463 Comments

This is very serious stuff and demands our attention. I grew up about 70 miles west of DC in Hagerstown. It was a nice safe place to grow up for kids. We could ride our bikes anywhere and stay out all day during the summer and just play. My high school friends who stayed there are mostly Trump supporters, (except for the artists & musicians) those of us who got out are mostly not. We had the same up-bringing...and many of my friends who stayed or didn't, went to college. A lot of this feels like it's rural vs urban. Those of us who have lived a more diverse life and interact with a broader spectrum of people have a different point of view. I'm really trying to figure out what action I can take, what use of my time, talents and resources can help make a difference. Heather does an excellent job of compiling and interpreting the happenings and trends. We need to harness this information and use it to keep this democracy more healthy than not....and it's an on-going job, there will likely never be an end game to this.

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There is also working for Sister District an organization that focuses in state races because voting laws and gerrimandering are modified by the state legislatures. Blue States are paired up (sisters) with purple States to help win the races. In Chicago we are working hard and succeeding helping Virginia’s trifecta and Michigan. Wisconsin with which we are also “sisters” is more of an uphill. You can phone bank, write postcards, donate, canvass

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That is a great idea!

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Thanks for that info Elena M.

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What to do. Go to a Get Out the Vote website and do actual work (there’s an intro to phone banking for Georgia elections tomorrow night!) Do the work. It’s what HCR says all the time in her Facebook lectures on Tuesdays. Here’s that GOTV webinar. Take the first step. Please. GA is super-important in the mid-terms and it’s very soon.

https://actionnetwork.org/events/road-to-the-midterms-october-28-2021?

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There is no better effective way to get people to the polls than knocking on doors. Believe it or not, it's really fun too. You only knock on doors belonging to Democrats and those that lean Democrat. You'll rarely ever knock on a Republican's door. When you do, just be on your way. Obviously you have to get people registered too, but that doesn't always guarantee they'll vote. Voter apathy is strong. That's somewhat by design too I think.

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About 40 years ago was my intro to local campaigns. We targeted areas based on the voter info we had. We knocked and talked and did door hangers and put printed pieces on cars. It worked. Our first time candidate beat an incumbent. People have to recognize the name of the candidate and feel they care about them, or understand the issue. Getting a small group together to go out in a precinct and working it is a powerful thing to do. Actually becoming known in your precinct as an honest, knowledgeable person has a lot of value.

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Thank you for your contribution to a just society. Promoting civic engagement should be the most honorable undertaking one can make. We need a revival!

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I have done that. Most people are not home, so yes you leave materials on their front door know, if they even have a door knob, and if they even use the front door--many people don't so they don't know the materials are there.

But I agree with Cathy Mc from MO. The problem is to actually GET OUT THE VOTE! A very sizeable percentage of Democrats (and all people) did NOT vote, do not vote. But connecting with them through texts (yes I hate to do that) and calls and also door to door to get out and vote is what will help us win. It's the only thing. (and no, you also cannot convince people who believe the opposite). And for the record I WILL do text banking this time. It seems to help a lot.

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I’ve canvassed my same neighborhood precinct for a number of election cycles. I take blue painter tape (leaves no residue) to tape door hangers in obvious place in case there’s no door knob. I leave a note saying I’m a neighbor, last date to register, when they’ll be receiving their ballot or other general election information. We highlight Dem endorsed down ballot candidates on the door hanger- judges, school board, etc to help with name recognition. I think it’s an effective way to inform voters about local elections and to get out the vote.

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And by "this time" I mean NOW--there are mid-terms going on across the country NOW! Please find your local get out the vote organization and do something, folks. Talk is cheap. Sadly.

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I remember knocking on 1400 doors during my campaign for local NJ municipal office in 1985. I can’t recall a major problem with any resident. A few curtly said they supported the other candidate, but in an acceptable manner. Today, if I went door-to-door, I fear that I would have to be in armor with a mace sidearm. That’s NOT what democracy should be about.

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Tracy, can you help me understand why only talking to people who already agree with us is the answer? I have a sense that listening to the other side, really listening to find common ground, would be more healing.

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Right now, I my area, knocking on Democrats’ doors is to encourage them to get out to vote. They may agree but are apathetic about voting and assume it’s not important. Knocking on Republican doors can be very dicey in rural trump areas so we are purposely steered away from possibly putting ourselves in harms way. And yes, it’s important to also have dialogue with the other side…but not necessarily on their doorstep. 😉

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Good points

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I agree that getting out the Democratic vote is important and can make a difference: Obama :"You cant be tired"

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Down here in the south, you'll never vote on a welcome door belonging to a Republican. Not anymore anyway. Almost everyone I know who's canvassed, has a story about knocking on a door belonging to a woman or young person who voted Democrat in previous elections, to be met by a angry husband or dad wanting to know what the hell does a Democrat want with my wife or kid.

It's best to concentrate your efforts on doors that you know belong to a potential vote for Democrats. Canvassing isn't the best use of time to have long drawn out convos either. You're supposed to keep moving so you can knock on as many doors as possible.

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If you do knock on doors, be careful and stay aware of your surroundings. Never go alone. Always have a mobile phone. And, as sad as this sounds, it also helps to always assume people have access to a firearm. If your gut tells you to be aware, pay attention.

Where I live I am more inclined to leave the material at the front door or on the door knob rather than knock. I don’t look at that as cowardly I look at it as prudently cautious. More of the Q flags and the black American flags (which mean “take no quarter” which is an old military thing of “take no prisoners” ie, kill the enemy) have gone up lately here and I can’t continue to protest and resist if I met my end standing on someone’s front step.

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Yes, that's been my experience, too, here in Indiana.

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That is the problem isn’t it? There are not many of us who have the bravery and resolve of our heroes like Martin Luther King. We do what we can but we cannot do nothing.

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Sure, it makes sense to try to talk to those who disagree with you. And talking is fine, but you are not trying to get them to vote. If they vote, it will be for the opposing side. Yes, you want everyone to vote. But in this case you would be trying to stir people who would vote Democratic to do so, not be apathetic, and put their shoulders to the wheel. Taking with those we disagree with is tough work. It's good, but it's not going to change anyone's vote.

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Yes. i have knocked on doors many times and plan to do this weekend in Virginia though I live in Maryland!

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thanks for the action item

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You’re welcome, Mike.

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Thank you. LWV has training for those members who just registered.

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Thank you!

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Thanks!

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I grew up in Pottsville, Pennsylvania and it is the same there. Some friends have moved back in retirement - the cost of living is very inexpensive - and are making "good trouble" there.

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That is a wonderful comment. The “likes” show clearly how deeply it resonated with many, many subscribers. For what it’s worth, it struck a deep chord with me. My small town in Ontario was safe and peaceful. I left it as a young man by chance mostly and have lived my life in bigger cities. The rest of the children stayed, and their political outlook remains unchanged (thankfully unchanged by Trump as well). They are lovely and we get along fine, but I certainly wouldn’t describe them as progressive.

However, I feel compelled to make a point or two. Heather’s posts the last two days have been fascinating as usual, but gloom-inducing. I read the comments yesterday and was quite surprised and chagrined by how deeply down the rabbit hole of a “vast right wing conspiracy” many of them went. I was reminded of Hanlon’s razor - “Never attribute to malice what can adequately explained by stupidity”.

Trump was incredibly lucky to win the election. He stumbled on to the finding that the more he displayed his inner boor, the more people liked him. The more respected people and institutions he raved against, the more voters were attracted to him. This was his dopamine and it fueled ever more excesses.

