After watching the pre-Nevada caucus Democratic debate, I began writing this post with feelings of frustration approaching despair. There were many things to criticize, and I was emptying my angst onto this page, and thus preparing to send it on to you.
With the latest evidence—which we already knew—from the Intelligence briefing to the House that reiterated Russian meddling in the 2020 election, which was followed by the President’s replacement of the acting intelligence chief with someone with less than zero qualifications for the job, I cannot and will not deny that we are living in increasingly perilous times. See The New York Times article here.
The question I’ve been pondering is this: as we search for someone who is best able to defeat Donald Trump, how do we handle ourselves? And that question makes me feel more closely attuned to my more optimistic, better self—the one that really believes we can find common ground.
What brought me to this more positive place? Meditation helps, but my “recovery” was nurtured by a very calming, cogent newsletter that a friend who had just subscribed to forwarded to me. Its author, RB Hubbell, is based in California. The daily newsletter is free and can be obtained by sending your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Voice of Reason
I don’t know how large Hubbell’s subscriber list is, but he began his discussion of the aftermath of the debate by saying his inbox had “exploded” with emails that “exhibited a level of angst, anger, and disgust I have not seen before.”
He then said he wanted to share readers’ reactions, because he’s been told that hearing from others helps his readers “ground their feelings and test their own reactions to this crazy mess in which we find ourselves.”
There’s nothing wildly original about Hubbell’s message or his readers’ reactions. Maybe I was just ready to hear his words, but they hit me exactly right. Here’s a sampling:
“Before we get to the details, let’s say the important things first: We must stick together. We are on the same side. If we do not stand together, we will fall together. Whatever passion or disappointment or anger you feel, it cannot cause you to withdraw from the process or give in to feelings of hopelessness or lash out in anger at fellow Democrats. We are facing a grave threat to democracy. Our personal preferences for president are subordinate to the need to ensure the election of the Democratic nominee—whoever he or she is.
“A secondary point is the need to focus on the long-term. Yesterday’s debate was freighted with expectations and led to disappointment. Accept that fact and move on. We can’t freak out every time something bad happens; otherwise, we won’t make it to the Democratic convention in July, much less the general election in November. If ever there was a time in our history when we needed to toughen-up, hunker-down, and keep our eyes on the horizon, now is that moment.”
It’s Okay to Withdraw, But Not for Long
Hubbell’s readers include many people who told him they’d withdrawn from the fray for the sake of their mental health. I can relate to that feeling. My last three posts were about goldfinches and squirrels; solar railways and my carbon BigFootprint, and guidance on comforting the sick and dying.
But I knew I had to return to politics because this is an “all hands on deck” moment.
Interestingly, although Hubbell probably wouldn’t reveal his preferred candidate under any circumstances, he notes that he’s mostly filled out his own ballot for the California primary but has not yet determined which candidate he’ll support.
He concludes in a way that ties in with my primary objective with this post, referencing a Twitter thread by Walter Shaub, the former Director of the Office of Government Ethics (when there was such a working institution in our government!). A “snippet”:
“ Take Action. Any action. It’s not big things that will save us. It’s persistent small actions carried out by one individual, and another, and another and another across the nation…Make a very small donation, even just a dollar, to something, sign up to volunteer for one hour, go learn how to register voters.”
I wish I could include the entire thread because there’s lots of wisdom there. If you’re on Twitter, go to @waltshaub and you can read through it.
A Valuable Way to Make a Difference
Many of us have been repeatedly sending money to the Presidential candidate(s) of our choice. That’s important. But my action at the moment is to focus our attention on the House of Representatives. We must, must, must maintain the Democratic majority in the House.
All the members of the Class of 2018, those moderates in either swing districts or districts that Trump won, have been targeted for extinction—in good measure because they flipped formerly Republican seats AND had the courage to vote for impeachment. Many won by a single vote.
They are among the more than 50 House members being targeted for defeat by the National Republican Campaign Committee. According to Roll Call, the NRCC Chairman, Tom Emmer of Minnesota, enunciated the slogan the Congressional Republicans plan to run on:
“Freedom or socialism—that’s the choice in 2020.”
These targeted Democrats need our help, as their opposition is often flooded with cash and a revved up base. I’m listing their names, districts, and web sites in the hope that if you feel strongly that it is imperative to retain a Democratic-controlled House, you’ll be able to support their reelections in whatever way you can, including volunteering and importantly by contributing, no matter how small the amount.
In addition to donating to them directly, in most cases you can also go through ActBlue. I’m planning to work my way down the list, eventually giving modest donations to all of them.
