What We Can Do - 11/15/16

Time to get pragmatic.

After November 8th, for three straight days I shook with anger and bathed in despair. Every single moment I would manage to break through and have a normal thought it would be quickly undercut by another realization of another crucial part of the fabric of society that was also in jeopardy. I was manic, running around donating, shoring up support, trying to understand both what was happening and why it happened. On the fourth and fifth days, the weekend began and I started getting away from the news and talking to people, sharing that anger, trying to figure out the way forward. And yesterday was the first day I shut down. Just mired in the endless fatigue of all this, I could not do anything. I hadn't given up, but my body had. I couldn't look at anything. I couldn't do anything. I just played video games all day.

This is when it becomes scary.

Because there's a point when you're getting your ass kicked where it's really easy to let go. Because it's not the punishment that hurts so much, but the difficulty of summing up energy to keep fighting (though for many people in this society, the punishment will absolutely hurt more). It's no mistake that in life, sports, or any number of things, you are largely defined by what you do when things are at their most difficult. And it's the most important time to put one foot in front of the other and try to do a daily bit of good. Because make no mistake, the American people are going to have to start doing the things the American government should be doing.

Last week, Meredith, Evan and I were talking and we realized that a starting a kind of "weekly call of action" was going to be important. Not some big philosophical diatribe, nor an attempt to hit you with a million things and information overload. It will just a very simple ushering of one or two pragmatic things we can do this week. And not just this week, but every week after that. Because while the donations to the ALCU and Planned Parenthood and food banks are skyrocketing, soon they will start to wane and that's when it will matter most.

But today, there is no other choice but to start with the appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist. To be very clear, people are freaking out because Bannon is a white nationalist who has made a career off whipping white nationalists into a frenzy ... Just making that white nationalism part very clear. In running Brietbart (a "news" organization that makes Fox News look like it had the measured digntity of Edward R. Murrow), he has advocated the most hateful thinking possible. To wit, here are some sample headlines:

And if you're looking for personal quotes from Bannon, here's a thorough New York Times article that takes you through the greatest hits (Hint: they are horrendous).

But what can we do about this? He already made the selection!

The answer is we give powerful Republicans hell and put them under pressure. While emails and tweets are all well and good, they can be reaidly ignored. Even letter wrting doesn't quite have the same impact. No, the main way to clog up the works of any congressional member of our democracy is to call their office like crazy.

So here is the phone number of Paul Ryan's office: (202) 225-3031.

Let him know that in all the seas of things that are not okay right now, this is especially not okay. Also, while we're at it, here's the number for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (202) 224-2541. I've called 3 times this morning. Got put on hold. Have the feeling they are already dealing with this in a pretty heavy way. So that's why it shouldn't stop.

And if especially if you live in a Republican area, call your local congressmen:


Remember, none of this is normal.

Let's get to work.