Winston Churchill, it is thought, once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter”. The idea applies to the outcome of the 2016 election. Malice met stupidity time and time again and Trump (barely) won the election. There was no grand conspiracy. The Russians who exploited Facebook in an attempt to strangle democracy were stunned at their success on election night. So was TFG himself.

There were plans, certainly. The Russians, Manaforts, the dark money donors, those who angled to flip the Supreme Court - they all had plans. But there was no overarching conspiracy. There was a wave pushing aside a wooden, technocratic opponent - the worst person, as it turned out, to stop the water by putting her fingers in the dyke.

If you could have seen into the hearts of the worst of the Trump enablers *in 2016*, would you have found them to be plotting to overthrow American democracy?

Fast forward to January 6 2021. Was this a grand conspiracy? I think not. It was another wave brought on by Trump’s repeated insistence that he had been cheated out of an election win. Some of America’s most stupid people gravitated together (think Rudy Giuliani, Lin Wood, the Pillow Guy, Sidney Powell, John Eastman) to try to fulfill Trump’s will. Hundreds of malicious, stupid Americans with grandiose fantasies that they were the new patriots of 1776, flooded the Capitol, aided and abetted by a number of thuggish House Reps and Senators.

If I am ever to plan a grand conspiracy, please steer me away from the Mo Brooks, the Lauren Boebarts, the Paul Gosars. These are surely not the brightest bulbs that America can throw into a cause.

I’ve watched the events of the last five days, and for the first time in months, I feel that America may yet be saved. American democracy, I hope, may live to endure its next big crisis sometime in the more distant future. Once again just enough of the right people will use their intelligence and fealty to the ideals of America to thwart the worst that America can offer.

I feel that the House Committee in its firmness, in its fearlessness, in its intelligence, has impressed itself on the thugs and is in the process of imposing its will.

The “conspiracy” is clearly cracking. As always, in such affairs, unity of the bad guys is flimsy and fleeting. These punks are turning on each other. The rats are fleeing a sinking ship. John Eastman resembles nothing more than a pretzel as he twists this way and that trying to wish away his too clever by half plan to “legally” secure Trump’s election.

There are going to be more and more defectors who spill the beans. It seems reasonable to assume that several Republican legislators will be turfed, and perhaps charged with serious crimes. Others are going to try to swing deals to save their own skin.

We will be stunned by the depth of the malice as torrents of mini-histories come to light.

The Trump movement will surely suffer a grievous, if not fatal, wound if the canaries sing their hearts out.

Surely this is reason for hope.

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Eric, you’re a regular here. You read Heather’s letters regularly, right? The GOP plan didn’t start with Hillary and the Orange Idiot — it was implemented 40-50 years ago. Remember the Southern Strategy? Goldwater, Nixon? For example.

The GOP plan — it’s real, not a conspiracy — has been unfolding apace for decades. Reagan was a HUUUUUGE contributor (echoes of the Orange Menace, yah?). Actually, it was brewing at our nation’s founding.

Now you remember? Heather has been connecting the events and history and dots for us beautifully. Not to gloom-induce. To inform. Educate. Delight. Awaken. Empower. Motivate. You know, right?

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She's doing a damn good job of this. I'm so glad I subscribed to this after a year of just reading the free feeds. This is quite a forum.

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I agree with the substance of what you write.

But the GOP plan, born of the power of the counter cultural moment in the Sixties was never, until most recently, to annihilate American democracy. It was to reassert American conservatism, to squelch the rage of the (mostly) young against Vietnam and black civil rights, and to gain courts so as to overthrow Roe v Wade. Finally, it was deeply designed to reassert the power of capitalism and to deregulate it, unleashing even more of its strength.

In its wildest fever dreams, this group could not have imagined a Donald Trump, gaining power and using it to chainsaw America These planners did not envision the end of American democracy, nor wish it.

Your “Now you remember”? snipe is as gratuitous as your misreading of my comment is breathtaking in its assumption.

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Chainsaw America is very appropriate. Trump ran in a primary field of 20 people and he targeted everyone of them as they became the next threat. At first I thought it was a total joke...but his talent is finding any kind of perceived weakness and pouncing on it. His base loves his rudeness and crassness. He wasn't even welcome at CPAC when he first ran. He was only getting 15-20% of the votes, but in a big field it was all he needed....that was no conspiracy...he found an audience and knew how to hold them and whip them up. Hopefully J6 is the end of his trail...his Little Big Horn.

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(I did not intend my comment as shaming a fellow commenter. I’m afraid it reads like that — for which I apologize.)

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Hadn’t read this when I replied. Thank you.

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SLWeston, There is more to say about what was missing from Eric's comment. You opened the door to a fuller assessment of our war against the anti-democratic forces we need to overcome. Thank you.

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Gloom can be a motivator.

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Kathy, So much about the autocratic hands stacking the deck in America for decades, slavery's role, the opposing philosophies of governing between the north and south and much else was missing from Eric's summary, so that I too, along with SLWeston, found the comment a graceful but rather some what hollow assessment of our challenge and the history behind.

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Fern, if ever I write something that you agree with in substance, I shall feel that the stars have become mysteriously misaligned. Something will indeed be wrong in my world. :)

I appreciate and respect you taking me to task. As noted above, this morning you hit upon a part of the argument that I left out.

In my defense, I would submit that overall my post was something perhaps a shade above “hollow”. :)

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I would say that your humor is delightful and enchanting, particularly, enjoyable given these exchanges. As for my sense of your comment, I hesitate to go behind what I've already written. I think that we are good sparing partners because we mean what we say and frequently in agreement. I will consider your request and wonder if the 'stars have become mysteriously misaligned' and "Something ... indeed be wrong in' your world : )' when we have agreed. I didn't notice anything amiss.

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Eric, With writerly elegance, you smoothly summarized your current assessment of the anti-democratic forces in America as the result of Trump's luck in winning the presidential election and that he 'stumbled' on the match he made with more than 75 million Americans. Quoting 'Hanlon’s razor, you wrote - “Never attribute to malice what can adequately explained by stupidity'. I think, Eric, that you play Trump's band of followers too lightly. America had very serious problems before Trump, Facebook and Putin stirred 'them' up, close to the boiling point.

DT tapped into the rage that has been bubbling close to the surface in this country for decades. He spoke to it. DT's hate matched theirs. How could Hillary have counteracted that? She was a representative of the 'elite. Few suspected how much she was despised, because 'we' didn't know those folks, and they knew we didn't know or care about them.

In assessing where America is today the role of slavery cannot be ignored - the opposing views of the role of government between the North and South is part of our heritage and part of the country's division, perhaps, even capable of destroying the America's experiment with democracy. We haven't been taken down rabbit holes if we followed the Letters from an American. HCR has clearly and frequently delineated between two opposing philosophies of governing -- whether it be by the people or a small group of powerful white men. Understanding America's division, includes the moves on the right from Goldwater, the Birch Society, the Koch Bros., The Tea Party, the Reagan administration, 'the Southern Strategy', Christian Fundamentalism or Fundamentalist Evangelicalism to the Heritage Foundation, The Federalist Society....I won't go through all the planners, the successful attacks on labor and the unions...the autocratic hands which have robbed from the people to create an extraordinarily imbalance between the ultra rich and the rest of us. No planning you think? Trump wasn't the man 'they' would have selected, a Jeb Bush, perhaps, because Trump is impossible to handle, but Trump alone is the man who connects with the angry mass.

