How to Be a Part of the Solution

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

A joke’s been circulating over the past several weeks:

“Those January 6th Committee hearings are so one-sided! Nearly everyone who’s testifying against former President Trump is a Republican.”

The appalling nature of events the hearings are so capably revealing is not simply an indictment of Trump and his wacky followers. Think about how different things might be today if the members of “Team Normal”–the people who kept telling the former guy that he lost and it was time to concede–had willingly spoken publicly about everything they knew at the time.

Think about the Republican “leaders” such as Kevin McCarthy, who–we’ve just learned–was in touch with Trump numerous times before the attempted coup. McCarthy was publicly irate immediately after January 6th, but threw his lot in with Trump, solidly and shamefully, weeks later–and continues his obeisance to this day.

If the Republicans win the House of Representatives, that very Kevin McCarthy will be the new Speaker–unless he’s ousted by the far-right insurrectionists who are gaining power in the Republican caucus–and someone worse seizes the gavel.

I think it’s clear that these characters have betrayed their oaths and our country. If you agree– and if you’d like to see reproductive rights codified into federal law, voting rights expanded rather than hindered, gun safety legislation strengthened, climate change significantly addressed, medical costs brought under control, and the potential for reform of our run-away Supreme Court–we have work to do.

We must make sure the Democrats have stronger majorities in the House and Senate and greater control of state and local offices: governors, secretaries of state, legislators, and more.

Make a plan for voting.

If you live in a state that has passed restrictions, you need to be aware of any changes in the law that could prevent you from voting or cancel your vote. And you need to know who can help you if your vote has been hindered and/or some person or people have interfered with your performing this very patriotic act.

Even if you don’t live in such a state, check to make sure you’re registered, the dates of some primaries that haven’t yet occurred, and other stuff you may not even have thought about.

All that information, and more, is available via https://www.vote.org/. If you scroll down, you’ll see a state-by-state guide of rules and regs and contacts. (Other organizations below, such as the League of Women Voters, also provide such information.)

Consider getting more involved as a volunteer.

Here are some organizations that do voter outreach and/or education.

PostCardsToVoters. This is the organization my spouse and I work with. Current efforts include getting voters to start or renew their Vote By Mail ballots in various states and reminding more than 200,000 Kansas voters to defeat an August 2 constitutional amendment that would nullify a Kansas Bill of Rights protection for the right to an abortion, which the state Supreme Court validated in 2019.

There is some expense involved: you must pay for the postcards and stamps. And they’ll ask you to send them a handwritten postcard to get started so they can ensure that your printing is legible. Text JOIN to (484)275-2229 or email Join@TonyTheDemocrat.org.

Vote Forward. “Volunteers send heartfelt handwritten letters to unregistered and low-propensity voters encouraging them to participate in our democracy.” You choose the campaign(s) in various states that you want to support. Volunteers must have a printer and paper and provide the postage stamps, #10 envelopes, and a blue pen.

RocktheVote. This is an organization for young people–to help them register, learn about the issues, and vote. They mobilize volunteers, provide a nonpartisan high school curriculum about the history and importance of voting, and pre-register and register young voters.

WhenWeAllVote. This is Michelle Obama’s organization, dedicated to building a cadre of community volunteers: “Are you ready to organize your friends, family, and community around getting registered and ready to vote?” They offer texting teams to get voters registered and help them make a plan to vote, in-person voter registration, and “My School Votes” for registration and education.

League of Women Voters. The LWV does voter registration via local and state chapters. They also encourage people to share voter registration tools by promoting http://www.vote411.org. And if you enter your state in the “Nationwide Voting Rules Quick View,” you can learn the voting options in your state and how they compare with those in other states.

HeadCount. Volunteers register voters at concerts and festivals. Their site provides information for upcoming events and concerts where they need people to help “register voters and raise social consciousness.”

Fair Fight. Begun by Stacey Abrams in Georgia, this is a national organization. “Fair Fight is fighting anti-voter bills across the country and working to pass federal legislation to protect the freedom to vote – sign up to join our efforts!”

VoteRiders. This group helps voters get the specific voter IDs and assistance they may need in their states. The organization works with an array of partner and collaborating organizations: national, corporate, law firm, and many states and the District of Columbia.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Check the organizations for more information.

Donate if you can. These organizations need financial support to continue their efforts. Even a couple of dollars can help.

I’ll close with a bunch of cliches that remain valid nevertheless.

This is an “all hands on deck” moment for our nation.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

“Your vote equals your voice.”

