Project Wonderful

Monday, March 20, 2017

How to Lobby like a BAMF Part One: What is Lobbying?

(Editor's Note: This a guest post and part of a three part series from the amazing Carly Pildis, an OFA alumna whose bio is below. It is part of my continued effort to share tools and information to help our community feel empowered in the Trump era. Thank you so much to Carly for sharing your wisdom!)

Since Election night, my phone has been exploding with questions. I am being asked everyday how to be heard, and the voices asking are filled with fear. What makes me qualified to answer? I serve as Senior Associate, Advocacy and Organizing for RESULTS, a movement of passionate grassroots who have been fighting for an end of poverty at home and around the world for over 35 years. I spend most of my time with RESULTS training grassroots on how to make change, particularly geared towards influencing Congress. I run the REAL Change Organizing and Advocacy Fellowship to Fight Poverty, with Fellows having approximately 300 lobby meetings a year. Since so many people are interested in lobbying these days, I am doing a three part series on Lobbying. I am so excited to be writing for Campaignsick!

While I write this I am watching my 3 month old daughter sleep. Like many of you I am concerned about the country she is going to grow up in. Will it be a place where my values of inclusivity, empowerment, and shared prosperity reign? Or will it become a place I don’t recognize?. Lobbying is a great way to affect the issues you care about in a real tangible way.

Members of Congress and their staff WANT to meet with constituents. You are the people who hire and fire. You are the people who volunteer and donate to campaigns. You matter INFINITELY more than a paid lobbyist. A recent study from the Congressional Management Foundation confirms what we’ve known for decades: Members care first and foremost what you think!

Like organizing, lobbying requires you to build muscle memory of best practices that you use religiously, and pair those best practices with dogged persistence. Future blogs will cover step by step instructions, but first let’s define what lobbying is and isn’t

Lobbying is:
-A chance to influence policy and public funding.
-A chance to educate your MOC about an issue they may not know much about.
-Most important of all, a lobby meeting is a chance to build relationships with people who have the power to affect policy and funding. Even if you don’t get what you want now, building that relationship is critical to influencing members and their aides on issues you care about in the future. Show them that you are an engaged member of the community whose opinion they should court and you’ll be shocked how much influence you can garner.

Lobbying is not:
-A venting session. Save that for Happy Hour. Friends on the Hill tell me of constituents who call everyday to SCREAM at them. These people get ignored. Wouldn’t you ignore them?
-A place to protest. This a time for persuasion and dialogue. You're already in the room - protesting is for when you are struggling to get inside it.
-A place for long academic debate or philosophy lecture. It would be awesome to give your MOC a 20 slide presentation on the history of systemic racism. Unfortunately, this will not happen for you. Your meeting will last 10 minutes, 15 max. I have had ones as short as 5 minutes. Expect to introduce the issue, talk about your personal connection to it, a make one or two key points backed up by statistics and then make a hard ask. Have some small talk at the beginning to keep it friendly.

Now that you have a clear understanding of lobbying as a tool and a strategy, you're ready to get started! Thanks for reading and for raising your voice!

Carly Pildis serves as Senior Associate, Advocacy and Organizing for RESULTS. She manages the REAL Change Organizing and Advocacy Fellowship to Fight Poverty. She also managed candidate engagement around the 2016 POTUS primary, and works closely with both the legislative team and grassroots team on RESULTS campaigns. Prior to her time at RESULTS, she served as Operation Vote Director for the DC office of Obama for America, working to organize people of color and other constituency groups in support of the 2012 reelection campaign. Additionally she has served as a Fellow for Jubilee USA Network, and as a Advocacy Consultant/Field Organizer for American Jewish World Services on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. Want to join her in the fight to protect foreign aid and stop budget cuts that would threaten the futures of millions of people living in poverty? Email her or follow her on twitter @carlypildis

Saturday, February 4, 2017

But What About The Children?: Second Graders, And Their Teacher, Sound Off On Trump.