'Was this a grand conspiracy?', you wrote. 'I think not. It was another wave brought on by Trump’s repeated insistence that he had been cheated out of an election win.' I agree, but there is much more behind TD. How will the Money Men, Mitch McConnell the Republican Party and the rest of the planners use Trump and his enormous base, which is all his, to work their way into full control of the country, the endpoint of the autocracy, which they have been creating?

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I totally agree with the first part of your comment. I tried to short- circuit a point b/c I really wanted to focus on the increasing hope I feel as chaos begins to eat its way into the Trumpist movement.

In doing so, I failed to mention how ready Trump’s audience. Nietzsche once said, “If God didn’t exist, then man would have to invent him”. I feel the same way about Trump. America was a country of with grievance, anger, and, I am firmly convinced, enormous personal loneliness long before the walk down the escalator. A sense of personal grievance (very often with a great deal of justice behind it), filled the hearts of millions of Americans for years before Trump came along. He turned the key and it gushed out.

I apologize for omitting something so essential as that.

As for your last paragraph, my hope would be that Trump’s base will de-animate if and when two events happen:

1.

The forces of well earned sanctions from the law come thundering down on the main actors. Trump most certainly feel the sting of criminal charges.

2.

Biden’s social, infrastructure, and voting legislation *must* pass. America’s future rests upon it.

Both must occur.

Without the former, there will remain dangerous forces at work fighting to hold supporters who have benefited from the legislation.

Without the latter, the anger in the country will not be even partly assuaged, and they will search for another leader.

One last point. I see nothing in the future that will finally erase the division between North and South. The Mason-Dixon Line is metaphorically a robust part of American DNA.

If the present calamity is avoided, there will surely be another one.

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It is good when differing perspectives recognize one another and note the points at which they meet. We seem to have come together halfway in our views of America's crucible, please share with me what you think we disagree about.

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I think you have introduced an important concept here, that bad results are not necessarily planned by a (single) bad actor. The Trump presidency was, as you mentioned, a success as stunning to him and his backers as it was to the rest of us. Sure, there were (and are) conspiracies, probably lots of them, including some by elected officials. Some were long-laid and deeply thought through, like the things Bannon, Stone, and the Federalist Society people do, while others were almost whimsically fantastical, like the "Proud Boys" foolishness.

But don't underestimate the effect of a confluence of social sentiment and a cluster of half-baked conspiracies. While Trump was "the best Russian agent Putin never had," he nonetheless effectively advanced Putin's agenda by a decade, at least. And to those they've bamboozled into following them, revelations of wrongdoing by the leaders of the Right are met with pride and praise, not condemnation.

I occasionally speculate on what may be the real backstory behind the 9/11 attack. Think back to the spring of 2001. Georgie Bush was spending more time mowing brush at his Texas ranch than he was spending at the White House. His approval rating was tanking, and all the family and friends were worried that he may not be up to the task.

So, perhaps some of the older members of the Houses of Saud and bin Ladin, long time friends of the Bushes, got together and maybe one of them said something like, "Y'know, we spent a lot of money helping that fool George get elected, and now he looks completely out of his depth. Can anyone think of an "emergency" we could gin up to make him look good?"

That's where someone else in group volunteers, "What about that idiot nephew of yours, you know, that Osama guy, the one with the gun fetish who likes to sleep in caves? What if we dropped a couple of million dollars on his head and see what he comes up with? It wouldn't cost much and it may stir the pot a bit."

Well, the rest is history and it worked better than anyone involved could have predicted. No conspiracy, no grand plan, just the cumulative effect of small, hostile decisions by small, nasty people, some of whom are very, very, rich.

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Thank you, Eric, Northern Neighbor, for continuing to march with us, reminding there is reason for hope💙!

Sandwiched between a taste of your personal history and a slice of light on the conspiratorial cracks was this delicious bit:

“ If I am ever to plan a grand conspiracy, please steer me away from the Mo Brooks, the Lauren Boebarts, the Paul Gosars. These are surely not the brightest bulbs that America can throw into a cause.”

Again, many thanks!

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Thank you Eric for a brilliant explanation… it is just that I fear as a nation we are duped.

If immigrants have a voice and frankly African Americans as first enslaved immigrants are heard perhaps we will understand the precious opportunity we have to maintain and advance a system that is equitable.

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Hurricane the true irony is we are all the children of immigrants or enslaved people, except for the first people here, who the rest of our ancestors and political leaders moved off of their land and killed with impunity when they wanted specific land or resources . Our ancestors made their journey here for the exact same reasons immigrants come today. To find/build a better life for themselves and their children. The Statue of Liberty became a very sad joke under Trump. We really do need to get right with our past in an honest way.

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“America’s most stupid” is exactly what many of them are. But cults attract all kinds. As far as conspiracy goes, been watching for much of my long life how republicans have played the long game with cheating, lies and propaganda. Rupert/Reagan is my vote for the conspiracy to attain a permanent republican majority. They are well on their way, having picked up smart and not so smart ideologues at every step. There is plenty of menacing behavior that is pretty much ignored but will have to be addressed as the emboldened haters become more so. Pray that some consequences come before that time.

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Great points. I’ve never given much thought to the Reagan-Murdoch nexus. That is something to ponder.

I am in complete agreement with your assessment of this as a long term plan for a Republican majority. I don’t doubt that a bit - nor do I doubt that there were increasing numbers of agents of that plan. Limbaugh, Carlson and Hannity were among its voices, giving currency to what others preferred to remain quiet about. America is suffering much agita lately for the long laid plans of the Heritage Foundation. There has been trillions of dollars of dark money to keep things moving along. And then along came the useful idiot to bring much of what had long been desired to fruition.

But my point yesterday was that this was not some long planned conspiracy. This was long term planning. It was planning begun in 1971 by the Lewis Powell memo, which itself arose from the ferment of the Sixties.

The vast majority of it was completely in public view. There were no doubts hundreds of closed door meetings, but no historian could tie America’s malaise to a dark conspiracy involving hundreds of people and tens of millions of votes.

Nor do I suspect that the early planners would have envisioned, much less sanctioned the absurd, feckless but nonetheless highly dangerous insurrection of January 6. Without taking anything away from the terror of that day, the malice of the participants, the evil that went on behind the scenes, this was surely one of the most public displays of mass stupidity America has witnessed. The participants *filmed* themselves, live-streaming not only their malignity, but their bewilderment as to what to actually do once they secured the Capitol. There were so many slack-jaws who had long since emptied their souls of anything not Trump-related. They fully thought that they were bringing America back to grace and that Trump would ennoble them when they “won”.

Those shouting to kill Pelosi and hang Mike Pence deserve much blame and legal consequences. They were screaming the slogan of the moment, not one born of conspiratorial planning. No doubt the mob, galvanized as it was, would have executed those two. The horror of the day would have become exponentially greater.

There was certainly much planning by the men-children of the militia groups. But it was planning born of a 6 week old myth that the election was stolen. There was nothing long term, dark and conspiratorial about it. Some was secret. But much was openly boasted about. Would you trust these guys to run a Revolution for you?

I often wonder what would have happened if the mob, with Trump at its head, throwing a box matches into a barrel of oil to see what would come of it, had actually “won” the day. There would have been murder, that much is certain. It would have been an even blacker day in American history.

But in some bizarre way, the result for America might have been better. I cannot believe that corporate America would have sanctioned this. I cannot believe that the Democratic Party would not have fought back fiercely. I am certain the army would have come in and the “victors” would have been vanquished in short order. I do not think the army would have refused to fight. I have considered the idea of a second Civil War, but think the Trumpists were too disparate, too leaderless, too unprepared to have carried this on effectively.

