We Have Always Lived In Presidential Primary Season: A Half-Assed Activist Post About Getting Through This Shitshow Without Perpetuating Or Tolerating Bad Behavior And Keeping Some Tiny Spark Of Hope Alive

If you're in the USA, and it seems like everyone and their sister is running for the Democratic nomination right now, do you often find yourself:

  • Reliving/re-litigating the 2016 primary season?
  • Seeing how little the pundit/expert/media class learned from the 2016 experience as you hear about yet another dude whose name begins with "B" anointed as the wunderkind-of-the-week frontrunner who will save us all? 
  • Trying to balance excitement and manage expectations re: "Historic Representation!" vs. "Hmmmmm, those policies, tho."
  • Afraid to express enthusiasm for a particular candidate because you don't want to also hang out the "Debate Me" flag or invite a deluge of trolling and abuse?
  • Worried that saying any negative things about candidates now during the vetting process will damage the ultimate 2020 nominee? 
  • Sick of calls for "#unity" and appeals to "#electability" already?
  • Wanting to not get sucked in to the whole thing but getting sucked in nonetheless?
  • Looking for useful ways to harness your feelings and stave off despair? 

Hi, I'm Captain Awkward aka JenniferP aka The Half-Assed Activist and I am here with some suggestions for you/me/us. 

Half-Assed Activist Ground Rules Review: 

  • This is a series about navigating the current morass of United States politics constructively while also managing serious anxiety and depression. I spend a lot of time online (which is where I know most if not all of you from originally) so expect to see a lot about social media and media literacy. Previous installments in this series are here and here
  • I am expressing my own opinions for free in the off-chance my personal processes will help others. This post is not an invitation to debate with me or fellow commenters about specific candidates or political leanings. There's a special Patreon tier for that.
  • I assume you have a working search engine and critical thinking skills. I am pretty confident in my facts, ergo I am not footnoting this like a term paper, if you want to find out more about something or do a fact-check of something you read here, I'm assuming you can handle that so you get what you need to move forward constructively. Commenting with "Cite?" gets you linked here
  • I curse when I'm upset. If that offends you, go in peace and hit that back button! I'm upset right now so I'm gonna talk like a pirate, also, "gallows humor" is my love language. 

Cool? Cool. Let's do this.

Are you a Democrat or do you at least lean with us most of the time on Election Day?Or are you one of those moderate Republicans I used to know in my teen years, when my home state of Massachusetts elected you from time to time and you still somehow made sure there was health care and schools and that gay people could live in peace? Great, welcome, here is some actual useful stuff you might do if you want to make the political situation better. 

I. Assume "Unity!" in the General and use the Primary as intended: For vetting candidates and pushing them to make their platforms better and more responsive. 

Nothing is making my shoulders go up around my ears these days quite like seeing someone express a doubt about a 2020 candidate and then having a bunch of shrieking randos descend and call for "Unity!" 

I find their whole deal suspect. "We won't defeat $#@% in 2020 if you even mention the fact that a candidate [totally messed up the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings and gets a little handsy sometimes][voted for FOSTA/SESTA which is having a horrible impact on both sex workers and online speech (this is lots of people and that shit needs addressed and REPEALED)][Announced their candidacy without a single policy proposal][Wouldn't release his tax returns in 2016 which gave cover to $#[email protected]@#$%][Just proposed a 'bipartisan' bill to address 'the opioid crisis' that totally victimizes disabled people and chronic pain patients]." 

O rly? But that stuff is common knowledge, so are we supposed to never talk about it and pretend it didn't happen? I confess I have little patience for the people/bots who respond en masse to every mention of a candidate with a drive-by-single-definitely-not-focus-group-tested-talking-point soundbite about why the the person is bad (I'm calling this "the #butheremails gambit" from now on), but if "Evaluating a politician's past record and comparing it to what they say they are going to do and giving them a chance to explain themselves and hoping that they've learned from any mistakes" can sink a candidacy, let's play some battleship now while we're still close to the shore. 

