Happy Monday. As the government this week faces the possibility of a shutdown, I’m feeling a familiar mix of frustration over the dysfunction that seems inherent to our political system these days, and a bit of relief that at least Congressional Democrats are continuing to hold the line and show some spine against Trump’s continuing outrageous impulses. And there are a even a few Republicans willing to publicly say “no thanks” to the border wall (dios mio...)! So we’re going to call that a win for the Resistance this week 🙂 We’ll see what happens next.
We had another GREAT group meeting yesterday, thanks to all who joined us. We once again welcomed State Senator Rich Madaleno, who had some excellent insights for us about the meaning of this year’s legislative work in Annapolis, and the challenges the state Democratic Party is facing in harnessing the energy of the Resistance statewide. We’ll be working on lining up additional guest presenters at meetings through the year. Here’s your action plan for this week:
- Please mark your calendars for our next group meeting on Sunday, May 21, 2-4PM. We’ll be back at the Rockville Memorial Library in Rockville Town Center (though in the FIRST floor meeting room this time) with more guest presenters and opportunities for action.
- Alison L was kind enough to take meeting minutes at yesterday’s meeting and will share those with the group as soon as they are available. You all are doing LOTS of important work, and there were a lot of inspiring stories and opportunities for action shared. Kudos all around for keeping the energy up!
- Thanks to many of you who have offered in the past to contribute to helping cover some of the modest costs associated with running our group. I have been very happy to cover these to date, but will be grateful for your generosity going forward to help share the minor costs we incur, which are primarily meeting space rental (ranging anywhere from $40-200/meeting depending on the space) and website fees. To collect donations, I have launched a GoFundMe campaign where you can make a small donation IF you are able to spare it (see a link on our website as well). Participation in our group will always be free and open to all, but for those who can comfortably contribute a few dollars, your support will be most appreciated! For everyone else, your contributions of time, energy, and commitment are just as valuable! If we raise $500, that should cover us through the summer at least. I will put up a Google spreadsheet to track donations and expenditures and share it with the group, so you will all be able to see and track how donations are invested. Because good governance and transparency are American values we support!! 🙂
Freedom of Information & Expression
- Call to Action: Two bills that could undermine science at the EPA passed the House earlier, and are likely to come up for a vote in the Senate soon after Congress returns from recess this week. Call our Senators and ask them to vote against the HONEST Act, which would hamper EPA’s access to scientific research and allow bureaucratic roadblocks to hinder the decision-making process. The EPA Scientific Advisory Board Reform Act would change the makeup of an independent board that provides scientific advice to EPA. If the law passes, participation on the board by research scientists would likely decrease, while industry would have increased representation.
- Important Read: Here’s a primer on how to set up a VPN (virtual private network) to protect your data and privacy in the wake of congress’s vote to allow internet companies to sell your browsing data.
- Call to Action: Make a plan to attend the People’s Climate March, this Saturday, April 29! Jamie Raskin (US House Rep, MD District 8) is hosting a breakfast and bus trip that morning, Sign up here.
Education (Thanks to Nancy Schoenfeld for providing this and many other awesome recent action items and updates!)
- Call to Action: The Network for Public Education (NPE) has created a toolkit called School Privatization Explained. You can download the full toolkit here. NPE indicates that it is especially important for advocates to “school” their representatives on the fact that education tax credits (likely to be promoted in the Federal budget) are no more than vouchers in disguise. They also recommend reading the following primer on the topic of disguised vouchers, written by Kevin Welner of the National Education Policy Center which can be found here.
POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
- Sadly I can’t say from experience, but I imagine running a marathon feels like a breeze for the first few miles. It’s a few more miles in that things start to feel more like a slog. Make sure you are taking care of yourself – physically with enough sleep and exercise, mentally with intellectual breaks to pursue things that aren’t politics, and emotionally to focus on the things and people you care about (apart from the future of American Democracy, that is…). We need you in this fight for the long haul! Here’s a good reminder of How to Combat Trump Fatigue Syndrome. We’re getting to a stage of the movement where it starts to sink in just how long and hard a slog this will be, and it’s more important than ever to keep yourself well.
- There’s a rich and fascinating history in the study of democratic development about the effectiveness of sustained, non-violent civil resistance. It’s among the most effective methods for large-scale change that we’ve seen throughout modern history. Here’s an article hypothesizing that it may take only as little as 3.5% of society’s population participating in this civil resistance to bring about a sea change and topple a dictator. By my quick math, in the US we would need around 11.2 million people to hit that number. Around 4 million marched in the Women’s March alone… so I’d say our outlook is favorable!
- We talked at our meeting yesterday about the importance of “relentless incrementalism” – of creating small victories wherever we can, as often as we can. To remind and inspire you of the many small victories we are racking up day by day, we have a new version of our hope cards – Hope Cards 2.0! Please find them attached, print out lots, keep them visible and hand them out liberally! The Resistance is working – because of YOU!
Hope everyone has a great week! See you next month!