Chop Wood, Carry Water 1/11
Living in the maybe.
“Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadow, justice over injustice? I know where I stand.”
—An excerpt from President Biden’s voting rights speech later today.
Hi, all, and happy Tuesday.
This morning I awoke to an alarmist text from a friend who works as a political commentator. The gist of it was that the Freedom to Vote Act was dead, and that we’d better start explaining to people why Biden couldn’t get it done.
Having only just woken up, I asked what news I had missed. He informed me that Manchin, Tester, and Sinema were “out” on filibuster reform.
Sighing, I went to have my tea. I try to start my morning with family, caffeine, and meditation (not necessarily in that order), instead of jumping right into the headlines. “Plenty of time to find out what happened,” I thought. “The bad news isn’t going anywhere.”
Except that when I finally sat down to work I couldn’t find evidence that my friend was correct. To the contrary, I saw a new tweet suggesting Manchin was offering alternatives to the current Senate rules and was very much “in play.”
None of my sources, in fact, made reference to anything being “over.”
I tell this story to remind you that there are a million takes out there. Hundreds of voices will tell you everything is lost, based on evidence they find compelling but which may or may not be factual or current. Folks are nervous; some are pessimistic by nature, others are understandably cynical after the last few years’ experiences.
I get it. AND I know it’s hard to sit in constant uncertainty. Sometimes being certain that we’re sunk feels like some kind of resolution, at least.
But we are living in the “maybes” right now. We have to. And I choose to see that as an empowering fact. “Maybe” means we still have leverage. “Maybe” means anything is possible.
“Maybe” means it’s not over.
So when you see a scary text, or an anxiety-producing headline, or a news alert that a bill you care about a lot is “dead,” just please take a breath. Anything you read, no matter how authoritative-sounding, is only one person’s take, at one moment in time.
As Dan Pfieffer reminds us regularly, the ACA was “dead” many, many times. Until it wasn’t.
I’m not promising we’ll succeed this week. But we may. And if we don’t, we’ll succeed eventually. We have to.
So let’s stop doom scrolling and start doing. That’s how we get from “maybe” to a certainty that we can celebrate.
THAT, in other words, is how we win.
Call Your Senators (find yours here)
Hi, I'm a constituent calling from [zip]. My name is ______.
First, I’d like the Senator to support the nomination of Dale Ho to the federal bench. His impressive legal career and expertise make him an ideal candidate. [H/T]
Second, I want the Senator to make voting rights—and specifically passing the Freedom to Vote act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act—their top priority. We can’t accomplish anything else if we don’t all have the ability to vote.
[If GOP add:] I know Republicans don’t want to give Democrats a win, but this isn’t about parties. This is about our democracy. Please remind them that voter suppression can work both ways—surely they don’t want their supporters stopped from reaching the polls some day?
[If Democrat] We must have filibuster reform. Americans support these bills by a wide margin—it’s unconscionable to allow them to be blocked by a minority of Senators representing way less than half of the country. Change the Senate rules and get this done. Thanks.
Call Your House Rep (find yours here)
Hi, I'm a constituent calling from [zip]. My name is _______.
I’m very concerned about the Postal Service. I want the Congressmember to support H.R.3076 - the Postal Service Reform Act of 2021. It would help stabilize the USPS by eliminating unnecessary financial burdens that pre-date the pandemic.
Also, I know the vote on the 2022 budget appropriations bill is quickly approaching. I want to urge support for including $6 million in funding for Postal Banking pilot programs. With local postal branches in every zip code, postal banking will overcome the impact of “banking deserts” and become a critical tool for families struggling to make ends meet while also providing critical revenue for the USPS. Thanks! [H/T]
The wonderful Judd Legum of Popular Information has been tracking which companies have held to their promise not to resume donations to Congressmembers who voted to overturn the election and which have not. The New York Times recently did a big piece on it as well. The long and short of their research? Lots of companies who said they would never give to these folks again…are.
Fortunately an intrepid reader named Cathee has put together a comprehensive list of these companies, as well as their contact info and whether they fall into the “naughty” or “nice” column. Wonderful work! She’s even added several sample letters that you can copy and customize as you wish.
The only thing that will change this kind of corporate malfeasance is loud consumer outcry.
That’s where we come in. Can you write at least one letter, please? And share, share, share!
Expand the Courts! 🧑🏽⚖️
Reminder: Tonight at 8PM/EST there’s going to be a great webinar about court expansion and how we get it done with MoveOn and one of the newest champions for SCOUS expansion, Sen. Elizabeth Warren! Hope you can join! You can RSVP here.
Pass FTVA! 🗳
Joan’s Democracy Cafe is doing a phonebank today from 3-6 EST (but drop in any time) with lots of options to help protect voting rights in our country. Registration link is here.
They will have three campaigns (all of which use CallHub):
AZ, Freedom to Vote Act (FTVA) + John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (JLVRAA): (Call Arizona voters to ask if we can patch them through to Senator Sinema’s office.)
WV, Freedom to Vote Act (FTVA) + John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (JLVRAA): (Call West Virginia voters to ask if we can patch them through to Senator Manchin’s office.)
MI, Decline to Sign (run by Voters not Politicians): (Call low-information voters in Michigan to educate them about the Decline to Sign campaign and ask enthusiastic voters if they’d like to volunteer. No patch-through is needed.)
Again, registration link is here.
Resistbot Text (new to Resistbot? Go here!)
[to your Senators] [H/T] [Quick send: text SIGN PZYOWC to 50409]
I’m writing about the vote on Jerome Powell’s re-confirmation to the Federal Reserve’s chairmanship.
The Federal Reserve has a mandate to regulate the banks and steer the economy away from crisis.
But the fact of the matter is that the banks are fueling the climate crisis. It’s time for the Fed Chair to step up on climate action — and Jerome Powell has shown he is not that leader.
Jerome Powell must NOT be reconfirmed as Federal Reserve Chair. I urge you to vote ‘no’ on his confirmation when it’s brought to a floor vote. We need someone who can and will lead aggressively on climate—before it’s too late. Thanks.
OK, you did it again! You helped save democracy! You’re amazing.
Thank you for this. Just what I needed.
I have written and will be sending a letter to Cigna tomorrow. The lists of corporations and sample letters helped. Thank you.