want to make assumptions.

It's about the Get Her Elected thing. You know, just because you prioritize female politicians over males doesn't mean you're not prioritizing sex (what's between one's legs) over ideas (what's between one's ears, i.e. in one's brain). I'd vote for any politicians whose ideas I agreed with and I wouldn't care if they were male or female. But this Get Her Elected thing sounds like "we don't care about their ideas, we want more women politicians". Besides, if you run a tally of the percentage of females versus males who run for political office versus the percentage of female elected politicians versus male politicians, in most western countries these two numbers are about the same, so when women run for office they don't have that much trouble getting elected in most western countries, it's just that more men run for office than women, and I'd rather more women try their luck running for office and have them be elected or not on their own merits and ideas then trying to artificially inflate the number of female politicians elected because we think we need more women in political positions.

Online ValerianTopic starter

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2018, 12:46:21 PM »
It's about the Get Her Elected thing. You know, just because you prioritize female politicians over males doesn't mean you're not prioritizing sex (what's between one's legs) over ideas (what's between one's ears, i.e. in one's brain). I'd vote for any politicians whose ideas I agreed with and I wouldn't care if they were male or female. But this Get Her Elected thing sounds like "we don't care about their ideas, we want more women politicians". Besides, if you run a tally of the percentage of females versus males who run for political office versus the percentage of female elected politicians versus male politicians, in most western countries these two numbers are about the same, so when women run for office they don't have that much trouble getting elected in most western countries, it's just that more men run for office than women, and I'd rather more women try their luck running for office and have them be elected or not on their own merits and ideas then trying to artificially inflate the number of female politicians elected because we think we need more women in political positions.

Ah, I see.  And I do understand that point of view, but I don't happen to agree with it in this instance.  The problem is that women often don't run for office because they're not only not encouraged to run, they're often actively discouraged from running.  Politics isn't considered "a woman's place" so even those who do want to get involved don't take that first step because they're afraid of the reactions they'll get.  The idea of this program is to level the field more from the beginning and hopefully get something like equal numbers of men and women running in the first place.

Also, I did do some checking into this group and they aren't automatically supporting every single female candidate out there.  These are all specifically progressive candidates, most of whom are in more conservative areas and are in need of all the grassroots support they can get.  Many are running against candidates supported by conservative super-PACs and people like the Koch brothers, so they're starting at a disadvantage and programs like these can help make up for that.

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Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2018, 12:52:43 PM »
I think they are looking at the candidates and their qualifications and trying to drum up some main stream support for those who need people to work for them on a pro bono basis when contributions are on forth coming to support the campaign.  Better know candidates often have access to supports who financially commit to their campaigns to help pay for things like advertising but also clerical, technological and creative backup.  The GetHerElected group seems willing to support candidates campaigning on a shoestring.  I've helped friends in the LGBT arena with this type of support in the past by proofing new releases and advertising and helping to write speeches as well as doing research for articles for them.


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Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2018, 02:38:20 AM »
Sigh. Children, let's read a story together, shall we?


Sauce


(The average nationwide is just 24.9%. Sauce)

Pink states are female governors, because pink and blue I guess:

(For those of you without a calculator handy, that's 7/50 or 14% of US states that have females in the governor's mansion right now. Sauce)



Women hold 21% of mayorships in US cities with a population over 30k. (I was skeptical of using that site for a source, but then I noticed that Time cites them for their 2016 numbers, so I went with it.)

Maybe I'm picking biased shit. Maybe I should look at something a little more female-centric, someplace where women might feel more at home. School boards, maybe? Nope. As of 2014 studies show school boards are at about 40% female composition in general. The source is a book put out by Princeton University so I guess that's your source.

I forget. Friend Census, what percentage of the US population is female? Oh right. 51 fucking percent of the US population is female.

Sauce

And maybe, just maybe, if we get some of the gender parity that we need in all levels of government, we might actually be able to get some genderqueer, genderfluid, and nonbinary peeps up there, too. Literally go jump off a bridge with that 'between their ears not between their legs' bullshit.



The Indivisible guide is amazing. It brought some hope back to a seriously demoralized electorate and has energized a new generation of activists. We have a slate of progressive candidates up and down the ballot locally in 2018, and more people are connected with the efforts to turn my state (AZ) into a swing state. Right now we're pounding the pavement hard to get out the vote in order to elect some sane (and maybe not-depressingly-mentally-unsound-because-of-medical-issues) senators and congressional reps. We've been soft-campaigning against Joe Arpaio for a while now, and now that he's officially announced we can put more focused efforts toward that. We also have members who are Handmaids at protests (inspired by The Handmaid's Tale, of course) and they tend to get coverage just about wherever they go, in part because the red capes make for neat optics.

All this from groups that didn't exist a year ago, often formed by newbies who had never been political agitators in their lives. (Along with some returning Flower Child style protesters who very much have the attitude that they "can't believe [they] still have to protest this shit" which I think is pretty energizing. I don't want to be having to still protest my rights in 50 years.)

Offline Kyrsa

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2018, 07:45:56 PM »
Sigh. Children, let's read a story together, shall we?

Literally go jump off a bridge with that 'between their ears not between their legs' bullshit.

While we appreciate the topic of getting women elected to various political offices is an important one, there are ways to state your case without resorting to caustic or destructive language.  There is no reason to be uncivil while trying to explain your point.

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Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2018, 11:06:37 PM »
Sure.

Offline Oniya

Re: Asking Yourself "Now What?" Try This.
« Reply #22 on: Yesterday at 01:10:34 PM »
Just a little while ago, a couple came to my door canvassing for Jess King.  (Our Democratic primaries are in May.)  I hadn't heard the name before, but when they said that they were trying to get someone in office to do more for Pennsylvanians than Smucker, I was interested.  Okay, the slogan on the flyer also said 'America is for all of us'.  I like that.

Talking points from the conversation:
Health care is a right.  (King supports 'Medicare for all'.)
Environmentally conscious (King opposes the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.  As do many people in my immediate area.)
Supports raising the minimum wage, and helping to resolve the debt crisis in Puerto Rico.
Supports debt-free public college.

As a side note, but something that also caught my attention - King is not using SuperPACs for campaign funding.

Campaign website.