Our Current Situation: Relentless

RELENTLESS: it’s hard to believe it hasn’t even been a month yet. The firehose of gross incompetence and the tidal wave of resistance can be a little overwhelming.

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END THE WAR: Many of the policy objectives outlined in the 2016 DNC platform more or less align with my own advocacy, except for the support of our endless war.

We need to declare victory and end the war. It’s unconstitutional, it has no victory condition, terrorism is increasing rather than decreasing, and it breaks international law (i.e. the US has committed and continues to commit war crimes). There are a variety of paths to take to peace.

As we Fight for 15, Protect Planned Parenthood, work to root out systemic racism, champion feminism, and #resist the other onslaughts against our humanity, I hope we find ways to create a more substantial resistance to The War That Goes On Forever and Has No End In Sight.

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FOCUS: Josh Marshall reminds us there are some House races in the near future. Rep. Ryan Zinke, and Rep. Tom Price both need to be replaced in the House. They run in red districts, but they can, and should, be challenged. Focus, People.

“As I said, winning this race is an uphill battle. But special elections are low turnout affairs which play heavily to organizing and motivation. The district has already given substantial evidence of hostility toward President Trump and he’s only gotten less popular since he was sworn in only three weeks ago.

“But here’s the key. You can’t win elections without contesting. On one level, that’s just a truism. But it’s a more complex truth than many people realize. If Democrats were to win the 6th District that would of course put them one seat closer to winning back control of the House in 2018. But even if they don’t, they will win other big advantages.”

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CONSERVATIVE CRITIQUE #1: “The left didn’t complain when Obama did it.” It’s not uncommon to see this sort of critique when perusing conservative outlets. And, it’s absolutely right. It doesn’t mean those critiques didn’t exist, only that they were buried underneath the mainstream narrative. Plenty of people on the left opposed Obama’s policies on drones, immigration, Wall Street, etc. In fact, The Mendacity of Obama critiques Obama from the left. But, if you’re focused on your right-wing echo chamber, and only picking up headlines from cable news and national newspapers, the critiques of the left probably never enter your consciousness.

My silver lining after the election was that it is easier to criticize Trump for doing the stuff I don’t like than it would have been to criticize Hillary (or it was to criticize Obama). Those on the left who spent any amount of time criticizing Hillary were ‘useful idiots’ or worse, as the free-floating anger looked for a place to land.

Since the left, broadly defined, doesn’t have to worry about undermining a precarious candidate I hope it can embrace some truly progressive ideas. We need to end our eternal war. We need substantial prison reform. We need to triple (at least) the amount of money we spend on education at all levels. We need to take climate change seriously. We need to legislate net neutrality. We need to expand Medicaid and Medicare to include everyone in the US. We need to uproot systemic racism. We need to tax the wealthy. We need to raise the minimum wage. We need to help refugees. We need to not torture. (And so much more!)

In short, we need to re-imagine the liberal platform. Which means re-imagining the platform of the Democratic National Convention. Like it or not (and I must say there is much about the current Democratic party that makes me unhappy) that’s the only organization that can counter the RNC.

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SISTER DISTRICTS: I love this idea.

“The Sister District Project aims to allow people to transcend the lines drawn by partisan politicians and bring communities together based on the issues and values they share. It is designed to target significant local, state, and national elections that could swing blue (or need help staying blue) and provide them with volunteers in close geographic proximity that can channel their energy toward the goal of winning specific important elections.”

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IMPROVE THE NEWS: Have an idea that will improve journalism? The Knight Foundation wants to hear from you.

“To quickly respond to the growing concern over so-called fake news, Knight Foundation is launching an open call for ideas to counter misinformation and help quality journalism become a more trusted and visible resource at a time when trust in the news media has hit a low.”

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DO-NOTHING PRESIDENT: Keep in mind also that there has been no actual legislation passed by this administration. (Doesn’t mean there aren’t horrors to come, just that there’s been more smoke and hyperventilation than anything tangible.) President Trump Has Done Almost Nothing

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TRUMP LAND: Jeff VanderMeer offers a grim dystopian SF short about life under Trump.

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PROTEST SCIENCE: This was published last year, but it has a lot of good advice worth embracing. It’s better to fight for or against issues rather than fight for or against people. If you are anti-Trump and Pence is elevated your movement is deflated. Be welcoming, open to newbies, and humble. Nonviolence wins the sympathy vote. Why Some Protests Succeed While Others Fail

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FREEDOM OF SPEECH vs. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS: I’ll admit to being a free speech purist (which doesn’t mean freedom of distribution, or freedom of platform), so I’m always looking for arguments about shutting down public speech to see if I find it persuading. Reaching the Moral High Ground and Finding It Barren by David Banks makes a case for shutting down Milo.

“Finally, there is the matter of free speech. Rather than accept the conservative frame that all speech is equal, we need to adopt a more justice-oriented understanding of speech that acknowledges the fact that the free expression of white supremacist views hampers the free speech of many others and, if left unchecked, leads to the silencing of everyone else.”

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TRUMP ALLIES/TRUMP OPPONENTS: 538 has developed a Congress Tracker that will tell you who supports Trump the most, and who the least. Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump

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END DUMBNESS AND POORNESS: Regardless of the horror of the current administration, the US is still predominantly conservative. The best counter is better jobs and more education.

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TO-DO: Breathe, don’t panic, walk, spend time with family, pet the dog, exercise, eat right, drink moderately, take a break. Take care of yourself first. Then get back to the resistance. This a marathon, not a sprint.

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