In my fever dream, Biden would still have become President. Trump and dozens of his sycophants would have been jailed summarily.

America would have staggered to its feet and at some point, life would have normalized again.

This “slow coup” is driving me crazy. It is infinitely more dangerous and distracting.

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Good observations. Historically these things seldom turn out well for the "tyrants" and bullies. I predicted Trump would be a one term President and my prediction now is he will leave the country at some point because he won't be comfortable here any longer.

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Agree. And to country where he cannot be extradited…. North Korea perhaps:)

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Thank you Eric. I needed this 🙏🏾🙏🏽🙏🙏🏻

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Eric, You have written beautifully what has been spinning in my head, and yet i fear that the masses of people do not understand and may chose to remain ignorant with the social media’s drug like depressant.Remember, Hitler killed the intellectuals before he took over.

I want to see the hope and cannot find it ,,,

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I grew up in New Martinsville, WV with a childhood much like yours. I left after high school & would suggest that the friends I left are Trump supporters because they watch Fox News & do not know how to think critically. The art of thinking critically should be taught in rural areas, much like it is taught in Finland. Finland borders Russia & its citizens must learn how to filter disinformation. Moreover, I have a Masters in Theology & would argue that conservative evangelicals & conservative Catholics have tried to hijack Christianity for political power & money. Don't trust me, read "The Power Worshippers". Christian theology which glorifies our God of unconditional love, is taught by Bishop Barber of the poorpeoplescampaign.org. Members of the Trump cult remind me of the German "Christians" who supported Hitler. Study what theologian Karl Barth wrote about that heresy. Finally, I must comment on the anti-intellectualism of the Trump cult. Much like Donald Trump, members of this cult are intellectually lazy, & do n to like to read. Like Charlie Munger writes, I never met a wise person who did not read a lot. Trumpers need to learn the joy of lifelong learning.

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Well, actually, I don't mean to defend trumpers and what they believe, but, as a folklorist who spent a lot of time interviewing traditional cultures in the Southeast (and realizing that probably all the people I interviewed, if alive today, would probably be trumpers), most of them would probably be far too busy busting their hineys to make a living--driving trucks, working in dirty jobs (and that applies to almost all my current "workers" who come to my house--the HVAC guy, many plumbers, the roofers, the construction people) to spend time thinking and reading. There's not a lot of time left in the day when most of your day is taken up with heavy, dirty physical labor insteead of with thinking about Finland, my own state's wonderful Rev Barber, and getting graduate degrees. No offense meant. Just stating fact. Most trumpers (not the extreme picketing ones) if you don't ever talk about politics with them, are often extremely giving and helping people. We need to remember that. It's not easy to. But it is true. Peace out.

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The White working class, largely in rural areas, are listening to pastors who are "mere peddlers of God's word" who do not "speak in Christ", like Paul warned his Church in Corinth. This is also what Karl Barth taught about the "Christians" in Germany who supported Hitler. The difference is Germany learned from its history. America has not. Don't trust me, read "On Tyranny" by historian Timothy Snyder.

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The White working class have little time to "Get wisdom" like the Bible directs (Proverbs 4:5). But why do they vote against their own "best interests"? Much like the White working class in the South who fought for the benefit of rich White slave owners in the Civil War. The White working class should read "We Cry Justice" by Liz Theoharis, on reading the Bible with the poorpeoplescampaign.org.

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You answered your own question. They are "the working class." Maybe they will read Rev Barber's take on the Bible, but I really don't count on it since it's just easy to do what everyone else you know is doing. In this case plopping down in front of fox (instead of MSNBC) in the evenings. People gonna do what they do. The answer here is to work to Get Out the Vote. Here's a little article that really explains what's happening with voting apathy now. Time to REALLY do something. Will you sign up to phone bank or text bank? Please

"Compounding concerns are findings from a series of focus groups conducted this year by the Democratic firm Lake Research Partners, targeting Democrats considered less likely to turn out at the polls. It found a couple of reasons that some Virginia women are uninspired by the political scene. Among Black women, there is frustration that Democrats won’t deliver for them, and so it doesn’t much matter which party’s candidates win, explains Joshua Ulibarri, who heads the firm’s Virginia research. Among younger women, especially Latinas and white women, there is a sense that the Trump danger has passed and that they can let their guard down. “They think we have slayed the giant,” says Mr. Ulibarri. “They think Republicans are more sane and centered now.”"

Read more here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/27/opinion/trump-biden-virginia-youngkin.html?

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Read "On Tyranny" by historian Timothy Snyder. Our democratic republic is at risk, so Patriots must get active, like you said.

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The giant of evil will always rear its ugly head again, sort of like that vicious creature in Alien. We hoped TFG losing the 2020 election would calm things down, but the opposite happened. People fighting for the common good will always have to be vigilant and think far ahead. The Dems need to get things passed and stop trying to get the R’s to join them. The current crop of R’s are never going to support a Dem proposal no matter how much such a proposal might help the country. They are too tribal.

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I agree this is the current reality in VA, and other states. Why Obama and Biden have made it a priority to be there. Isn't the idea that the passing of the Hard and Soft Infrastructure Bills will help with that apathy?

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Many European countries passed social safety nets after WWII to (in part) deter fascism. This what Democrats can accomplish with passage of the 2 infrastructure bills.

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Very good point, especially young families with children. They don't have time to pay close attention to a lot of this. Going out for dinner and having a beer on Friday can be a big deal. I learned a lot of what I know about politics from doing video work for these politicians...both sides...and I got to a point I stopped doing work for campaigns because the people on the inside "troubled" me. They would do anything. I personally worked with 3 candidates who melted down...came apart emotionally and 2 of them won. We did some serious tap dancing...and looking back I regret some of it. The wrong person won. I started doing work for issues and non profits.

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Great points to make Jan. Thanks. Most of my family are trump supporters and republicans who are also very hard working blue collar workers with not much time to read and research. They are willing to talk, debate, and argue a bit when they can. In doing so, they have also listened and conceded a bit here & there - but only because I was willing to listen too. My family also has a few of the extremists who have no problem using hate, fear & insults to “talk” and would happily use guns to change things. They wouldn’t read a book if you paid them to. These individuals I won’t waste a second listening to.

You are correct - we can’t paint all those who support trump/republicans as lost causes.

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Well I’m not even talking about politics or lost causes here, Kasumii. I’m just saying, if you don’t bring up politics at all (like before trump, before Covid, before 2016) you’ll find these folks are very often the first to instinctively help —coming upon car wreck, or jumping into the lake to rescue someone, baking cookies etc for a sale to raise money for something or someone or, in general helping neighbors and strangers alike. Sadly more so than the ivory tower folks (and I’ve got a graduate degree) and many left of center folks who are happy to opine but not rush to give physical aid. Just saying. No one group needs to be completely vilified, except the insurrectionists. Peace out.

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many blue collar workers used to vote Democratic and were part of labor unions. Timothy Snyder also says to support unions.

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I know exactly of whom you speak. And I'd much rather have a flat tire on a country road near a small town than in the middle of Atlanta. I remember once hitting a deer at 2a on a lonely road miles from town, crushing my front end and flinging the deer 40 feet up the road. Within one minute, 5 cars had stopped to see if I needed help (although they all checked out the deer, first). I wonder if I'd get such assistance even in the peaceful white suburb where I live.

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"checking out the deer first"? Absolutely!! And I agree - sad that that kind of , well, almost empathy, doesnt project into other areas in some cases.