(Stock photo, not Lauren's kids)

Some of you may remember that I had the privilege of speaking to my friend Lauren's second grade class about elections last September. My favorite part of that experience was hearing what was filtering down from media to parents to kids.

A couple of examples:
Little Girl: Hillary will be the best President even though she was in jail.
Me: I don't think she was in jail...
Little Girl: Yahuh! I saw it on the news!

Little Boy: Donald Trump is bad because he only likes white people and he had TWO fake schools!
Of course, had I known how things would go I would have prepared these kids with a somewhat different conversation. Not to get all soapbox-y but at a time when both facts and compassion seem optional for adults in our country, public school teachers have never been more important. And thank God for them. After spending 2 hours with elementary schoolers, I left genuinely confused as to why we don't pay elementary school teachers six figure salaries. So when I saw Lauren's Facebook post below my heart melted, not just for the kids but also for her.
2nd graders' takes on the state of our nation...
Student 1: "We are now governed by a potato!"
Student 2: "Trump sees women as objects."
Student 3: "I'm scared and sad...
How do you teach fairness and kindness in a world that is so obviously unfair and unkind? How do you explain what happened to seven year olds when most adults can't make sense of it? I decided to ask the source. Thank you Lauren for answering my questions as well as helping raise an informed and compassionate next generation.

1) Who are you? (Your professional background etc)

I'm a 2nd grade teacher at a public school in Manhattan. I am a general educator in an ICT classroom, meaning that we have some students with special needs and my co-teacher is a special educator. This is my 5th year at this school, where we serve mostly middle and upper middle class families. While we are not particularly racially or socioeconomically diverse, we have quite a bit of ethnic and linguistic diversity and a number of immigrants in our student body. Our school's emphasis is on social action.

2) How did you prepare your students for the election?

We added an election unit to our curriculum this year. We focused mostly on election vocabulary and how elections work. We also read a brief biography of both Clinton and Trump, and held a pretend election in which the students voted for who they predicted would win. In addition, we welcomed Nancy into our class as a guest speaker to discuss how campaigns and elections work! I was pleasantly surprised by how interested the students were in the election and how much they were discussing at home. Indirectly related to the election, we teach a unit every fall called "Fighting for a Cause" (from the Core Knowledge curriculum). Though we didn't plan it this way at the time, I've noticed since the election that the ideas (such as peaceful protests) and the activists (such as Martin Luther King, Jr.) that we studied during this unit have given my students a basis for discussing current events surrounding the election and new administration.

3) What was it like in school the day after the election?

The day after the election was emotional. Being around so many progressive teachers and families, there was definitely sadness and anger in the air at school. Some of my students came to school upset. We tried to remain somewhat unbiased (though I've felt conflicted about how unbiased we should be), but also gave the students space to talk about how they felt. We've been trying to let them lead the conversation as much as possible, starting that day. We've also been trying to help them feel safe. The day after the election, many students were talking about Trump building the wall. At this age, kids tend to focus on the concrete, and the wall was something they could understand. One girl was absent that day, and her family is Hispanic, so some of her friends were worried that she had been deported. Our main goal that day was to reassure them that they were safe with us.

4) What have the kids been saying about Trump since the inauguration?

My students haven't said too much about Trump himself, but when his name is mentioned, the anger on their faces says it all. Some memorable comments include one student repeatedly saying that Trump is a potato, and another student saying that Trump sees women as objects.

5) Has anything about their reaction surprised you? (How concerned about it do they seem to be? Do they know more/less than you expected etc?)

I've been surprised by how aware some of my students are and how much their families seem to discuss politics at home. They don't understand a lot of the specifics about policies, but they do sense the fear and outrage around them. However, I do think that kids are extremely resilient and able to compartmentalize more than adults, so while they are aware and concerned, they are able to, at least outwardly, show less concern than many adults. My students, for the most part, are fortunate in that they come from places of privilege, but they are still more knowledgeable than I would have expected. I have also been pleasantly surprised by the connections they make between the activism happening now and the historic activists we've studied. In addition, we wrote thank you letters to Obama on Inauguration Day and they impressed me with what they knew about his presidency, mentioning specifics such as Obamacare.