I practice voting as harm-reduction, ergo I promise you, I promise you! I promise you: I will vote for a Democratic Party-selected roll of paper towels that fell in poop and then got glitter and Cheerios stuck on it if the alternative is the incumbent White Supremacist Kakistocrat with an R next to his name (and that includes his homophobic Ken Doll sidekick in case of Impeachment), how's that for some unity.  Right now our people are running against each other and I intend to look closely and honestly at what they have to offer and do what I can to make the things I care about stand out and make the things that are liabilities suck less. 

Also, let's talk about this "electability" panic around defeating $%#@ for a sec. The current White House occupant is a shitty game show host who lost the popular vote by >3 million votes and cheated, lied, and flop-sweated his way into office where he proceeded to commit a series of impeachable offenses and crimes against humanity. He squeaked through by a millimeter and possibly nobody was more surprised than him, his whole master plan was he was gonna lose and then launch an even worse television network than Fox News to flog his brand and increase his cult of personality only foregrounding misogyny (vs. racism, as he did with his Birther nonsense) , except oh shit, his foreign backers were slightly too good at their jobs. 

He could win again in 2020, he really could, and that's fucking terrifying, because a lot of our institutions are still not prepared to deal with an authoritarian takeover, but here are three things I believe 100%:

  • He can't do it if we have a free and fair election in 2020. There are more of us than there are of them. 
  • Spackling over every flaw in our field of candidates because we're terrified of him and his supporters is not how we get this done. 
  • We should not listen to Republicans or supposed Independent/Undecided voters about what we "need" to do to win their votes. "If Democrats don't ______, I might have to vote for $#@%" = "I voted for #$!! last time and am definitely planning to vote for him again, I'm just looking for a way to blame that on you." Tell that person to fuck off, either out loud or quietly in your mind, and come hang out where people who aren't trying to perpetuate a hostage situation live. Those people have nothing to offer us. Stop carrying their water. 

I don't know about you, but I'm not living my life like a talking gold-plated toilet and his cult get to define what's possible for the next two years or looking at everything through the lens of what I fear they will do. Life handed us An Occasion, I'm gonna RSVP "Rise to it." We flipped the House of Representatives in 2018, "electability" is what WE say it is, and these neo-confederate garbage sacks and their corporate media enablers are not the boss of us. It's not that I'm not scared, I definitely am, it's that I'm not going to let fear be an excuse for inaction. We have some urgent crises to address, we still get to make OUR primary process reflect OUR priorities for what kind of country we want to be. 

P.S. You know who has "unity"? Motherfucking Republicans, that's who. They squabble like recently divorced parents all the livelong day but they pull together when it's voting time, even the so-called "mavericks" among them. Unity counts when it counts. 

II. Organize to protect Voting Rights and stop Voter Suppression 

In my opinion this is one of the most impactful thing American citizens can do for ourselves and each other. 2016 was the first presidential election without the protections of the Voting Rights Act in place. In the 2018 midterms there was BLATANT hijinks and election theft. Look at the 2018 Georgia governor's race, where one of the candidates was the official in charge of protecting election security and he openly kicked likely voters for his opponent off the rolls and did everything he could to make voting difficult, inefficient, and unfair for her supporters. These problems have not been fixed, and unless voting where you live is safe, accessible, easy, and fair for all citizens, it can and will happen again. Russia exploited our existing divisions and vulnerabilities: openly racist voter suppression efforts, gerrymandering (so it's easy to tell where 'swing' vs. 'safe' districts are where dissuading a few people from voting through targeted social media efforts using data directly from the voter rolls could make measurable difference), over-reliance on voting machines with known vulnerabilities with no paper backup, strict ID laws and putting up other barriers to voting. 

Until voting is accessible, safe, easy, and secure for every US citizen we're still vulnerable. The more the courts get packed with conservative judges, the less recourse we'll find, so we have to fix it now. I beg every person reading this to find an organization that is working on expanding and protecting voting rights and give them your time, money, and attention. Here are some roundups of organizations doing the work if you're looking for somewhere to start: 8 Voting Rights Organizations To Know Before The 2020 Election Rolls Around (Bustle), this Mashable piece about organizations mobilizing voters for 2018, this 2018 piece from Dissent magazine that lays out many vectors for protecting the vote and fighting voter suppression, tons of states have initiatives about restoring voting rights after incarceration, there is also a Voting Rights bill in Congress you could ask your current electeds to support

Your dream team can't win if their voters can't reliably vote. 