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My “best friend” wouldn’t help me at an outdoor music festival weekend when I had a flat tire in the wooded parking area. He walked right on and said, “Nope.” I asked a guy I had just met while we were working for a mistake friend who had a good booth. He was more “good old boy” and he was more than happy to change my tire!” (This was 31 years ago.)

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I didnt mention that my dad had a plumbing & heating business - he was the only employee until his later years, when he actually had a helper! White working class? Yes. Speaking of busting your hiney? Yes he did - his whole entire life. BUT he also loved to read & a lot of his very little "down" time was doing just that. His friends included the local English teacher, the high school principal etc. He was well respected for what he did. He & my mom were Republicans - voted the ticket!! But Trump would have been far out of his wheelhouse, I'm sure. My son has quite a few friends who believe the Trump line - but they still are his friends - they just dont talk politics.

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In other words, they are much like members of the Taliban - generous, loving, hard-working people who live close to the land, love their family, and love their country (although they may define their country differently than shown on western maps).

They also have a very firm opinion of right vs. wrong, a distrust of outsiders and "city folk," and a willingness to take forthright, violent exception if they feel that their family and community are threatened. 'Sound like anyone you know?

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O, my.

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Jan, I said the same earlier but you said it better!

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Absolutely. Thanks for the reality check.

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Here is my formula: 1. Local change (whatever options are available locally - most areas have some progressive organization nearby even if not in immediate vicinity), 2. Social media to combat disinformation, 3. Vote and encourage others to, 4. Have more political conversations, 5. Try to stay informed.

I am trying to figure out how to move from people who agree to people who don’t - that is hard

I also don’t always follow my own formula. That’s a weakness

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I’ve raised this point many times and will continue raising it: (as Jan, above, mentions, most Americans are good people and probably not that different from the classmates and neighbors many of today’s posters are remembering from our childhoods).

What’s different is our information climate and Fox “News” is most emblematic of that. Now here’s my point: while it would be great if we could roll the clock back 35 years and erase Reagan's media deregulation and the loss of the fairness doctrine, that’s not going to happen. Politically and technologically, it’s just not going to happen. What can happen is all the Biden/Harris voters who pay for media bundles that include Fox News, and the other known suspects, could unbundle and stop sending part of their monthly media fees to Fox News. By far the largest stream of revenue Fox News receives is from their portion of Comcast, dish and other media bundles that they get a share of. We know from the last election that there are more Biden Harris voters than Trump voters. We also know that most of us pay something for TV/cable/satellite/Internet media bundles and there’s tons of stuff in them that we don’t watch, we just have to groan and choose to ignore. That doesn’t mean those things we’re ignoring aren’t receiving some of our monthly revenue. It’s pretty simple math to see that if all of us found ways to stop unwittingly sending money to “fake news“ entities they would have to change their business models. Fox News is far more interested in making money then overthrowing democracy.

My wife and I unbundled our media more than two years ago and haven’t missed it for a second. We still watch what we like to watch, save considerable $$, and we know that we give less to those forces that help erode our social/political fabric… and we give more to specific media sources that we know we like.

The reigning in of Fox News and the other disinformation purveyors has to begin with viewers, and it has to come from the economic side not the political regulatory side. I agree with all of you who are advocating “get out the vote “activism.

Let’s add unbundle from the disinformation purveyors to our activists’ todo lists this month.

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Dont forget that it is not only FOX but also social media that spreads disinformation. Roger Ailes was awful; is Zuckerberg another Roger?

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Yes, I got repeatedly suspended for warning about trump’s similarity to Nazi’s . Against “community standards” to liken trump to Hitler and Rupert to Goebbels. But I see officials doing that now. Would not have any such comparison on Tweeter either. Both seem to be on trump’s gravy train. I think chickens may be coming home to roost

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I got suspended from FB and have never gone back. It just took up way too much of my time and energy. It’s addictive for some of us.

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Glad they are gone, will miss some but FB became more toxic every day.

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I like the idea of unbundling. That makes a lot of sense personally and politically. Adding to my list of actions any lefty can take

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I have done that and should have years ago. Rupert has done more damage than any other entity to destroy us, in my opinion. There are plenty of billionaire vultures lined up to get the spoils as they destroy our “administrative state” as Bannon said.

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Saeed, yes the getting to people outside of the circle that agrees with us is the hard part. It helps when there is a very specific issue that's on a ballot or becomes public discourse. The 30% of people who seem to not be all in as Ds or Rs is where the real voting action is...and get out the vote efforts. Continuing education and putting forward facts is a key. Good luck.

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Thank you. The “news” often refers to Dem view Vs Rep views ( as in polls) as if each group is 50% of America. So wrong! Go out and listen. Everywhere. We have much common ground, and letting people tell you what they think, fear, or want is a way to move the needle from the “screaming banshee foxite message” . Remember, they think WE are crazy deluded libs. We have work to do.

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They are told this non-stop, no wonder they believe it. Walter is no longer the most trusted newsman in America, it’s Rupert, at least among the cult. And cults don’t deprogram themselves. Dems don’t have a juggernaut of propaganda. I continue to treat people with respect, but I don’t expect that to make a dent with cult devotees

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Very true. Find the common ground and work from there.

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Seems to me that those who are MAGAt cult nuts watch Fox. At least the ones I know. If Fox went off the air for 1 year???

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I still don’t get it why there aren’t laws criminalizing lying on the media. It’s basic. If you can’t say it in court you can’t say it on TV It’s not about free speech at all

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The First Amendment protects lying to people and that really sucks. No easy solution.

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True. I believe that needs to change a bit. There is a massive difference in freedom of speech and inciting violence and provoking hate and fear.

We do have laws against politicians inciting violence and those need to be used immediately and with full strength of the law. Our DOJ is not up to the task unfortunately.

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Government can’t curtail free speech (and shouldn’t) but we don’t have to listen to lies and we can do what we can to spread truth.

Lately I have noticed something positive about preference algorithms (e.g on YouTube). If you pick about 10 good videos (I picked a couple on MLK, Syria, Brexit, US history), you start to get really nice recommendations, which I share. I figure if others do that too, that could have a net positive effect that may matter.

99% of videos on YouTube are junk, but YouTube currently has thousands of videos that are really good (news from services such BBC, France24, vice, DW, democracynow; documentaries, some classic ones). There is some much good stuff that almost anyone can become knowledgeable on any topic fairly quickly and caught up in world affairs

Same logic goes for Twitter (find a few good accounts and retweet).

Preference algorithms rule now, but they can be used effectively

Fb is harder to be positive with. It’s good for certain things.

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There are limits, can’t yell fire in crowded theater. It’s getting that bad if you listen to MAGAts.

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Right? I don't understand why that argument isn't being used to charge these people.

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Maybe not a weakness Saeed but normal human behavior. We all do that. Go easy on yourself. You are trying and you have listed some great ideas for change.

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I had the same upbringing in PA, same urban/rural divide. My action has been to focus on “Get Out The Vote” GOTV. Signed up with Vote Forward and Postcards to Swing States, Vote Save America and Indivisible. Just sent 350 postcards and 70 letters to VA. Next up: PA. Also post, text and phone bank and talk to relatives friends and neighbors. ❤️🤍💙

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I grew up not far from you in Bedford County Pa and the same can be said for my hometown. I have no suggestions, the divide runs deep, I felt it as an elementary school student and it has only gotten worse. They are so close minded there is no reaching them.