6) What challenges has a Trump presidency posed for you as a teacher?

The biggest challenge I have experienced has been trying to remain (at least somewhat) unbiased. I've been trying to let the students lead the conversation as much as possible, but that is not always easy. It can also be difficult to find language to use that is honest but still accessible for 2nd graders. Another challenge has been dealing with my own feelings surrounding Betsy DeVos, since I know those decisions will affect me and the rest of my school community. Teachers and parents at my school held a protest, which helped us feel like we were actively doing something and leading our students by example.

7) What, if anything, have you been talking to your kids about regarding a Trump presidency? Are there ways to make this teachable?

As I said, we've been trying to let the students lead the conversation as much as possible, answering their questions, trying to alleviate their fears, and highlighting examples of activism. There are definitely ways to make this teachable! In addition to teaching the ins and outs of how government works, I think the most important way to make this teachable is leading by example and focusing on what we can do as citizens to fight for what we believe is right. I think it's easy for both children and adults to feel overwhelmed and helpless, so actively searching for ways to fight can only help.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

#Resistance is making a difference

I usually hate the "copy and paste" viral Facebook stuff but after a rough week and bunch of protesting this was nice to read so I wanted to share this with you. Feel free to paste and share on your own social media.

Hey activist friends: despite the headlines, you are making a difference. In the words of Banksy: "If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit."
For everyone who DID something, small or big, your efforts have been successful. Because of you:
1. Federal hiring freeze is reversed for VA (Veteran Affairs).
2. Court ordered partial stay of the immigration ban for those with valid visas.
3. Green card holders can get back in country.
4. Uber pledges $3M and immigration lawyers for its drivers after #DeleteUber trends on Twitter.
5. Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) enrollment ads are still going to air.
6. The ACLU raised 24M over the weekend (normally 3-4Mil/year).
7. HHS, EPA, USDA gag order lifted.
8. EPA climate data no longer scrubbed from website.
9. More people of different career/religious/economic/race backgrounds are considering running for political office than ever before.
10.CEO of Uber left Trump's business advisory council
11. MOST importantly, since we live in a participatory democracy, the people are engaged.

While more is needed, sometimes you have to celebrate your wins. Stay vigilant, but also take self care seriously. Activist burnout is a thing, as is protest fatigue. Marathon, don't sprint. #RESIST
(Feel free to copy and paste to share. (*Copy/pasted from a friend*)

Byron LaMasters Calls Trump

A colleague posted the following on Facebook and in my on-going quest to post anything that makes me feel better as well as opportunities for activism I thought I'd share.

Today I tried an experiment. In light of the White House switchboard (202) 456-1111 closing their comment line and with some inspiration from I decided to try a dozen or so Trump Organization phone numbers and politely request to leave a message for Mr. Trump. Here's what I got:

Trump International Hotel - Washington D.C. (202) 695-1100 - rang about 25 times then disconnected.

Trump Park Avenue (212) 223-3775 - The person said that I should call the main Trump Organization office at (212) 832-2000. I hadn't called them yet, so I tried them next.

Trump Organization (212) 832-2000 - First three attempts did not get through. Fourth attempt got through to someone that connected me to a voice mail where I expressed my opposition to a 20% tariff with Mexico.

Trump International Realty (212) 247-7100 - Rang four times and disconnected.

Trump International Hotel & Tower (212) 362-4715 - Person transferred me to the voice mail of a hotel manager where I left a message about opposing the executive order relating to the Mexico City policy.

Trump Place 200 Riverside Blvd (212) 362-4715 - Rang 20-ish times and disconnected.

Trump Events (212) 715-7290 - Was actually the restaurant. They connected me to the front desk, which connected me to another voice mail where I expressed my opposition to torture.

Trump Soho (212) 842-5500 - Started talking and was interrupted "Sir, sir, I apologize, we don't deal with Mr. Trump" and they hung up.