Remember: each one of these individuals did what he or she believed was right for this country and upheld that oath—knowing that vote might well end their careers.
Let’s begin with the seven brave souls—all with national security backgrounds—whose OpEd in the Washington Post was instrumental in changing Nancy Pelosi’s mind about the need for an impeachment inquiry. They are:
*Gil Cisneros (CA-39): cisnerosforcongress.com
*Jason Crow (CO-06): jasoncrowforcongress.com
*Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06): chrissyhoulahanforcongress.com
*Elaine Luria (VA-02): elaineforcongress.com
*Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11): mikiesherrill.com
*Elissa Slotkin (MI-08): elissaforcongress.com
*Abigail Spanberger (VA-02): abigailspanberger.com
Here are the others:
*Cheri Bustos (IL-17): cheribustos.com [NOTE: the current Democratic Congressional Committee Chair]
*Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01): tomohalleran.com
*Anne Kirkpatrick (AZ-02): kirkpatrickforcongress.com
*Josh Harder (CA-10): harderforcongress.com
*TJ Cox (CA-21): tjcoxforcongress.com
*Katie Porter (CA-45): KatiePorter.com (I’ll explain my bolding below.)
*Harley Rouda (CA-48): harleyforcongress.com
*Mike Levin (CA-49): mikelevin.org
*Stephanie Murphy (FL-07): stephaniemurphyforcongress.com
*Charlie Crist (FL-13): charliecrist.com
*Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26): debbiemucarselpowell.com
*Donna E. Shalala (Fl-27): donnashalala.com
*Lucy McBath (GA-06): lucyforcongress.com
*Lauren Underwood (IL-14): underwoodforcongress.com
*Sean Casten (IL-06): castenforcongress.com
*Dave Loebsack (IA-02): loebsackforcongress.com
*Cindy Axne (IA-03): cindyaxneforcongress.com
*Abby Finkenauer (IA-01): abbyfinkenauer.com
*Sharice Davids (KS-03): shariceforcongress.com
*Haley Stevens (MI-11): HaleyStevensForCongress.com
*Angie Craig (MN-02): angiecraig.com
*Dean Phillips (MN-03): phillipsforcongress.org
*Susie Lee (NV-03): susieleeforcongress.com
*Steven Horsford (NV-04): stevenhorsford.com
*Chris Pappas (NH-01): chrispappas.org
*Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05): josh4congress.com
*Andy Kim (NJ-03): andykimforcongress.com
*Tom Malinowski (NJ-07): malinowskifornj.com
*Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02): xochforcongress.com
*Anthony Brindisi (NY-09): brindisiforcongress.com
*Max Rose (NY-11): maxroseforcongress.com
*Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18): seanmaloney.com
*Antonio Delgado (NY-19): delgadoforcongress.com
*Kendra Horn (OK-05): kendrahornforcongress.com
*Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04): defazioforcongress.org
*Susan Wild (PA-07): wildforcongress.com
*Matt Cartwright (PA-08): cartwrightforcongress.com
*Conor Lamb (PA-17): conorlamb.com
*Joe Cunningham: (SC): joecunninghamforcongress.com
*Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07): lizziefletcher.com
*Ben McAdams (UT): benmcadams.com
*Jennifer Wexton (VA-10): jenniferwexton.com
*Kim Schrier (WA-08): drkimschrier.com
*Ron Kind (WI): ronkind.org
*Christy Smith (CA-25): christyforcongress.org
[update: Christy Smith is running for the seat vacated by Katie Hill. Though she wasn’t in Congress for the impeachment vote, she is being targeted–hard. This is a hard-fought effort to retain a Democratic seat that needs money and votes immediately–before May 14th!]
Note: Jared Golden (ME-02): jaredgoldenforcongress.com has also been targeted by the Republicans, but the Democrats aren’t happy with him either: He voted to impeach the President on Article 1, but not for obstruction of Congress.
Missing from my version of the list is Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), who switched his party affiliation and is now a Republican.
On this list of valuable legislators, one who has impressed me deeply is Katie Porter of California, who asks the tough questions and seems fearless in speaking truth to power. She is under particularly strong attack. I believe it is extremely important that her voice continues to be heard in Congress; thus, I’ve highlighted her information.
I’ll conclude with RB Hubbell’s closing remarks in the newsletter issue I referred to above:
“We are in the fight of our lives, but we are in it together. That should give us all comfort.”
That fight demands that we act positively and don’t despair. And make sure you’re registered to vote!