Earlier this week, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo warned that American democracy is ending. He pointed to political violence on the streets, the pandemic, unemployment, racial polarization, and natural disasters, all of which are destabilizing the country, and noted that Republicans appear to have abandoned democracy in favor of a cult-like support for Donald Trump. They are wedded to a narrative based in lies, as the president dismantles our non-partisan civil service and replaces it with a gang of cronies loyal only to him.
While voting and getting others to vote is our primary means of defending democracy at this critical juncture, we must also support those behind the scenes who are working day in and day out in the courtrooms of America to blunt Trump's demolition derby. Here are four efforts that merit your money right this instant:
One well-known defender of our Constitution, our rights, and our cherished traditions is the American Civil Liberties Union: https://www.aclu.org/. You will find a dozen or more areas where they could use your active support and involvement.
The same is true for The Brennan Center for Justice: https://www.brennancenter.org/. It was founded by legendary civil rights attorney Burt Neuborne who previously served as chief counsel for ACLU. A few minutes on the Brennan Center website will stir your soul and bolster your confidence that help is on the way…if you help them do it.
Michelle Obama is a founder and leading light of “When We All Vote” which is doing powerful work to enroll voters and ensure that they have a fair chance to cast a ballot. People say that working with this organization is very rewarding: https://www.whenweallvote.org/
A seasoned champion of election-integrity, Marc Elias, demonstrates ways for you, too, to help protect this most vital of all the pillars of “democracy”. His work is immediate, vital, crucial to rebut Trump’s demolition of voting. Join up with him here: https://www.democracydocket.com
Writing checks is better than wringing our hands. 😎
This empowered me:
“ So we should definitely worry.
But should we despair? Absolutely not.
Convincing people the game is over is one of the key ways dictators take power. . . .”
My God. I love your commentary and how you put everything in perspective. However, this one really wore me out and saddened me. I can only hope that enough of us can reach out to others and make enough of a difference to keep him from again stealing an election. Thanks for keeping up the good
I read this post last night just before I went to bed and found it to be the scariest post I'd seen. It led to a restless night, but in my insomnia-addled brain, I came up with a new approach, a new way to win against this evil. Laughter. Think Harry Potter's Riddikulus!
I hope you will be patient with me. This is long and I haven't slept much, but hear me out.
In my in insomnia-hazy state, I thought about Michael Moore and Bill Bryson. Two creators who can present facts to us in an engaging and humorous manner.
I thought about collecting all of the videos and tweets of the tRUMPus in which he says something so ridiculous it would be laughable if it weren't so horrible. Nothing in which he insults anyone. Nothing containing derogatory or inflammatory statements. I realize that cuts out the majority of them but we still have a good selection.
Here are a few: I welcome any suggestions.
--when he told us all that Mexico was going to pay for the wall.
--during the 2016 debates, when he told Hillary that he didn't pay any taxes and then soon after followed that with a statement that the first thing he would do as President would be to give the wealthy a tax break (Why, oh why, didn't she at that time say "Donald, if you already pay zero taxes, why would you need a tax break?" She might have nipped this all in the bud right then. Sorry, I digress.)
--his boasting about the number of people at his inauguration
--KellyAnne Conway inventing the term "alternate facts"
-- him telling us to inject disinfectant and drink bleach
--masks make him look bad
--coronavirus will go away soon “[infections are] going to be down to close to zero. One day, it’s like a miracle. It will disappear.”
--when referring to his daily corona test,he said he tested postively negatively
--when everyone laughed at him at the UN
--here is a list of more: https://www.shortlist.com/news/most-ridiculous-trump-quotes-ever
I would name this campaign "Donnie, sometimes the TRUTH HURTS."
My thought is to find someone who knows how to collect these, and could contact Moore and Bryson to ask them to add their genius and wit in combining them with other important factual information (Perhaps, for instance, comparing the actual Mexican and American dollars spent on the wall. ) And have them create about a 15- or 20-minute video.
My idea is on some night in October have this video projected onto walls and buildings around the country. And on YouTube of course.
The following advertisement arose in my brain:
Stressed from stay-at-home orders?
Depressed over losing your job?
Too angry to watch the news?
We have an answer:
LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE!
