It has been another week of ups and downs in the political world. In good news, if you were starting to feel like the global march toward nationalism and insularity was unstoppable, France’s Emmanuel Macron showed us it’s not! In bad news, the even-worse-than-before AHCA passed the House, despite a huge national outcry against it. Its fate in the Senate remains to be seen, and we’ll be keenly watching how the political fallout of the vote impacts House Republicans who voted for it. I suspect it may not be pretty. While I wish they hadn’t passed such a monumentally cruel and irresponsible piece of legislation, those votes could end up as powerful leverage for progressive challengers in 2018.
Here’s your weekly action plan for this week. Happy Resisting!
- Urgent Action: There are two opportunities for action on Capitol Hill Monday: an AHCA protest at 5:30pm and the Sally Yates hearing on Russia in the afternoon. Hope you can make them! You can also watch the Yates hearing online at the link.
- At our next meeting on May 21 (featuring guest speaker Sen. Roger Manno!), we will use part of the meeting as a workshop to brainstorm legislative priorities for the Maryland 2018 legislative session. Come ready to discuss the laws you want to see our state government enact to protect Maryland from the Trump agenda.
- HUGE THANKS to so many of you who have donated so generously to our Rockville Resistance fund! We have a lot of exciting actions and events starting to take shape over the summer and your contributions will help make them successful.
Ethics and Conflicts of Interest
Call to Action: Jared Kushner’s relatives are peddling influence to further questionable business in China – essentially offering to buy people the right to emigrate to the US. It’s called the EB5 Immigrant Investor Program. And that is what Kushner’s relatives are doing. So, help Advocate for integrity in leadership:
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from _ZIP_. I’m concerned about Jared Kushner’s integrity. He didn’t disclose meetings with a foreign bank or ambassador to gain security clearance and is still benefitting financially from his businesses. I would like _NAME_ to join Sen. Warren, Sen. Carper, and Rep. Cummings in asking ethics officials for information about Kushner’s dishonesty and failure to divest.
Important Read: Common Cause’s “State of the Swamp” – a comprehensive breakdown of the Trump Administration’s many ethical flaws and failings.
- Call to Action: This was a rough week for health care in America for sure. But we also have a window of opportunity to 1) Show House reps across the country who voted for the AHCA that we are not happy with their votes (they are already starting to feel the backlash), and 2) Get on the Senate to make sure they stop this bill. Here’s some guidance from 5 Calls. Definitely contact Van Hollen and Cardin to reinforce that we expect them to stop this bill, but also turn your attention to advocacy in other states where you may have ties to constituents of Republican Senators.
- Call to Action: Support US participation in the Paris Agreement. What is the Paris agreement? The agreement, signed by 196 countries, asks each country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to regularly increase their ambitions. Signed by Obama in 2015, the US pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Here’s ten things you should know, according to the Nature Conservancy.
- Take the Nature Conservancy’s pledge in support of the Agreement
- Email EPA Chief Scott Pruitt who opposes the Paris Agreement, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry who wants to revise the agreement, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who wants to stay in the agreement. Tell them that climate change is real, and that we cannot afford to wait any longer to cut harmful carbon emissions and combat climate change.
Call to Action: According to the Washington Post, Maryland Republicans are making a concerted push in 2018 to break the Democratic Majority in the state senate and re-elect Gov. Hogan. And they are beating MD Democrats in both fundraising and social media engagement! Fight back by donating $5 or whatever you can (one suggested amount is $20.18!) to the Maryland Democratic Party, and like their Facebook page!
Ossoff Campaign update: The Ossoff campaign for GA-6 is recruiting volunteers from Montgomery County who are willing to help phone bank, drive volunteers to Georgia on an upcoming weekend. Here’s a hopeful take on his election prospects from Post columnist Jennifer Rubin. Every little bit helps! Please contact Nancy Schoenfeld if you are interested in signing up.
POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
I know one of the things that makes it challenging for me to stay positive at times is the persistence of questions of why and how so many of my fellow Americans could support a president and policies that are so obviously destructive, regressive, and dangerous. It’s hard to find ways to feel empathy, and instead naturally incline toward building higher walls. So I have been working to try to understand the answers to those why and how questions, and for me this understanding is enormously empowering. We can’t effectively change how our politics works or persuade people to our side until we have those answers.
- Here‘s an engaging explanation of the psychological “backfire effect” from graphic artist the Oatmeal. The backfire effect is the reason why, when people are presented with factual information that challenges their core beliefs, they dismiss the information and instead cling tighter to what they believe. It makes productive political discourse with someone you disagree with…difficult! But understanding how it works is the first step toward breaking down those walls.
- Reading our book club book, Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, is also proving very illuminating on this front. Our book club will hopefully be having our first meeting soon, it’s not too late to join! But even if you don’t, I highly recommend the book – it explains SO much.
And another challenge in staying positive is feeling really helpless a lot of the time. No matter how many phone calls I make or dollars I donate, it’s still hard to escape the feeling that we are moving in the wrong direction. BUT WE’RE NOT HELPLESS!! Your actions are making a difference, and the options for how to contribute and resist are too endless to list. But attached anyway is a very handy list of nearly 200 non-violent resistance methods, based on research by the civil resistance guru Gene Sharp. Look it over for some inspiration on how to plan your next step!
Hope everyone has a great week!