When I started #actiontrumpshate, it was in reaction to the tsunami of information and calls to action I was seeing on social media. I felt overwhelmed and I wanted to help readers winnow down mass outrage into real action. My strategy has always been to pick one topic, event or group for the week, and present in-depth analysis of why focusing on that one item is important, along with an action or a set of actions, as well as background information and a reading list.
I have to admit, this week has defeated me.
There’s no one thing to say without sounding like I’m ignoring so many others. I’ve referred to action in the post-Trump world as feeling like a game of whack-a-mole before (you’re welcome for the video, btw), but in the context of helping readers avoid that sensation. This week it’s inescapable. Barack Obama addressed the nation for the last time as President. The Senate voted last night at 1:30am to approve a budget that is the first step to dismantling the ACA. Corey Booker stood against the confirmation of fellow senator, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, but then he (and 12 other Democrats) voted against a Bernie Sanders bill that would have lowered the cost of prescription drugs. Trump’s nominees for top posts in the government have failed to fully participate in the standard vetting process for government service, like lazy teenagers who refuse to write a college application essay because they know that their parents will just write a big check to the family alma mater instead, but the confirmation process is moving forward nonetheless. Trump gave his first press conference since July (compared to President Obama’s 18 between election in 2008 and inauguration, and Bush’s 11), during which he mostly smirked at America. Then there’s dossier about his ties to Russia, which is certainly a real thing that exists, but we don’t know how much of it is true.
It’s like episode 7 of Twin Peaks, when the mill burns, Cooper gets shot, Catherine and Shelly almost get murdered, Doctor Jacoby has a heart attack and Leland kills Jacques Renault, only real and not fun to watch at all.
There’s no one thing I can tell you to do in light of this deluge. So I’ll give you some choices, how about that?
Make some calls I know this refrain is getting old, but this is when we need to really dig in. Whether it’s to your representatives about a Trump nominee or the Affordable Care Act, or a call to the Office of Government Ethics, about conflicts of interest for Trump and his nominees, make that call. Pick something that feels personal, tell the staffer who answers what you think, and how you expect to be represented and that you vote. Some Republicans, including Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rob Portman of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine, and Bob Corker of Tennessee have publicly advocated for creating a new plan before repeal gets underway, so it’s crucial to encourage every lawmaker we can to resist repeal with no replacement.
Make plans to go to the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21 No it’s not just for women. I’m a woman, I’m going and I really hope to see women and men of every color, religion and socio-economic status there. (I also really hope is to see Connie Britton there, but that’s another story.) I’ve spoken with a few people working on the NYC chapter of the march and they all emphasized that this is a positive march, that it is designed to give a voice to all citizens who care about civil rights, health care and the fabric of civil society. It’s not supposed to be a negative downer about how much we hate Trump, it’s supposed to put him on notice that he works for all of America, not just for the minority that voted for him.
Enterprise Rent-a-Car is offering a deal on their car sharing program for marchers–use this link and the rental comes down to about $270 for a four-person car, which is not much more than bus tickets, which are very hard to come by at this point. If you can’t go to D.C. there are sister marches around the country, and world (280 at last count!) or you can donate to help support the march and subsidize other marchers who are going.
If you are going, buy a D.C. Metrocard by Friday of this week and they’ll ship it to you to make the inevitable crush of humans filling the metro a little easier. If you’re in NYC and you want to make a really killer sign to broadcast your message of positive empowerment, this Facebook group lists signmaking parties and other fun.
Support the ACA Yup, this is what I wrote about last week. Everything there still applies, but with some new developments.
1. Read this article about how repealing the ACA will affect EVERYONE WITH HEALTH INSURANCE, not just people who get subsidies. Your employer-sponsored health insurance is currently required to: cover birth control and other preventative lady care, not cost more for women than for men, not discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, not have a lifetime limit on benefits for things like mental health inpatient stays and treatment for things like caner and MS, cover mental health care, set a a limit on the amount you spend out of pocket per year, be available to children up to age 26 under a parent’s plan. All of those protections came with the ACA, and all could be taken away.
The senate also voted against an amendment that would have explicitly kept CHIP, a health insurance program that has been around since the 90s, that is a state and federal partnership to provide affordable health insurance to children, out of bounds to cuts. So yeah, they’re willing to go there, apparently.
Call your representatives. Tell them how pissed and scared you are about this and how your family cannot spend more for less.
2. Senator Bernie Sanders and the gang have organized protests against the repeal of the ACA for this Sunday, Jan. 15. Go to one, make a sign, meet some nice socialists.
Start being assertive about calling things by their real names There’s a Facebook screenshot meme that’s going around of a guy talking about how he can’t wait for the disaster of Obamacare to be repealed, but then wait, he gets his insurance through the ACA and he doesn’t know that they are the same thing. I’m pretty sure this is made up, but I’m also pretty sure that a lot of people actually think this. Obamacare is a dumb name that Republicans gave the Affordable Care Act to belittle it and make it unpopular with voters who don’t like Obama. It worked. The Republicans could repeal the ACA, change nothing except eliminate the mandate and fine that kicks in when you go uninsured, and then call it Trumpcare® and some people would think they had solved health care.
Call it the ACA and complain to the media when they call it Obamacare–that name is propaganda that worked. And don’t ever, ever call President Barack Obama Barry, unless he personally asks you to.
I’m not saying start a million Facebook wars. I’m saying, let’s be careful and precise with language because it has a cumulative effect on how we form meaning.
I won’t lie to you, next week is going to be a rough one. Onward! my friends.