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.”