Speaking of current electeds...

III.  Pressure/support the people in power NOW to use their power NOW to exercise Checks +Balances NOW. 

Wanna know why our present Supreme Court situation sucks so bad? The Obama administration didn't fight hard enough for their Supreme Court pick while they were in office and WE didn't fight hard enough for for their Supreme Court pick when they were in office because everybody thought Democrats were going to win the presidency in 2016 and nobody wanted to do anything to mess that up.

One of the ways I protect my personal mental health is to try to stay off the Hot Take Hamster Wheel, so I'm going to save my entire "Can We Please Impeach The Motherfucker Already?" stump speech for another day. And yet, when I see pundits and leaders in the House of Representatives (the same ones we knocked on doors for because we wanted somebody to finally fix a few things) be like "Hrmmmm, I don't know, I think we should hold off until 2020 and not get distracted" it's like, "Hey Congressfriends, there are concentration camps within our borders, we stole babies and jailed them, we're trying to wholesale disappear transgender people from public life, were you planning to "rebuild the middle class" over the mass graves? 'Free college and Medicare for everyone who isn't dead yet' is not a great slogan, so forgive me if I don't trust your long-term strategy to get us through this Fascism crisis after it worked so well with Merrick Garland. Do you believe in our cause or not? Do you wanna fight for our cause or not? Time to dance like no one's watching and fight with the tools you have with the time you have. Wasn't this y'all's favorite song? "

:Musical interlude while Captain Awkward slaps the word 'bipartisan' out of a few hundred/several thousand mouths: 

Ok, we're back. 

I don't know, y'all, I think maybe our electeds need to hear from us, loudly, their office telephones should give off smoke, their email boxes should overflow, the paper trays under their fax machines should always go hungry, and also we should be organizing sustained demonstrations, strikes, and other ways to exert visible, un-ignorable pressure. 

IV. What's the Plan B if we fail?

What would you be willing to do if the 2020 election doesn't go our way? What if all of the evidence of obstruction and treason gets an un-redacted airing and...nothing happens...because the Senate and the conservative wing of the Supreme Court continue enabling all of it? What reproductive rights go full Handmaid's Tale/RedClocks (which, I don't know if you've noticed, but fourteen states are trying to set the cutoff at 6 weeks or "your period is a little late" and non-zero of those states are debating whether the punishment should be death)? What if having ICE act as a Gestapo entrapping and rounding people up for deportation isn't enough and brown shirt vigilante groups start kidnapping immigrants and refugees by the hundreds and turning them over

If you knew this would continue until 2020 and beyond, what would you do?

Would you strike? March? Not just Women's-March or Science-March march, but MARCH-march, every day, for weeks or months for as long as it took? Would you hide/shield people from the authorities? Forge documents, slow down the wheels of government, donate to suddenly "illegal" and "subversive" groups? Would you hold up a plane if your flight was deporting people? Would you challenge border agents who board your bus or train? Who would you feed? Who could you trust, which of your neighbors would look the other way? If you're a soldier, would you refuse to become a jailer of your fellow citizens and of immigrants to your country? What happens when #Resistance becomes about life and death resistance for you, specifically, for your family and friends and neighbors and people you love (this is already here for so many people, people are disappearing now, people are dying now, literally everyone in my current household is in this world because the Affordable Care Act kept us here when it mattered), maybe it's not this dire for you, not yet, but if it were...

What would you be willing to do? What would you give? 

I ask because...could you do some of that now? 

The flight attendants effectively ended the 2019 shutdown, what could we end if we showed their courage and solidarity? I am lazy and a physical coward, I want regular paychecks, I want functioning institutions, I want elections to work as intended, I want government to become so, incredibly boring so I can go back to making jokes and helping people sort out comedies of manners with my time, but that's not our situation. 