Trump National Doral Miami (305) 592-2000 - By far the nicest person I spoke with. After introducing myself the woman that picked up said she'd take my message. I expressed my opposition to Trump's refugee policy and that we needed to be doing more for Syrian refugees, and asked that my position be conveyed to Mr. Trump and she said "Absolutely, sir. Have a nice day".

Trump Winery Tasting Room (434) 977-4001 - Person connected me to a voice mail line where I expressed my concern that Trump was violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Mar-a-lago (561) 832-2600 - Person said that the new comment line was (501) 374-4242 and said that I should call that number. I googled it, and that's the Clinton Presidential Library number, and did not call. Tried calling Mar-a-lago back and it hung up / disconnected.

Trump Hotel Las Vegas (702) 982-0000 - Interrupted, "you have the wrong number" and hung up.

FYI: Byron LaMasters is a Democratic political consultant at InFocus Campaigns. He is a Texan living in DC whose interests include politics, travel, books, and baseball.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Executive Order – the implications of the refugee and immigration ban

Like me, I am sure you are all sickened by the first week of the Trump administration. While I don't usually delve into too much policy on the blog I was so infuriated by the recent Executive Order on immigration that I didn't want to let the moment pass without saying something. Earlier today I participated in a protest at the White House, but I wanted to do as much as possible with my small platform to share information about why the ban is dangerous and discriminatory. Thank you to James Blake, who is way more expert at this than I am, for obliging and for my grad school classmate who connected me with him. His bio and analysis are below. By the way, if you are interested in joining a protest against the so-called Muslim Ban, click here to find out what is happening in your city. There are still plenty of activities going on.

On Friday, January 27, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a wide-ranging Executive Order that ended the refugee resettlement program temporarily for four months, in addition to banning entry of people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. The order cuts in half the number of refugees planned to be taken in during 2017. Priority will also be given to certain religions.

Controversy has ensued. The Executive Order has drawn significant criticism from a wide range of groups. At the diplomatic level, several policy makers have questioned whether it goes against the Geneva Convention, while many other argue that it undermines U.S. world leadership. Because of the rushed nature of the Executive Order, confusion and anger has spread. Some politicians, academics, medical professionals, former interpreters to the U.S. government and athletes are caught up in the blanket-nature of the Executive Order, and are uncertain whether they can travel back to the U.S. Yesterday, amid media reports of chaos at airports, a federal judge ruled that the authorities had to stop deporting refugees and others who were stuck at the U.S. airports.

Perhaps, unsurprisingly, in the U.S., the reaction has been deeply polarized. The U.S. president tied the Executive Order’s rationale to improving national security, citing 9/11 on several occasions, and stating he wanted to clamp down on security vulnerabilities from the visa system. This will likely be the start of further policies in this area. CNN wrote an article that President Trump’s next step could be to check digital records of those immigrants seeking to enter the country. Some on the political right have praised the Executive Order as a first step in securing borders and protecting the U.S. against terrorism. The political left and center, however, is by and large furious, with the more hardline comments criticizing the president for demagoguery, inciting fear, hatred of marginalized groups and, in fact, undermining national security. Some have equated the president’s ulterior motivation in the Executive Order to be a blanket Muslim ban.

Protests against the Executive Order have been held – and are being planned – in cities across the country. Notably, on Saturday, a spontaneous demonstration was held outside JFK international airport after immigrants attempting to re-enter the U.S. were detained.

In the bigger picture, there are particularly troubling aspects to the Executive Order. The U.S. shapes global thinking through its leadership. For many years, its welcoming position to refugees has been widely recognized, and has set the tone and direction for other countries to welcome, particularly the most vulnerable of refugees from war-torn countries. Among experts, the U.S. refugee program itself is a success story. Those refugees who have been resettled have boosted their communities through innovation, diversity and cultural enrichment. The program itself has a long-tradition: the U.S. is after all at its core a nation of immigrants.