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Truth. East Vincent Township, Chester County here. 😢

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"Those of us who have lived a more diverse life and interact with a broader spectrum of people have a different point of view." Well, Mike, I think it depends upon the individual themselves - I grew up in a small NY village with - as I remember NO person of color, until I was in high school & I admit I havent interacted with a broad spectrum of people. I cant imagine treating someone differently because of their skin color - or ethnic background. I realize there are a lot of rural people who believe in DJT - but I'm one who couldnt stand him 20 or so years ago - whenever I first was aware of him. I think its easy to put people in a bubble and assume because they live here or there, THIS is the way they believe - but it's not true in every case. Having said that, I think it just might be a good idea to do more reaching out to people outside the urban areas rather than assuming they all believe the garbage being spewed right now!

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I grew up outside of LA, very white. My parents taught me that all people are “equal” and it took me decades to understand how insidious racism is, and that no matter what we think we believe, we’ve all grown up in a racist culture. And, of course now in my 7th decade I am still learning.

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I'm a decade plus older than you & yes, exactly what you said.

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Me too

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I know both types, Fox is the common denominator. Rural folks (gun and religious) and Ph.Ds (conservative ideologues). How these ignore the obvious truth about trump is due to pure propaganda.

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educated conservatives who allow Trump to do what he does...and seem to support him, are the folks I really don't understand. The Lincoln Project put a very bright spotlight on Trump...but folks till support him

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My ph.D best friend for 30 years started her ideologue bs re trump and I was mortified. She is a brilliant woman but her family was Fox watchers from day 1. Propaganda works…

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yes it does...and when you're surrounded by people who buy in, it's difficult to be the odd man out. The sad and difficult part now is the democracy as we've known it and grown up with is in a danger zone we have not experienced in our lifetimes. The Civil War is a subject I grew up with as I was raised near Antietam, Gettysburg and Harpers Ferry and it's been taking on a much closer and more real meaning recently, especially the 1860 period and Reconstruction. We have 2 very different views of power, fairness and how to live in conflict. You might want to remind your ph.D friend that the arrogance of the slave states didn't work out so well for them. They lost what they were trying to preserve at a very high cost.

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Brainwashing.

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Yes it pure all right! We could call it by other names - not quite as politically correct, huh?

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Agreed. How do we move forward? I'm not young or wealthy. I'm disabled. But this is too important. How do we organize?

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You can do phone work, or social media. Find a candidate or issue in your area...they all need/love volunteers

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My neighborhood is filled with "Keep East Vincent Rural". They are putting them up in the newly built McMansions on 1/4 Acres of land. Perhaps the meaning of Rural has changed. We moved from The City when our 29 year old son passed away. Couldn't live in the same house anymore. There is a large group of Progressives who are afraid to poke their heads out. There's fear of getting screamed at and harassed. This is gun totin' territory.

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Sounds like the word "rural" actually means keep "those people" out.

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NIMBY.

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Maine has the Maine People's Alliance, a small organization with a few paid executives working with volunteers to organize and inform on state and federal issues critical to us. They have an on line newsletter and podcast. They get legislative agenda, go to hear and speak at sessions. Organize meetings with Maine legislators, governor, US Senators & House members. They evaluate referendum going to voters, explain them and offer the ramifications of yes and no votes. They organize public rallies in front of elected official's offices.

See if there is anything like this in your state. Become a member. Make a donation. Volunteer where you can.

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In PA we have PA stands up.

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Everything you’ve described about your story, Mike, is action that you’ve taken and continue to see as a force into this day in time. So with all of us as we search our pasts to build a bridge into the future.

United!

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Thank you for your post. I replied broadly

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You have an interesting perspective M.W. Thanx for sharing with us.

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I grew up in a Lincoln-TR-Ike Republican family. They were not very active politically...my dad actually would not talk religion or politics in public. I've done video production for over 40 years and was basically a "gun for hire" for a long time. I felt I was helping folks exercise free speech. I've worked with both sides and seen "bad" and "good" people on both sides. One man's hero is another mans's villain. Real History and attempting to find facts...or truth has become very important to me, so I'm more picky about who I work with now, especially if I'm creating content for them. But I still take some conservative event gigs as a camera operator...not creating content...to see things from the inside and I have friends who work on events who also do this...the clients would die if they heard some of our comments....and being in the DC market we get some interesting gigs and see and hear things the public doesn't .

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I found the same where I grew up in NJ. I won't be returning for my next high school reunion.

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For the life of me, I do not understand the prioritization of the Democrats political agenda. We are at a crossroads in America. The Democrats are not only doing a horrible job of messaging, they're talking about the infrastructure legislation far too much, while virtually ignoring the disenfranchisement of millions of their supporters by failing to enact legislation to restore voting rights.

It's like showing everyone your plans to build a big bookcase in your den, while your house is being threatened by a raging wildfire. If your house burns to the ground, the bookshelf will burn right along with it.

The Republicans are playing the long game far better. They want to tie up the infrastructure package because they know that Manchin and Sinema are their allies They can drag this on and on, all the while getting the state legislatures to enact more restrictive voting legislation. The infrastructure bill is wildly popular, but it has zero chance of being enacted and implemented unless the Democrats not only hold their majority, but strengthen it.

It's time to move the infrastructure bill to the back burner and turn up the heat to pass the two voting rights bills under consideration. It's time to recognize that relying on traditional methods of legislative negotiating no longer hold any value. In short, it's time to call the fire department!

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It's my personal theory that sociopaths (our current GOP party leaders) have the gift of laser-like focus (term/concept brought to us by W around 911). They are not weighed down by emotional "baggage," insecurities, daily troubles, etc. They are singularly focused and that gives them the edge. If you are nice, if you care about others, if you care about our planet, or anything other than your own status, you are too distracted to compete. Look at the Trump, the dictators that HCR mentioned, plus others in the wings. They are 100% focused on winning and will do whatever it takes. Not bogged own by morals, what-ifs, or even the law.

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I'm actually worried. Kevin McCarthy as a Leader??? May The Great Spirit Save us.

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They had help from think tanks, unbelievable amounts of money, Goebbels-style propaganda, Frank Luntz, Grover Norquist, and every old John Bircher (anti-social) who hated others way before repubs. Even the attempted Coup of 1933 had features of Jan 6

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The Republicans have been playing the long game for quite a while. With all due respect to my senior senator, I wish Amy Klobuchar were Majority Leader.

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Agreed, I like Klobuchar, but we don't know how effective she would be in managing the caucus. Pelosi is the maestra of that.

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Klobuchar is in the senate. Pelosi is in the house. One more democratic senator and we could have had Klobuchar (or someone else) instead of Mitch.

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They have been. Many of use share the blame for the present situation, because we were not paying attention.

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Agree. The Democrats are staking everything on the Infrastructure Bill. How many times can you promise "we're almost there" and nothing happens? Meanwhile voting rights are decaying by the day.

The American People are craving Democracy.

What we are left with are assaults on Democracy on a daily basis. Bannon is walking around a free man and no one understands why. Eastman is still free to practice law. The right wing dumped covid deaths right back into Biden's lap with refusals of the mandates and rampant lies about vaccinations. Senate confirmations of Biden's nominees are in a log jam. (Although 2 Republicans were approved yesterday.) The Virginia election is unbelievably close. Roe v Wade is hanging by a thread.

It appears as if the Republicans are effectively blocking every significant measure the Biden Administration is attempting.

In this second Civil War the Republicans are winning. Looks like we are already out of time. The Clinton/Trump 2016 election was more critical than we ever dreamed.