I don't know if this is common knowledge but my entire undergraduate field of study was totalitarian regimes and religion-in-politics throughout history, so I say this with some authority: Authoritarian regimes don't de-entrench or un-elect themselves. We compare $#@% to Hitler, that's fair, both were gross buffoons who were laughed at right up until the second they took power, even Godwin of Godwin's Law was like "Nope, this is a totally fair comparison!" We in the US tend to think of Hitler in terms of our four little years of WW2, which conveniently maps to our four-year election cycle, not the 12 years he was in power and managed to cart off about twelve million of his own citizens to be murdered AND fight a war on multiple fronts. Franco strangle-held Spain as a Fascist dictatorship for 36 years. Turkmenbashi, who The Economist and other people who should know better used to make jokes about because he named the days of the week after himself and his family and went on state television to read his bad poetry, that guy took power in 1990 and died in office in 2006. His successor is also a dictator who loves golf. LOL, who would put their family in charge of everything and think that media exists to glorify them and their personal brand, how hilarious and eccentric, right? Too bad about the TWENTY NINE YEARS of torture and murder! 

"We're not like other countries, we're special, we have institutions and checks and balances to protect us" = WE ARE DEPRESSINGLY JUST LIKE OTHER COUNTRIES, WE SORT OF DO HAVE SOME CHECKS & BALANCES, FOR NOW, SO LET'S USE THEM. But also, let's think about how we're going to back that up if we have to back it up. The other side will lecture us about "civility" and ignore every norm and safeguard of good-faith governing while they kill our most vulnerable neighbors in front of us and tell us it didn't happen but also that it was completely justified when it happened. That famous "First they came for the ....." poem isn't a to-do list, it's a reminder to not let "Never Again" become "Oops We Totally Did It Again" on our watch.  History suggests that it takes just 3.5% of a population to engage in sustained nonviolent demonstrations to provide sufficient safety in numbers and pressures to change an unjust regime. Where do you fit into that 3.5%? Time to plan, friends. 

V. The title of this post led me to believe it would be about the 2020 Democratic Primary, Jennifer. 

Sorry, my Manifesto-hand got itchy. Let's talk about the 2020 Democratic Primary and how to make it suck less than 2016. 

Got a favorite candidate or candidates? Still thinking about it? Great. Here's how you can help your faves AND your country: 

