January 11, 2017

"Yes We Can!" But How? Here's a Plan to Answer our President's Eloquent Plea for Less Chat, More Action.

I had wanted to use this first blog post of 2017 to share my ideas for refocusing the blog this year. After listening to President Obama's farewell address last night, I junked that plan.

He concluded his eloquent and moving address with a plea for us to believe "not in my ability to bring about change -- but in yours." Watching the Obamas and Bidens work their way through the crowd as they exited, I wondered what I could do to respond to the president’s call to action.

The Facebook Bubble
My first thought? Post something on Facebook. But President Obama had mentioned how easy it was for us "to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods, or on college campuses, or places of worship, or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions."

Fortunately, earlier in the day I’d seen an excellent, specific plan of action from yesterday's post on my favorite senior blog, “Time Goes By.” Written by the remarkable Ronni Bennett, "the mother superior of elderblogging,” the blog has been called "the quintessential seniors' blog" by The Washington Post.

GOP Confirmation Blitz
Ronni’s post was prompted by Republican attempts to confuse and distract us today by scheduling simultaneous confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump's nominees for attorney general, secretary of state, CIA director, and the secretaries of transportation and education. On top of that, Trump also scheduled his first open press conference since last July on the same day!

When I watch the TV news tonight, I'm sure the press conference will be the lead story, while the confirmation hearings will receive short shrift.

Constituents' Phone Calls Pay Off
Ronni reminds her readers that the thousands of phone calls from constituents forced House Republicans to reverse their decision to scrap the Office of  Congressional Ethics. Many news outlets attributed the reversal to the president-elect's tweet. But most members of Congress agree it was the deluge of phone calls that forced them to backtrack.

 According to Ronni, congressional leaders place getting re-elected above what’s best for our country.

Ronni recommends using the Indivisible Guide, a document created by former Capitol Hill staffers to help citizens resist Trump’s agenda by using strategies that they know from their former Hill jobs are the most likely to succeed in making Congress listen.

Here's the text of Ronni's suggestions:
So our job this week is to:
• Do our homework on these nominees 
• Follow the hearings as best we can depending on how much attention the press pays as the president-elect's press conference shuck and jive is the shiniest of shiny object this week 
• Deluge our senators with phone calls about where we stand about eachof the nominees 
• You might throw in how you feel about cramming this many confirmation hearings into one day, especially one when the president-elect holds a press conference 
To prepare for your call, use those scripts in the Indivisible Guide and this page under the header “Calling Script” to help write a script in your own words. 
Even with as many conflicts of interest there are with nearly every nominee – all of whom are millionaires, billionaires, insiders or highest level military – I expect all, with the possible exception of Jeff Sessions, to be approved. 
We are not going to win everything we resist but maintaining democracy is never-ending work and we are as responsible to do our part as every other age group. And it IS relevant to our lives. 
Remember that slogan from the Sixties: The personal is the political. My friend Tony Sarmiento sent a link to the Wikipedia page about that for us.
Call your senators before the vote of the full Senate on these nominees. Wednesday is a good day to do it.

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