Perhaps even more troubling, the world is facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. Neighbors to Syria, particularly Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon are overwhelmed by refugees, who have fled from years of conflict in Syria. Meanwhile, refugees have flooded Europe in recent years, as they desperately seek opportunities to rebuild their lives. The pressing nature of the world refugee crisis is calling for U.S. leadership and solutions, but with the Executive Order, it has seemingly shunned responsibility and instead, shockingly, turned inwards.

In terms of security, while the Executive Order has been couched in matters of national security, it is not apparent what improvements it was trying to make. Refugees were already subject to lengthy and significant investigations by Homeland Security, with cases taking an average 12-18 months of vetting, biometrics and interviews. It is harder to get to the US as a refugee than it is by any other immigration route. The risk of letting in potentially dangerous individuals as refugees was already small.

Indeed, there is a likelihood that the Executive Order will drive increasing security risks over the longer-term, as it plays into the broader narrative of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda of a clash of civilizations with the West. The Executive Order risks aiding the radicalization of marginalized elements from the country to look for reasons to carry out attacks in the U.S. It is also a boon for the recruitment to groups such as the Islamic State.

Given the reaction and implication of the Executive Order, the only real solution seems to be to repeal it, and instead work with the system that was left in place by the Obama administration. In some key positions, such as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, the Trump administration has a wealth of experience to draw upon, and beneath these individuals are many talented security experts. The Trump administration should seek counsel from these experts and consider the Executive Order in more depth.

The US has a proud history of welcoming refugees, and fostering a community of diversity. The Executive Order has caused great confusion, hurt and embarrassment to the U.S., and, sadly has global ramifications.

James Blake is an expert in political and security risk analysis. He started his career at a leading political and security risk consultancy firm in London. He subsequently worked in-house at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, where he advised on international security matters across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Most recently, he was the sole political analyst at the International Rescue Committee. He was in Turkey conducting an assessment on refugees as the European Refugee Crisis escalated, to help with the IRC's programming in Europe. He also helped IRC teams access conflict zones and mitigate their risks as they sought to respond to the world's worst crises. James wrote geopolitical analysis for the Soufan Group for several years, and is a contributor to Jane's Intelligence Magazine.

Friday, January 27, 2017

All The World's A Stage: My rules for engaging in a new era of performative politics

I've become a big fan of the word "performative" because it so accurately captures so much of the window dressing that surrounds the progressive movement. It drives me crazy when people treat the very important and serious work of electing progressive leaders and advancing progressive policy like a hobby. You know the people who make a big deal out of the fact that they don't shave their armpits? The people who feel the need to point out that they are an ally in their Twitter profile? The activists who go to every Democratic committee meeting but are indignant when a field organizer calls their home? These are the people who believe that if a tree votes in the forest it doesn't make a sound. They are the bane of my existence.

So I totally got it when I read the somewhat-viral Medium piece "I've Already Marched" by college student and former Hillary organizer, Danielle Templeton. I did not attend the women's march and many of my reasons were included or at least alluded to in this piece. It's not fucking fun or funny. It's not enough to participate in performative feel-goodery and be convinced that you did your part. And I knew it would make me sad to see all that energy and all that anger and think of what could have been if it had been properly directed BEFORE we got into this mess.

Having said that...I totally disagree with the premise of this piece. If it's self-righteous and performative to snapchat yourself with a #DumpTrump sign having never knocked doors, so too is it to criticize those who are currently taking action while you abstain because you have "done your part." I get it, you're exhausted. I'm exhausted. We are 7 days into a Trump-presidency and I am already overwhelmed and demoralized by my own outrage. I am bitterly disappointed by the election results and in some moments just plain bitter. I didn't march because I didn't think it would have meaning for me in proportion to the emotional toll it would take, but I also know that as we move forward I must find ways to remain engaged that do feel effective and meaningful.