  • Give them $. I know, I KNOW, it means you will now get 1 jillion overly-familiar emails and texts like "Hey Jennifer, it's me, your ex, I mean, that Senate candidate you helped out one time with a $10 ActBlue donation, don't you want to make beautiful Presidential music together?" but you can unsubscribe from/filter most of that stuff. Donations - total donations, number of donors - count for a ton in who gets political coverage, invitations to debate, and who gets taken seriously, with the idea being that someone who is motivated enough to give money will be motivated to turn out. Like someone's ideas and want to make sure they stick around to speak their piece? Send money.
  • Volunteer for a campaign. I know, I KNOW, more text messages and emails, just what you always wanted! And most of these will be some form of "Hey, Jennifer, thanks for signing up to volunteer, any way you can also send money?" But if you care deeply about this person's message and want to raise their profile, these early boosts of attention and energy make a difference. If you're not committed to a candidate yet but want to do some work now anyway, check out groups like Indivisible, Swing Left, Postcards To Voters, Get Her Elected, Disability/#CripTheVote efforts, Showing Up For Racial Justice,  scroll through the One Thing You Can Do site, and/or find people in your community who are already working on the things you care about and ask them how you can help. 
  • Talk to the people in *your* life about your issues and values. Use your own social feeds and your own meatspace connections to feel people out and spread your positive support. You probably know who in your life is the most likely to be receptive to at least hearing you out and who you should just talk about the weather with. Leave the great Mythical Undecided Voter Who Can Only Be Reached By Yelling @ Strangers alone, that's not your work, I'm not sure those people are even real. 
  • Make the positive case and focus on policies vs. personalities/media narratives (which can be v. racist and sexist, as we know). Consider scripts like "I really like what _____ has to say so far about [issue that is personally very important to you], I'm not aware of any candidate who is addressing this as carefully, but obviously I want to hear from any candidate who makes [issue] a centerpiece in their campaign." It's early days yet. The Devil is in the details but we don't have to fight to the death about everything this second. Tell stories, talk about what is important to you. People who disagree with you can respect you if they know you have integrity and belief in where you stand. 
  • You're trying to hold open doors, not check boxes. The first primaries are NINE months away and there are at least 19 people officially running. A lot can happen between now and next February, ok? Nobody is the Anointed One, "electability" is what WE decide it is, leaving a positive impression as someone who listens and can take "eh, I haven't decided yet" for an answer is way better than arguing someone into a grudging defeat in the Facebook comments that will have zero or possibly a negative impact in the voting booth. 
  • Focus more on finding & boosting like-minded people than on convincing opponents. In this election and in general! Spend your time connecting with people and boosting organizations and people you can believe in and be proud to support. Winning elections is more about turning out supporters than it is about persuading opponents. 
  • When in doubt, ask questions. If you're talking to someone who basically agrees with you about [life][governing] but is strongly for or against another candidate or totally undecided, what is their chief area of concern? The oldest tool in the organizing toolkit is "Find out what people need and then organize to meet those needs." Politics is not a fandom, so, how do we get those needs met and are there multiple people/angles who could do that? 
  • Let people have their enthusiasm, esp. people with marginalized identities. We're gonna need all the enthusiasm we can get before this is over. I can be skeptical and want thorough vetting of everybody's record and still get that it's amazing to see a field full of "firsts" and diverse representation. Who am I to argue someone out of their excitement at the possibility of being represented at the top level of government by someone like themselves? A lot of people in 2016 asked me if I was "just gonna vote with my vagina" and I was like "Well, those aren't exactly detachable nor convenient for filling out a ballot, and also, does that mean you're a Wangocrat or a Dongublican, do tell (actually don't, no one cares) also genitalia isn't a determinant of gender, also are we pretending that men are more rational than women, that's actually hilarious." 