The protests aren't working so well, what about a Laugh-Fest!
Admission cost: One mask on your face.
No pitchforks allowed.
And we all go and we bring all of our friends and we LAUGH AT HIM! And then the next night we show the video somewhere else and go and laugh at him again. And the next night and the next.
October could be a happier time than now for those now being driven insane.
I think I week of news clips of people laughing at him might be his undoing.
Anyway, if you don't like this idea, no worries. It is all just midnight-mushed-brain-addled-musings.
Thanks for reading. And I hope you find something to laugh about today.
Over the last 4 years I have become aware of how falsely safe I have felt In the security of our democracy. Never could I have imagined that it could be ripped to shreds the way it has been, even though I saw early in 2016 that this psychopath was a danger to us. My confidence was falsely placed in our citizenship. I did not foresee the darkness within us on this scale. Seem like it’s pretty much 40% of us?
Heather’s quote from Honest Abe: “Ordinary Americans “rose each fighting, grasping whatever he could first reach---a scythe---a pitchfork-- a chopping axe, or a butcher's cleaver,” he said.” scares the crap out of me. Trump has sent out emails offering camo hats for sale (remember “his hats symbolize hoods”) to his exclusive “Trump army” to fight against the liberal mob. They are masters of symbolism, which in part is the hook they set for people’s emotions and loyalty. What percentage of “Trump’s army” is in possession of multiple assault rifles and endless ammunition? Military leaders have reassured us that if Biden is duly elected he will assume power Jan. 20 despite whether Trump wants to relinquish it or not. I’m concerned for Nov. and Dec. and much of January. If Trump loses, his “army” will be the ones grabbing what they have (assault rifles). He’s made it very clear that laws and accountability do not apply to him and his. He will still legally hold power over our military during those months. Will they keep citizens safe from his own personal armed militia? There are reports that the militias have infiltrated police forces around the country and we have certainly seen some of the results of that in real time lately. Someone else suggested the national guard could be called upon to protect citizens from Trump’s personal militia forces.
I am not bringing this up to frighten people. This is not drama for the sake of drama. I ask this because I do not want to continue to be unprepared for what is in front of us. Too many of us have denied the evil psychopathy and capability of trump and his goons. I think we need to broaden our mind to just what their intentions are (after all, just because they are broadcasting it in the light of day, we have learned the hard way they are not joking). I want to be prepared for what lies ahead and I want our leaders to be prepared for multiple different pathological actions by this group of proven wannabe tyrants. What will our country look like if Trump loses Nov. 3rd and then puts out a dog whistle to his personal, already recruited, “army” (militia) during the lame duck period?
Sobering commentary tonight, Heather. And I think more and more that we are NOT in for a smooth transition if Trump loses. The Republican machinery will kick into gear (and the militias will appear---accidental rhyme :-) ) and the post election confrontation will begin. I hope that the Democrats are assembling a LARGE army of lawyers across the country (and many assistants) to challenge aggressively the Republican dirty tricks at every turn---during voting and during vote counts. Read Greg Palast, everyone, and realize that past elections have been stolen, and we are careening into another crisis point (I feel like I'm writing on the edge of conspiracy theories but the stolen votes/elections are real.) The last great hope is the American people and what checks and balances we have left. Our government at the present is falling apart (or rather being taken apart) before our eyes. One last comment----one has finally got to realize that Trump's tweets are words detached from reality; he is selling himself as the product; there is nothing else; he has no programs (when he says a vaccine is coming soon, that has no basis in fact---it is his verbal fantasy; when he says there will be "great reports" and other things, it is again mere verbiage). Heather has quoted many in the post tonight. We are living in an alternate universe conjured up by Republican turncoats and circus barkers.
I'm reminded of a period in history I just wrote a book about: the six months between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the US victory at Midway. Most people, when they think of that time, think "unrelieved defeat and darkness." And yes, there was a lot of defeat and darkness, but every day of that time, people who would never before have believed themselves capable of what they did, did things that in the end changed things around. Even in defeat, their example was - as FDR said it to General Wainwright on receiving his message that he was forced to surrender in the Philippines - "the guarantee of victory." Which they were. But the whole thing depended on people just putting their heads down and pushing on, regardless of the way things looked, regardless of the news, regardless of the evidence of their own eyes. And in the end, they stopped the unstoppable force. When I re-read the book this past February to write an author's forward, I realized that two years ago I had tapped into today's zeitgeist - if we follow their example, we've got a good chance of achieving a similar result. So, as I used to have on my coffeecup in the Navy, on one side "Bastardi non attritari" and on the other "Illegitimi non carborundum." It's still good advice.
