TrumpCare is a MENACE

19222709_274603609675702_8059141608461991491_oThe thing that keeps me up right now is Trumpcare, and you all know that because you follow me on Facebook and I haven’t posted about anything else in days. Weeks. Months. YEARS. WHO KNOWS. It’s gotten to the point where people at work are asking me to send them things because I’ve become that girl with the list of links about healthcare. Since most of you don’t actually work with me, I’ve put them for you here instead:

https://www.ouramendments.org/ – the budget reconciliation process that the Republicans are using to pass the healthcare bill allows for unlimited amendments. If Democrats propose like 4,000 amendments, we could theoretically delay the bill until midterms. You can basically use that link to submit your own amendment and it gets sent to the healthcare aids of your senators and it goes to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer because he’s the one who decides strategy. It’s a creative way to advocate without having to actually talk to people on the phone, which, let’s face it, is the worst.

https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resource/withholding-consent-filibuster-amendment-call-script/ – call scripts for Democratic Senators. They also have links to ones for Republicans and Republicans in the ten vulnerable states where people might flip.

Honestly, these scripts have good info, but they are kind of involved. If you want to have a conversation with the person who answers the phone, that’s AWESOME. And I full support that and there’s a lot of good info for that here. I rarely want to have an actual conversation so I usually just go with something like

“Hi, my name is [NAME]  and I’m a constituent from [ZIPCODE] and I’d like to leave a comment for the Senator”

“Sure, go ahead”

“I’d like to ask that the Senator do whatever he/she can to block passage of the TrumpCare bill. Whether it’s by filibustering, filibustering by amendment or objecting to unanimous consent, I hope that he/she will do whatever they can to make sure that this bill doesn’t pass. We need to see leadership from our Democratic Senators, and we need to see them fighting for us and our loved ones.”

“Great, I’ll pass that along!”

“Thanks, and have a great day!”

“You too.”

END.

You can also call the HELP committee to yell at them for abdicating their responsibility to hold hearings on this bill if you’re feeling ambitious, by calling: 202-224-5375. If you want a script for that, let me know, and I’ll write one.

https://www.trumpcareten.org/ – if you know anyone who lives in Alaska, West Virginia, Maine, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana or Arkansas, they have particularly vulnerable Senators or Senators who might be persuaded not to vote for Trumpcare, and you can pass those resources along if they are inclined to do something about it.

https://swingleft.org/district-funds – if you’d rather just donate money, feel free! Swing Left is fundraising for the future opponents of Republicans so that after a Democrat/progressive candidate wins their primary they have a pot of money they can access. People usually spend most of what they’ve fundraised during the primary so this is a good way to give progressive candidates a running start. Pick some Republicans who voted yes on AHCA so that the Senators in those states know that there is national pressure.

https://www.vox.com/health-care – finally, Vox has been doing some EXCELLENT healthcare coverage, from what’s wrong with the way they are passing the bill now, to facts about what’s probably in it that you can use to argue with friends, coworkers, family, people on the street or the MAGA assholes on Twitter.

If you have any questions, let me know because I honestly can’t help myself.

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Maybe you’re an idiot, but I am also an idiot

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Yesterday I got into an argument on Facebook. Which is never a promising way to start any sentence. This particular argument was related to the current election and I wasn’t the only one engaging with our adversary, but I was the only one to call this person an idiot.

This is something that I am neither proud of nor ashamed of. This person was in fact, being an idiot – they disregarded facts, did not listen to or acknowledge any points based on facts, and effectively said that EL James’ 50 Shades of Grey did not represent an abusive relationship because it was a best seller. There are many people I know who would say I was perfectly within my right to call this person an idiot. And I must say, it felt good.

But as good as it felt, if there’s one thing I think we call all agree on as a species, it’s that getting called stupid or an idiot or whatever really sucks. Instead of making us look at our life and look at our choices, being called an idiot usually makes us retreat further into our schools of thought, making us stew in self-righteous anger, being all moody and misunderstood.

No matter my feelings in the moment, I should probably have spent more time imagining this person complexly. Who knows exactly how they came to their way of thinking, but that doesn’t really matter. They are perfectly entitled to their opinion. And if I truly believe that they are fundamentally wrong, there are better ways to change people’s minds.

One of the most interesting pieces I read in 2015 was an article in The New Yorker about a women, Megan Phelps-Roper, who was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church and ran social media for the church, and how that lead to her questioning her beliefs and everything Westboro stands. While she spent her time tweeting things that made people cringe, she eventually came in contact with a Jewish web-developer named David Abitbol, who goes by the twitter handle @jewlicious. Though they would spend hours debating online, they enjoyed their back and forth, Roper-Phelps even admitting she liked that he was friendly.

Abitbol says in the article that he learned that relating to hateful people on a human level was the best way to deal with them. As Roper-Phelps continued to tweet her views, Abitbol politely countered her them, making himself as approachable as possible in order to humanize himself to her. His plan worked and he eventually changed her mind on some of Westboro’s most important doctrines. Her interactions with him led to her meeting others online who challenged her ways of thinking and eventually she left the church.

Now this of course took years. Roper-Phelps wasn’t convinced her previous way of thinking was wrong after just one interaction online. She had to chip away at it and she had to be open enough to believe there were other people out there that were good and held different opinions than hers. But without the compassion that some of her adversaries had for her, she may never have changed her mind.