  • Don't gloss over legitimate criticisms, esp. from people with marginalized identities. Listen, I like Elizabeth Warren a ton, I have since her famous "nobody got rich on their own" Senate campaign speech, she's just churning out policies and standing on picket lines and explaining government to people with passion and purpose, and a giant part of my soul is like 'HELLO ECON GRANDMA, PLEASE MAKE POLITICS BORING AGAIN THANK YOU, MAY MY EYES GLAZE OVER THREE PARAGRAPHS INTO ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS DURING YOUR TIME IN OFFICE." I think she also fucked the dog on the whole "accidentally claimed Cherokee ancestry/rising to DNA-testing bait" thing in a way that you can go find many, many, many smart indigenous writers talking about. If that is a deal-breaker for someone, esp. someone with an indigenous background, it is not for me to try to lecture that person into overlooking stuff that harms them! You know what falls on me if I am a Warren supporter? Using whatever clout and pull I have to make sure that her proposed policies toward indigenous communities a) exist and b) don't suck, and, should she be elected, holding her feet to the fire to ensure she follows through. The proof will be in the policy pudding or it won't, trying to talk people out of their lived experiences is both useless and irritating.
  • Don't spend your goodwill and integrity excusing bullshit. A very dear friend and much-admired feminist writer wrote an editorial in support of Al Franken when the news of his handsy gross behavior first broke. Am I going to name names or link that thing? Nope. Did she make some nuanced, sophisticated points about the hypocrisy of the right wing in the time of President "It's Okay to Just Grab People Down There" that were totally overlooked in the furor around the piece and the Senator's resignation? Yep. Will I delete any and all comments attempting to re-litigate this matter? Consider them pre-deleted. Did it physically pain me to watch her get attacked and see her credibility suffer on behalf of a crap dude who definitely, definitely did not deserve her sacrifice? Ouch. I ranted about this on Twitter a few weeks back (evergreen opening sentence if you've met me before) but I do not think we win anyone to our cause when we defend indefensible behavior. Pretending that one time Bill Clinton tripped on his dick and fell into White House Intern Pool was Totes Not A Big Deal is still having consequences for our democracy. Did the creepiest members of the Right Wing Scream Machine spew hypocrisy juice all over the place? It's what they do. Did all kinds of supposedly Very Intelligent Democratic Leaders doubling down on that dude's series of half-truths and unforced errors help the world one goddamn iota? His finger-wag alone, y'all. His finger-wag alone. How was I gonna look my not very political Grandma in the eye and say "Um, I think he is both truthful and a great president" after he wagged that finger and lied? "He was better than the alternative." Ok, but that's a hostage situation and that's not the same as "He's great!" "There are no perfect candidates." Ummmmm yeah don't make me be the Killmonger "IS THIS YOUR KING?" person in 2020, ok? Can we please learn? I don't think Great Leaders make everyone who supports them and cares for them into apologists for their inability to keep hands where they belong. We have options. #NOCREEPS2020.
  • That doesn't mean indulging the haters. A gentle "I read that too, but did you see where [candidate] addressed this [+ link]?" or "I've seen a lot of people saying that, but it's been fact-checked and refuted [+ link]" or "That concerns me too, but I think that this policy is so important I'd like to give the person chance to address that" + "It's okay if we support different people but can we agree to keep future conversation about policies?" can go a long way, I think, maybe not toward convincing people but definitely toward figuring out who is operating in good faith and who is mostly looking for an excuse to yell at you. We can also push back on sexist, racist, homophobic and able-ist language and narratives. 
  • Speaking of yelling & haters... Look, while we're here, let's talk about 2016 for a second. I am trying, really, really trying, to look at candidates and their platforms with fresh eyes and not judge them by the worst behavior of their worst supporters. When that "worst behavior" includes a solid year of "You deserve to be raped and murdered if you don't support my guy" [AND YES IT WAS A GUY] from hordes of strangers, when that behavior includes losing what I thought were lifelong friends over their inability to let me mention a major party's nominee, not the primary candidate, the nominee when she was the nominee, on my own social media feed go by in peace without ranting at me for hours and telling me I was everything wrong with our country even though we agreed on 95% of everything, it is not easy, but I am trying. I am still actually extremely angry about all of it, as I am sure are those friends I don't talk to anymore but miss every day, but I am trying. Here's the deal: You get fresh eyes and the benefit of the doubt as a starting point. I get freedom from yelling and abuse for the next 563 consecutive days. That's how it works, that's the only way it works, you cannot harass people into supporting your person, and if you try I'm going to assume you are either a bot or an abusive asshole, the primary difference being "do I block AND report or just block" and move on. I think right wing calls for "civility" are Fascist-enabling bullshit, but here on the Left I gotta say: It doesn't have to be like last time. If you can't do this with kindness and integrity and by talking about policies and just, like, a general absence of abuse and harassment, then you can't do it near me, and if our republic falls because of your inability to be a nice person for 563 days because you'd rather GamerGate Your Way Through Life than support a slightly different avatar for the things we all claim we want, I guess I'll see you in the tunnels. #Unity