And I am usually the most optimistic Star Spangled Banner person in the room.

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Well said. Without voting rights, there is nothing to build on.

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Ally, I keep wondering why people say “ oh, we cannot end or adjust the filibuster because if the Rs get in again, they will use it against us”. From my view, if we do not take WHATEVER action necessary to protect voting rights, we are just handing everything over. For good.

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Exactly, Dems will be “out” for my grands lifetime.

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You are right, the 2016 election was a crucial one, and I credit the D. N. C.’s influence in regard to Hillary to be responsible for the whole Trump episode and subsequent fiasco we are in today.

I sincerely think Bernie would have won that election hands down WITH the support of a lot of republicans, and he would have had big coat tails that would have gotten a lot of progressive Congress people elected also.

A big reason why I think Bernie would have gotten a fair amount of help from republicans is in part, because I saw Bernie’s town hall meetings on FOX NEWS, now mind you, this is FOX news, where Bernie did VERY well, he got a very positive reaction and support, and like I said this was FOX news, and FOX’s audience. And I don’t think FOX was counting on it going the way it did as they only did two of them, the second one narrated different from the first, and still , very positive for Bernie, like I said, I don’t think they went the way FOX was figuring as they didn’t have any more of them.

But think about it, the whole trajectory would have been completely different from what it is today had Trump not been elected…….

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Sanders and Stein split the Democratic ticket thereby further enabling trump to win.

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Love Bernie but he was a spoiler. No way could he have won,

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FOX is not news.

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There might be a need to follow the law intimately/closely before charging Bannon with a crime. Same with Eastman. Do you think we should jump up and charge these villains without diligance paid to procedure? I am one who is waiting also for the rule of law to make noise but am trying to understand the need to follow justice's lead.

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No I do not think we need to act too soon on arresting Bannon or anyone for that matter. Otherwise we become a banana republic.

I asked a lawyer this morning if Bannon could be arrested given the charges. She said most certainly. We both agreed that Garland may be holding back in order to not give Bannon the chance to become a martyr for his "cause".

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You are right, what good is the infrastructure if we can’t use it??? Just like that book case, what do you have for if you don’t have any books to put on it, or a house to put it in???

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Completely agree, but the filibuster must go or we are done.

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I’m not sure. That will address the immediate problem, but I’m afraid it could be more harmful down the road. Look at what happened to the Supreme Court once the requirement for a supermajority was removed. I was for repeal of the filibuster, but now I’m more in the reform camp.

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Oh yes, and can we get Stacey Abrams out there on it !

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Agree totally. Someone needs to talk to Joe! Burn it up!

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We knew we were in deep trouble, but we kept holding onto an illusion of the past. Heather has doused us, again, with the real reality. I was already unsettled more than usual tonight after reading that Oklahoma school boards are banning “To Kill a Mockingbird.” My wife and I named our son after Atticus Finch, and at 16 he carries the name well. But he will need more strength, more resolve for what’s ahead.

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Please hug Atticus for me. *To Kill a Mockingbird* is a very important book that everyone in our country should read, as well as its sequel, *Go Set a Watchman.* Mockingbird is number fifteen on the American Library Association’s Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books: 2010-2019; *Beloved* is number forty-five, but I imagine both will move higher in future.

You can find more information on ALA’s continuing battle for the freedom to read here:

https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/decade2019

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I have worn a sweat shirt that lists banned books. I consider it an honor roll of books banned by schools and communities that fear truth and diversity. The downside is the perpetuation of ignorance. Anne Frank, 1984, and the Holy Bible! So 1984ish. And my mind wasn’t poisoned from reading Huck Finn in my youth.

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Huck Finn is an anti-racist book, but bigots might have found that poisonous. The hero was the escaped slave Jim. Originally the book was panned for using the vernacular, not literary English. Later some were put off by the N-word. Read it if you haven’t. It’s brilliant. (There’s a chapter where Mark Twain mocks taking guns to church. If only he lived to see that legalized.)

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Hear, hear! And thank you.

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Wow, this is a shocking list! I had no idea. Rather than ban these books, maybe we should actually TEACH them. Might open some closed hearts and minds!?

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I purchased all these for my K-5 school library:

2. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

24. Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz

37. Bad Kitty (series) by Nick Bruel [very cute picture books!]

41. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by Dav Pilkey

46. Goosebumps (series) by R.L. Stine

61. The Giver by Lois Lowry

64. Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle

89. Madeline and the Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans [NO idea why this one is on here]

93. Skippyjon Jones (series) by Judith Schachner [another cute picture book series]

This morning I’m glad to be a retired school librarian. But I may have to get back in the fight.

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Absolutely agree about *To Kill a Mockingbird*. Powerful and is a must read for everyone. Shocking that this and many other books that open the mind are on the list.

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I'm going to have to reread "Go Set a Watchman". That book just seemed odd and scattered to me, unlike "To Kill a Mockingbird" which seemed to have focus and substance.

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Agreed, not as well written. However, it shows that when Scout grows up, things are not what she believes, and hoped, they were. I experienced the same, at a much later age, and am still unlearning my Lost Cause heritage.

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Ty for this list, shared on f$%^book, as well as today's letter.

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My daughter named our calico cat "Scout." 👍💜 It was a memorable story.

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How about the mom who has brought stories of her AP senior’s night terrors over Morrison’s “Beloved” to her school board to fight for parental say over HS literature reading? Positively shattering.

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As a retired school librarian, complainants like this about literature are deeply distressing. Educators do not pull these books out of a barrel. They are carefully selected for their literary, educational and social value. But as a result of Youngkin’s ad campaign, more people will be reading *Beloved.* When I ordered it yesterday it was not on Amazon’s top 100 best sellers list. This morning:

Best Sellers Rank: #43 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

#2 in Black & African American Literature (Books)

#2 in Contemporary Literature & Fiction

#5 in Coming of Age Fiction (Books)

So there’s that.

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Do not miss Alex Wagner’s interview with the mother for The Circus. Brilliant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtJ3s6YECAc

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One minute it's 'shouldn't parents be the ones to teach about this?", then when the interviewer asks how you can teach the history of slavery without mentioning race, Miss Patti sez: "I'm a parent, not an educator."

Except you ARE an educator - you're kids get their first clues from YOU - from the home, and all that that entails.

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Agreed, we are our children’s first and most influential teachers. But it always surprises me how much people think they know about K-12 education. Just because you went to school? Do you claim to understand everything about medicine, just because you go to the doctor? I have an undergraduate degree in education and a master’s degree in library science (which is required to get a job as a school librarian; the only other people in the building with a required master’s are the principal and assistant principal, and technology facilitator, if a school is fortunate enough to have one). But any Joe or Jane believes they know more about what goes into education than every professional educator in the building.

I recommend everyone go to the website of their state university that prepares teachers and see what the undergraduate requirements are. Here’s mine (I graduated in ‘74):

https://www.jmu.edu/academics/education.shtml

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And why do the good guys always DO THIS??? School board members and their families are being TERRORIZED, a national board asks the President for protection, and then backs down because some tRumpublicans grumble? I am incandescent with anger http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2021/10/27/following-gop-criticism-school-boards-association-apologizes-for-letter-asking-for-federal-help-to-address-threats-of-violence/

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Ooops - 'your', not you're. Fingers ahead of brain.

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OMG. That is exactly the kind of crap I hear around me all the time. It's so incredibly wrong.

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Unbelievable.

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It is shocking to me and a symptom of tea party and Christian nationalism’s end game. IMO.