I've been meditating a lot on a Rabbi Tarfon quote which I feel will be the key to me to remaining politically active while maintaining my sanity over the next few months, "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

When the stakes are so high no one has truly "done their part" even if we need to take a moment to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off again. It's tempting, but unproductive, to be dismissive of those who didn't or couldn't engage in the ways that we have just as its frustrating as a long-time organizer to resist among a sea of people who are just now discovering that elections have consequences. So where do we go from here?

1) Be welcoming. Recognize that everyone has to start somewhere. Believe it or not, there was a time before you were politically active. Would you have remained engaged if people chastised you for not starting sooner? When you became an organizer in college I didn't dismiss you because I had already been doing this work for 10 years (and girl, I don't mean to pick on you. I get it.) We need new people to become active in the progressive movement because guess what? We lost. If you can't do it because it's the emotionally generous thing to do, do it because its necessary. The corollary to that is...

2) You didn't invent this shit. This means you, yes you. At every phase during my relatively brief political career there has been a generation of organizers/activists who insist that they have revolutionized the progressive movement (OFA, Bernie Bros). While you might have something to add, recognize that you stand on the shoulders of giants. You and I are able to do this kind of work because of what others have done before us. You are not a special snowflake. The fight for a more just society didn't begin when you or I showed up. As Billy Joel would say it's been always burning since the world's been turning. Have some humility. Listen. Learn. Give credit where credit is due.

3) Don't tell other people what to care about. Remember when Mike Pence got booed at Hamilton and everybody lost their shit about it? "This is a distraction! The real issue is________." Look, I don't doubt that the new administration is engaging in a fair amount of (pardon the pun) political theater to distract us from the serious issues on which they are wreaking havoc, but that doesn't mean I can't be angry about both. Like the ocean, I contain multitudes.

Recently I responded to Bernie Sanders' 23 Questions for America with concern that he and his supporters were dismissing the importance of so-called "social issues" as identity politics in favor of an agenda that focused solely on economic equality. No sooner had I posted about this on Facebook (the most effective organizing medium of all!) than a Democratic activist, who I only know because she and I are in a Facebook support group for the same rare disease, started railing at me that I shouldn't be talking about this because I should be focused on the confirmation hearings for noted bigot Jeff Sessions. (This is the same lady who inspired this post, by the way.) Of course I was outraged by Sessions' nomination as well, but I was (and remain) also concerned about the future of the Democratic party. This lady would not spit the hook and kept insisting that my issue was frivolous and that I focus on that which was of immediate concern to her. When I suggested that she might be better served organizing around Sessions' nomination rather than harassing me she responded, "I SIT ON MY DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE DO YOU?"

The reality is that this new administration is such an outrageous dumpster fire that it will be impossible to engage on every issue, and every comment that upsets you. We will have to pick and choose, just as we will have to pick and choose the ways in which we get involved. I didn't go to the march because it wasn't what I chose. I was frankly pretty offended when friends who have not been as politically engaged as I have tried to shame me about that. But neither did I feel like it was my place to judge them or tell them their choice to engage in that way wasn't meaningful. In fact, I felt more comforted and inspired by how uplifting the march seemed to be for my less political friends than I believe I would have felt from participating myself.

4) This is not about your ego. Though I understand the temptation, I am not here for people who just showed up to a movement and are already trying to lead it. Right now the progressive movement needs more soldiers, not more generals. As I said above, so many different facets of our lives are being attacked which means so many worthy and experienced progressive groups are competing for attention and resources; this is not the time to start your own. One way to tell if you are being a performative progressive is if you are only interested in participating in an action provided that you can be a leader, regardless of whether you are the most qualified to do so. Ask yourself...would you still be doing this if for some reason you were prohibited from sharing evidence on social media? If not, then it might be time to reevaluate your motivation.

5) We need doctors. I don't show up to an arthritis walk-a-thon and expect rheumatologists to come out of the woodwork and harangue me for not having done my part before. Not everyone has the talent, the personality or even the privilege to work in progressive politics full-time. What would even be the point of living in such a society? We all contribute to the things we care about in different ways and while everybody should be engaged it is unrealistic to expect everybody to be involved to the same extent as those of us who make a living out of this kind of work.