Still reading? Awesome, I'm definitely still writing. 

VI. Politics Self-Care Potpourri

Here are a few general things that are improving my well-being these days:

  • Finding a few trusted, reliable sources for media and commentary and ignoring the vast majority of stuff. A few I'll boost: Gaslit Nation(when you need a reminder that people COULD and DID see all this coming), Celeste Pewter (she's a former legislative staffer with a great mix of information and reminders of what to do and how to do it), Reveal News (The Center For Investigative Reporting, hands down the best source of information on immigration issues and keeping track of family separation stuff). I have others but that's good for now. 
  • Muting the social media feeds of everyone who has run for president since 1974 (when I was born). It doesn't stop me from seeing everything, but I don't have to know every breath and mood to know stuff, and this whole "So-and-so fired off a tweet, oh shit, I guess we have a new foreign policy now!" form of government is incredibly not working for me. 
  • Blocking Politico, FiveThirtyEight Dot Com, and basically ignoring polls. This is my personal thing, I don't hate you if you read those sites, I'm just gonna say that much like the "UNITY!" shriekers and civility-humpers, their whole middle child "but who has MOMENTUM" deal is unpersuasive to me, I don't think that "political junkies" whose frame of reference is "the contest is exciting in its own right!" are all that important especially when life or death shit is on the line, I don't think that polls measure anything but a snapshot of a current moment (and since $%#@ paid people to manipulate them in his favor, do they even measure that), I think these sites make a subtextual argument that it's more important to BE right than to DO right and I reject all of it. 
  • This time it's personal: Were you a prominent pundit or journalist who was really deeply "concerned" about Hillary Clinton's emails and kept that story alive to the exclusion of all others about her in 2016? Sorry, as far as I am concerned you died in a tragic accident and I will never again know what you think about the world, hope your funeral was great, I didn't go, hope your latest piece was great, I won't be reading or watching it ever, you are blocked now and forever, be well. Here's a song to remember me by. Bonus: Do you think "identity politics" are "a distraction" and "political correctness" has "gone too far"? Let's block each other now, it will save time and we can stay on the right side of my proposed Civility Pact. 
  • Holding myself to a 5-1 rule. For every piece of political journalism or commentary I "share" on my social feeds, I have to do five actually useful things:  Donate $5 somewhere in my community, make 5 calls to my Congressfolk, check in on 5 people close to me who are affected by political events and see if I can do anything for them, track five pieces of state legislation through the process and contact my state elected people as necessary if they need a poke. That Washington Post or Guardian writeup must be pretty damn special if it's worth all that! 
  • Keeping it local. My neighborhood threw out an alderman who inherited her office from her dad and elected a Latinx housing activist and community organizer by thirteen votes. It's going to make a difference. 
  • Speaking of local, miss me with all third party presidential candidates and campaigns. Blah blah "our corrupt two-party system" blah blah cool run for fucking dog catcher and school committee and state office for 20 years and do the boring work of actually affecting something in your community where you live in a positive way, then talk to me about how you want to be president, otherwise just write a normal book proposal and try to sell it like normal people and spare us your grift. The only third party I see approaching politics at this hyper-local level and strategically forging a coalition to operate within a two-party system right now is the DSA (who did a bunch of organizing for the awesome alderman who just won in my ward), so, props, I acknowledge that you exist, good job team! Libertarians, everyone knows you're just Republicans who like weed. Greens, you should probably be way more popular than you are and I think you are doing some cool stuff in local politics, let's talk when you flip two Congressional districts, until then, peace I guess but I'm not pretending your last presidential candidate could successfully lead a middle school field trip, much less guide the country through a constitutional crisis. (Furthermore, a most of y'all's third parties are also sooooooooooo very painfully whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite, which, I am also white but I think that should maybe tell you something about your recruiting and organizing priorities.) If a Third Party presidential campaign is where your True North lies, go there, I guess, we'll always have today, allow me to salute you in passing for giving a shit about something enough to work at it and lmk when you've nominated someone so I can block/mute everything about them. Kisses! 
  • I am trying my best to seek out people who are focused on solutions and who are not giving into hopelessness, whataboutism, or despair. I found this short film about the Green New Deal narrated by AOC extremely hopeful and compelling, maybe you will too. While we're applying critical thinking to policy proposals, I'd like to poke every "that can never happen" and "that's impossible" argument and see what crawls out before I accept it at face value (Maybe they're born with it, maybe it's Maybelline, maybe it's a habit of investment in the status quo).

How's that, friends/team/buds/comrades? DO YOU FEEL SANER AND MORE EMPOWERED? Or just, comforted in the knowledge that you're not alone in swimming in a sea of fury and trash opinions? The good news is that Mr. Awkward just fed me, which has a way of reducing Rant Velocity in our house, so, we're done for today. 

Thanks for reading, feel free to share this and use any part of it that is useful to you in these coming days and months, thanks always to people who support my work. If you'd like some help re-adjusting after absorbing all that my dear friend combined his music with someone's awesome stop-motion short film and there's something about this that made me feel like my soul got a good combing and is all de-tangled and shiny again. 

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