Annie

28 thoughts on “How to Be a Part of the Solution

  1. The League of Women Voters (gender isn’t a requirement for membership) does conduct voter registration events. In some states I understand, the League and others are no longer allowed to collect and submit applications.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Good point, whungerford. Certain states now outlaw what they pejoratively call “ballot harvesting”—anyone other than the voter or designee from delivering the ballot. This restriction seriously damages Native American voters and others who have to travel long distances to reach the polling place. Here’s state-by-state info: https://ballotpedia.org/Ballot_harvesting_laws_by_state

      I was, back in the day, very active in the League of Women Voters, serving as the President of my local League.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s also the Benjamin Franklin quote. When asked what sort of government the Constitutional Convention delegates had created, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” As you said, Annie, we need to what what we can to keep our democratic republic intact.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The idea of “our democratic republic” is no longer universal. The insurgents sought to replace government of, by, and for the people with something far different, with violence. Paradoxically, while they claimed to be working for the common good, they threatened to kill those who opposed them. The insurgents haven’t given up; loss of confidence in elections is a serious blow to democracy. Heather Cox Richardson (July 15th letter) claims that enforcing the rule of law after an authoritarian crisis is central to restoration of democracy, but one would like to see laws strengthened as well, and that isn’t often happening.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The strengthening of such laws is part of the mandate of the Jan 6 Committee. The votes haven’t been there even for simply ensuring voting rights, which Republicans used to support without reservation. Now they’re determined to seize and hold power by minority rule. All the more reason we need to work like hell for substantial Democratic majorities—up and down ballot.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Specific candidates also accept this sort of help. One of the best things (to me) I do is phone bank to other states for candidates I’d like to see in office. It’s so good to visit briefly with people who want better government.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, ali. I’m planning a separate post citing the candidates who are most vulnerable. I felt they deserved a post of their own. Thanks very much. So glad to hear about your phone banking work—and the fact that it’s personally satisfying!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Applause to you and yours Annie for fighting the Good Fight.
    This may be one of the last chances to turn around the political disaster which has gripped the USA these past 5 years.
    You true patriots of The USA. Never give up.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Annie, many thanks. The rules have been changed in several states to make it harder to vote. Why? people should ask. The problem in the US is not enough people voting, yet the fixes are designed to restrict the voting of people that would vote against the rule changers. As one judge who declared the gerrymandering in North Carolina was unconstitutional, he noted Republicans discriminated with “surgical precision.” Another judge who ruled North Carolina’s Voter ID law was unconstitutional, he cited the comment made on national TV by a Republican leader in Buncombe county, “the law was changed to kick Democrats’ butts.”

    Now, Democrats have done their share of gerrymandering, but the Republicans have elevated voter suppression to an art form dating back to the 2010 midterms in a census year. So, Republican leaders do not want Democrats to vote. It reminds me of the Jim Crow era of voter suppression and threats.

    So, folks what are you going to do about it? Know the rules and vote. Texas is close to being a purple state, which is why the voter suppression is so rampant. Vote.

    The other mission is to peacefully protest and call, write and email legislators. But, please give like you want to get. A young staff member responded to me when I said Cheney, Kinzinger, et al are getting death threats but still are criticizing the former president, but mentioning Kavanaugh getting theats. I disarmed her by saying “No one should be getting death threats. Full stop. I added you and I have had a very civil conversation, but neither one has taken the other person’s head off. That is the way it should be.”

    Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Quite so, Keith. The Big Lie about a stolen election has been used to pass a series of state laws designed to make voting more difficult or impossible—specifically for people of color and young people—more broadly for Democrats. It is, indeed Jim Crow 2.0 writ large.

      That’s why It’s so important for people to make a plan ahead of time and know whom to contact if anyone interferes with their voting. And that’s why we need large majorities committed to vote. What should be easier will require greater thought.

      Your other suggestions are, of course, needed too. All forms of peaceful citizen action are greatly important.

      Like

  6. It is not enough nor as simple as “Vote 4 Democrats”. Sinema and Manchin call themselves Democrats.
    The Christian view of people as sheep is probably an apt metaphor. I believe Sinema just wants to shear them and move on. Manchin seems to think slaughter works the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, Richard: people must know the candidates’ positions on the issues—including their willingness to at least circumvent the filibuster, an outmoded, racist, anti-democratic rule. But I’ve seen plenty of evidence that the positions I favor mean it’s essential to vote for Democrats.

      Like

    1. Thank you, Carol. Glad you’re sharing.
      I look forward to learning more about your trip. I tried unsuccessfully to like your first post from France. Can’t figure out why that happened—or didn’t happen…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. One of the incredible things about your work is how cleanly and clearly you lay out the “do something!” options. This is an amazing resource. Am passing it on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, my friend. Very glad to share it. I should note that PostCardsToVoters works to support individual candidates too—though not usually the ones who get a lot of media coverage. We wrote postcards for a clerk in CA who was responsible for elections a while back.

      Like

  8. First effort up! Try to get a ride onto the freeway for a point of view later. Dreams of color and infamy and running before I learn to walk. Wish I knew how to attach a picture:(

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I posted my first “freeway blog” and I was trying to get pictures but technology has gotten in the way.
        “You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”

        Like

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