I’m not saying that there was ever a way I could’ve reasoned with this person, especially on Facebook. And not everyone can change their minds. But it was a good reminder that change starts at the bottom, and it starts with us treating each other as people. Maybe not good people…but people nonetheless. It’s what this election is all about; the complexity of our systems and the complexity of ourselves.

So on November 8th, no matter what you think or believe, you should vote. Because people died to give you the right to vote and that goes for all of us idiots too.

If you’re interested in reading the article I mentioned, you can find it here: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/23/conversion-via-twitter-westboro-baptist-church-megan-phelps-roper

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/6262122778

I’m With Her, the Learning Curve Edition

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 7.51.05 PM.pngscreen-shot-2016-09-26-at-7-51-16-pmMy bone deep terror in the face of the 2016 election boggles even me. I keep thinking of all these things I want to do – actually finish a novel, for example, and then the fear takes over. How do you create art in a world where Trump can be elected president? (I’m serious…these are things my brain does) It all came to a bit of a head, however, on Saturday night when I was trying to watch the Kingsman with Kelly and Taekia. I made them pause it twice because I was too distressed about the possibility of a Trump presidency to a) focus on the movie or b) let them stop discussing it with me.

Over the course of the conversation I could see Taekia working up to something, putting an argument into place before she said it, but I’m so very, very glad she did.

“It’s a kind of privilege, though, isn’t it? That kind of fear?”

Everything clicked into place then, so easily that I’m ashamed I didn’t realize this before. Everything about this fear comes from a place of privilege.

Let’s be honest. The foundation of my belief in politics comes from the West Wing, which is a show about optimism and possibility and the belief that government can be a force for good in the world. It’s an extremely flawed vision. Intellectually, I’m aware of this, but emotionally, unconsciously? Not so much. Trump has revealed that foundation to be unstable at best, rotten at worst, and the naïve part of my gut figured that if we could elect Hillary Clinton instead, we could dismiss Trump as a fluke.

But the genie will not go back in his bottle. The reality of a Trump presidency that I fear – the codified bigotry, the economic and environmental disaster, the gutting of public education, the violence, the police state – these are realities for so many people who live in our country, whose very existence is at the whims of current power structure that benefits me as much as it benefits so many people who support Trump. Just look at Flint, at Little Rock, at Charlotte and Tulsa. It’s an emotional, social, physical reality I’m only beginning to realize how much I don’t and can’t understand, even as I do my best to learn about it, to acknowledge it, to work to eradicate it.

Hillary Clinton, even as president, cannot fix this. No one person can, no matter what position of power they have. And Hillary Clinton herself is flawed, and votes and her support for past policies have grievously helped to uphold the systemic injustices that our country is riddled with. Given the state of things, I understand the impulse to burn it down. As Taekia stated so astutely later in that same conversation, this system we have, this unfinished symphony, was written by racist, sexist white men. And I can see the hopelessness that makes people think we can’t get from here to a much better there.

I have to start building a new foundation. That’s my job, the intellectual work that I have to keep doing. I have to read more widely, listen more carefully. An uncomplicated belief in possibility is as dangerous as an uncomplicated nostalgia. So let’s start at the beginning with a few things I’m surer of than others.

  1. No one, and I mean no one’s lives will be better under a Trump presidency.
  2. As tempting as the scorched earth approach might be, and I’m only starting to understand how tempting that is, I don’t believe we’re going to get there any faster that way. In fact, I think we might get there more slowly.
  3. If we’re heading toward a revolution of some kind, and I sincerely hope that we are, the politician I want in the oval office is one who has demonstrated an ability to listen to and respond to criticism. Hillary Clinton is not perfect, and she has policies and practices that make me very nervous (examples include but are not limited to the way pragmatism turns to compromise and any policy towards Israel that isn’t OH MY GOD STOP) but never have I seen a politician with such a beautiful learning curve. Nor a politician whose continued work to understand the nuances of our country, of race and gender and economics, go unnoticed and unappreciated. If we’re taking to the streets, I want someone who is going to read the signs and listen to the chants, and then act on that knowledge.
  4. We can’t change the world by electing a president. Every four to eight years we have this dumb Green Party/Libertarian Party conversation where two new presidential candidates will pop out of the wood work, talking about bucking the system and then go away. You want more than two parties? Great, so do I. You want revolutionize the system? Me too! But we can’t do that every four years or every eight years. We have to do that every day.Do you know who your city council members are? Your state representatives? Do you vote in the midterms and the primaries and the school board elections? Do you show up at Town Halls even if there is absolutely no chance you’re going to meet Obama? I don’t, but I’m going to start.

The president is important, and I firmly believe that our country is going to be a better place if we elect Hillary Clinton than if we don’t. And I also firmly believe that is the question that we should try to be answering when we go to the polls. So I’m proud to say that I’m unequivocally, enthusiastically with her.

I hope we show up on November 8th to vote for her, to give ourselves a chance to start to rebuild after this madness, to make things better going forward – not just incrementally, but revolutionarily. But more importantly, I hope you show up on November 9th too.

 

Image source – Texts from Hillary is, yes, a little droll for the topic of this posts, but how could I possibly resist?