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Agreed. They want to end quality public education for all.

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That poor little boy got over it. Ten years ago. Today he is a 27 year old Republican legal operative, and I wouldn't be surprised if that anti-McAuliffe ad was his idea.

https://www.newsweek.com/son-frightened-black-novel-glenn-youngkin-ad-actually-27-year-old-gop-lawyer-1642883

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That poor little boy was a White House intern during the T administration. Talk about night terrors.

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Thank you for exposing the truth and manipulation of that ad. We are in trouble.

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The rest of the story

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Where have all these "concerned" parents been all these years? Suddenly they're worried about books that teachers assign? Golly gee, I wonder why? It's only been a nanosecond since CRT was about to poison young minds and thus banned where it's not even taught. Now the holier-than-thou forces have opened a more expansive front on fiction, which no doubt has been turning children into thinkers able to contemplate the complexities of life. Oh the horror!

What's next? Book burnings? Publishers churning out books for making kids into model citizens? Like "Dick, Jane, and Their Happy Slaves"? A rewrite of the Ten Commandments? It's as if Republicans have paid a lab to create a highly infectious variant, not of a virus but a totalitarian way of thinking. A way of thinking they intend to impose on us all.

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Far right is switching from battling CRT to SEL which builds empathy and critical thinking skills. Far right has "switched their focus to something that is included in schools' curricula: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). Right-wing critics have called SEL "racist garbage," "anti-white," and "a vehicle for introducing leftist propaganda in the classroom." The argument is that SEL is a vehicle for CRT and should be eliminated."

https://twitter.com/deborahruf/status/1452682288534368263?s=20

(Thank you to HCR reader and education expert Deborah Ruf!)

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Okay. The most basic human freedom is to choose our own attitude (Viktor Frankl). Is this current crisis a calamity or an opportunity? In reality, it's both. A sizeable (15 - 30%?) minority created this crisis in order to use it as an opportunity to take power. All crises create/liberate tremendous energy. The Trumpists have handed the rest of us an opportunity to come together and 'create a more perfect union'. Without this crisis, I never would have found my way to this forum and the support and teaching it provides.

We can lose our Democracy. In just over a year. To morons (as TCinLA pointed out).

We can win our Democracy. Now. Together. By not being morons. We have all the tools we need. Dr. Cox-Richardson gives us the truth. Stacie Abrams has shown us a way. We have half the Senate and just over half of the House. 70 - 85% of the American People are us. It will not be easy.

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I believe It took someone as unhealthy a human being as Trump at the helm to make Jan 6 possible. Without his need to be "king" and his inability to accept defeat or transfer power peacefully at the end of his term like every other person who has held the office, this never would have happened last January. It took his audacity and single mindedness to conceive and unleash that riot...and there are people around him who use his needy, bullying personality to stoke their own desires for power. It was a last ditch, desperate effort in that moment to illegitimately hold on the Presidency. With that said, I agree, we do have a crisis and we have to be vigilant and use the tools we have...and this forum is one of them...to be organized, activated and on point to resist this fascism.

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And, not preemptively give up.

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Maybe another example is Congressional Dems - who dont appear to know how to do anything alone without """bipartisan""" assistance. I wonder, IS there any way around these blockheads? Yes we do need to engage with people who disagree with us but they shouldnt be allowed to just bulldoze their way OVER the rest of us!

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EXACTLY! That’s what “they” are counting on.

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We must get active, & create "good trouble" if necessary. Don't trust me, read "On Tyranny" by historian Timothy Snyder. Our democratic republic is at stake.

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Exactly!

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Thank you, been thinking this for years and watching the Tea Party, Republican pols and MAGAts take over, they are a MINORITY, although one with a propaganda juggernaut. Who can provide one for us??

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The Lincoln project was a good start.

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Interestingly enough, a few weeks ago, I asked a friend living in Eastern Europe why it is that so much trouble for Europe as a whole comes from the Eastern half. He pointed out that - outside of Czechoslovakia that had a functioning democracy from 1918-38 that actually started to take root before Hitler uprooted it, the rest of the states in Eastern Europe outside of Greece have a "democratic tradition" that extends to a few years after World War I before indigenous dictatorships were re-established in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, (their elites all collaborated with the Nazis leading up to and throughWW2) and a government not unlike what is in Poland today ruled there before the war, while no democratic anything was ever established in the Balkans (which became Yugoslavia), and then those dictatorships were replaced by Stalinist dictatorships that lasted another 45 years after World War II, there has only been democracy established after the Cold War in those countries, while they have thousands of years of "traditional autocracy" (as he put it). He pointed out we have a few hundred years of "democratic tradition" and find it hard to operate a democracy.

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TC, totally true. The deeper history of eastern Europe should be a flag that shows everyone how hard it is to "grow" a democracy. The rise of neo-totalitarianism in Europe is, to my mind, an entirely predictable phenomenon because there was no historical moment in which autocracy did not rule until the end of the USSR. The former Bohemia/Czechoslovakia is the exception because it was always the exception. The Defenestration of Prague, which started the Thirty Years War, was only one of such political acts by a population determined to establish its independence from an autocratic power. Even their form of Christianity (Hussites, which eventually evolved into Mennonites) was revolutionary.

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A minor correction. I think you meant the Moravians, not the Mennonites.

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Kathleen, you are absolutely correct! Thanks for the correction. Yep--my brain was saying "No: that's not right!" while my fingers were typing that but that is what happens when I post something before I finish my first cup of coffee.

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No problem. I enjoy your posts, coffee or not.

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Hi TC, an excellent take on this can be found in John Connelly's "From Peoples into Nations; A History of Eastern Europe";

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There is always Tony Judt's detailed "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945." The content is organized by country, large & small with a very good index. I think it was a Pulitzer finalist years ago.

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Connelly goes back further dealing with "people" by "people"

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Understand. Judt covers massive population movements in the several years after April 1945.

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Thanks much, Stuart - I will check that out. It's a topic that interests me.

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🔥 When you’re on fire like this today, HCR, I know it’s time to really really worry and to up my game and additionally mobilize/organize/persist.

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I live in the city of Atlanta am a 74 year white woman. How do I start mobilize/organize? The ignorant hatred has to be stopped. We who care about our Democracy are the majority but doing nothing to save it. Where and how do I begin?

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"There's an app for that." For real: Mobilize

https://www.mobilize.us/

You're in the home state of Stacey Abrams, whose Fair Fight welcomes allies:

www.fairfight.com

Sen. Warnock is up for re-election in 2022.

https://ballotpedia.org/Raphael_Warnock

Want to connect with like minds in action? Find your local Democratic Party, League of Women Voters, or Indivisible.

https://www.georgiademocrat.org/

https://www.lwv.org/

https://indivisible.org/

Want to connect with fellow HCR Substackers in action in service of democracy? Ask about Heather's Herd.

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Heather's Herd? Asking...

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THANK YOU! I also posted this, an intro to phone banking (which I’ve never done but I will NOW!). We “thinkers” will talk a subject to death, but not actually take the time and energy to commit to do the work, as someone else pointed out here that the new-old republicans do. Get focused and work people! Please.)

Phone bank for GA midterms coming up.

https://actionnetwork.org/events/road-to-the-midterms-october-28-2021?

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Excellent info Ellie . Thank you.

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Georgia, I feel the same. I just moved to the Tampa area. My family is heavily trumpite, so I have to be careful in my choices. I’m looking at The League of Women Voters for a start. And if you’re interested in fighting against books being banned, there’s help here: https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/decade2019

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