6) It has to be fun and it can't all be fun. On the surface, is there anything more performative than taking a selfie in a pink pussy hat? You don't get to get dressed up all cute, walk around outside chanting with your friends and act like we're equally engaged. On the other hand, if doing that and being part of a march like the one post-inauguration inspires you, empowers you, and puts a fire in your belly to do something more, you wear that pussy hat! You wear two or ten or twelve pussy hats and you wear them with pride!

This is going to be a long haul. For it to be sustainable it has to be enjoyable. A friend who attended the Women's march described the atmosphere as "slightly angry political mardi gras" (which, sidenote, is now the theme of my wedding) and that more than anything made me sad I'd missed it. There is nothing wrong with taking the work, but not ourselves, seriously. Indeed sometimes its the only way to stay sane. The caveat being that the fun should be a reprieve and sometimes a benefit but not the purpose or end game of the hard, important work.

7) Respect the circle of grief. As a final note, I feel like I've been fair and generous in recognizing the value of people who have just shown up to the political progressive table, so indulge me for a moment as I change tones and vent about something. Stop fucking texting me about everything that Trump does. Stop telling me that you are depressed and looking to me to comfort you, or worse yet to assuage your guilt about not having done something about this sooner. I have news for you, I'm depressed too. My soul hurts. As I wrote in my first post-election blog post, everything I've believed in and stood for and worked for my entire adult life has been turned upside down, so maybe I'm not the best person to turn to to make you feel better right now.

I understand that you feel frustrated and impotent and afraid and I appreciate that you consider me an expert and want to turn to me for advice. Obviously, I love to give it and I am glad you've asked, but I am asking you have a modicum of self-awareness. Don't treat me like your personal political sounding board and certainly don't come looking to me for a cookie. Just as it would be unfair for me to expect you to do this work full-time, sometimes I need to turn the world off too. If you are enraged and need to share that rage with another person, consider venting to someone who still lacks the proper motivation to participate politically.

Campaign Love and Mine,


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Your Official CampaignSick New Year's Countdown

After this year's election I promised to keep you apprised of the things that were making me feel good and hopeful after what we'll just call a terrible election season. I've been staying away from sharing a lot of news, mostly because I still find it pretty overwhelming but also because I have been busier than expected lo these past couple months (job hunting, I got engaged!, etc). I did want to leave 2016 with you guys on a positive note though so that we can look forward together optimistically to the New Year. So while you enjoy your holiday however you plan to spend it (ours will be on the couch eating Chinese food, because we live large) please enjoy this brief countdown of things that make me feel good going into 2017.

FIVE Inspirational Quotes

Yes, I see the irony that only one of these is from a woman, but these are the thoughts I meditate on when I am in the pits of post-election despair.

"And with this faith I will go out and carve a tunnel of hope through the mountain of despair. With this faith, I will go out with you and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows." Martin Luther King Jr

"If you’re going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt

"Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, for as long as you can." Hillary Clinton

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." Rabbi Tarfon

FOUR uplifting facts about women running for office from the 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes AND became the first woman to secure a major party's Presidential nomination

The next Congress will see a record high number of Black women representatives.

The number of women of color in the US Senate QUADRUPLED.

More than 4500 women signed up to run office post-election and that's just through She Should Run's incubator!

THREE articles I have read in the last 24hrs that made me smile

Only three passengers on BA flight enjoy champagne and selfies

Giant panda no longer endangered

Eavesdropping Uber driver saves young girl from pimps, police say

TWO songs that make me feel powerful and inspired in such times as these

ONE picture my friend who is a 2nd grade teacher sent me from an exercise where she asked her students what they learned from the election.

One final thought: time is just a construct. Celebrities will continue to die in 2017. Donald Trump will be President. But we will get through this as we get through everything, as a community. Can't think of one I'd rather be part of.

Campaign Love and Mine,