My 94 yo father has seen a lot in his years but he said he won’t survive another trump term. He currently scours the news and sends news articles to his group about this tyranny. I get about 5 emails a day and smile when I see them as I know he is hanging in there.
Democracy in Ancient Greece required every citizen to participate actively all of the time. Their definition of citizenship was not ours of course but we do have, and need to protect from Trump's predations, ours. Being a citizen of any country bestows rights...and OBLIGATIONS! Our system has, in recent years been marked by either complacency and the feeling that all is well and others will take care of it... OR... disgust and frustration as voting didn't seem to change anything. The result has been lower and lower participation making election buying, influencing, disrupting,skulduggery and discounting all the more easier....and cheaper than it should be.
Either through lack of confidence or overconfidence in our democratic system we let our guard down, big money and foreign interests siezed the chance and are exploiting it in full to impose their interests over the people's needs. We let it happen, watched it progress and bemoaned its symptomes. Trump was a catastrophy that has been trying to happen for 175 years.
Absenteeism on election day and not making oneself stand up and be counted is very positively correlated with increasing income inequality around the world. Treating corporations as people and corporate money as free speech was the opening of the door to the stable....the horse that has bolted has names such as Koch, Bradley, Olin, Scaife.....and of course Trump, DeVos, Putin and many others. Off-loading the Fairness Doctrine in Media gave them the voice to sell their lies and propaganda. Gun ownership and the propagation of Bush's DHS' s "circle-the-wagons" mentality has given them the foot soldiers to enchain the people. We need now to take a leaf out of the book that is being written by the Byelorussian people and before them the Ukrainians and metaphoricaly "take to the streets" in defiance of the traiterous dictators guns. The people will have to go out and defend the mail-in ballots, the polling stations, the vote counting process and the declaration of TRUE results and there afterward the swearing-in of a truly elected President. Trump can only win if people sit back, moan, grumble and regret that he's got away with it. Get out there!
This letter was very difficult to read. So much reason to feel anxious and worried about the future of this country. On the other hand, I was heartened this morning that the organization for which I volunteer, Postcards to Voters, has begun a writing campaign for Amy McGrath. I couldn't grab a handful of addresses fast enough. That is the one campaign I will watch more carefully than most. As important as the presidential election is, we must also fight/vote for those down the ballot who can help bring some calm to the shit storm that is currently being played out.
"...And, in what was perhaps an accident, in South Carolina, voters’ sample ballots did not include Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris..."
Dear Heather: RE "perhaps an accident," I often wish I could see you as you write each carefully-phrased, non-incendiary letter, even as your hair burns. I wish I possessed your helpful self-control. Seriously.
I dined w two friend acquaintances yesterday who became convinced that the black family in front of us were trying to undermine our interests in getting a table. I tried to explain that there was nothing in their behavior to indicate that to which one of them got very angry at me and told me to face reality and that the blacks were out to get us and people were letting them do so. Later one commented about “your Democratic leaders” as if I was somehow at fault for the state of the country because I was a Democrat. These people were demeaning and self-righteous. Something I had never seen in them before. That will be the last get together with them for sure. I saw ugly defensive uninformed misinformed people and it shook me as I gave them more credit. I live in the northeast and I’m scared I’ve become the minority.
I encourage readers to check out indivisible.org and get involved in efforts to encourage voting and protecting the vote.
I had a conversation with a friend the other day about how to prepare for the possibility of a (greater) crisis post-election: stock up on necessities? Cash? Be ready for mass protests? How would we have wanted to be prepared if it were France in the summer of 1939?
Great summary, Heather. As inspiring as your final note is, I think I’m going to breakfast on Tums this morning....
I am in tears first thing this morning reading today's "Letters", but it is not your fault to bring this to us. We together can alter the course that seems inevitable, but, yes, it is frightening. Thank you.