What to do when discouraged: Americans of Conscience Checklist

Jen Hofmann: Maybe you’ve been feeling it too—the news, the president, the border wall, the climate crisis, racist people in power, international corruption. We’re well past the two-year mark, and it’s still the same awful dudes at the top making worse decisions by the day.

Can we take a moment to just be honest about how overwhelming this is—and what to do about it?

When nothing seems to change, it’s demoralizing. It’s beyond infuriating. It’s enough to make you want to turn off the news, close the laptop, recycle the paper and just ghost it for the next two years.

At the core of this overwhelm and frustration is a flawed thought: I can change this myself.

If you’re accustomed to being listened to and respected… If you’re the kind of person who has had even fleeting success in life… If you’re like me and overcome big challenges, then we have been under the spell of the same limiting narrative.

In the words of Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here will not get you there.” While you are no doubt capable person, what we’re facing right now—nationally and globally—is like nothing we have ever seen. Solving what lies ahead of us will take more than what’s gotten us this far. Our own willpower isn’t enough. A few letters or phone calls aren’t enough. No heroes—including ourselves—will turn this ship around.

This truth takes time to accept. It takes a deep breath and a willingness to be curious. The truth is you cannot change the outcome alone. Neither can I. None of us can.

Only we can.

Only we can create that change—with skills like cooperation, community, cohesion, collaboration—that will see us through this dark night of the planet’s soul. The roots of each word is “co”, meaning together. Only with others can we create a kind, flourishing world. However (and this is hard), it means banishing the idea that your outrage and effort alone can fix this. It can’t. Only together can we right the wrongs, heal what has been broken, and overcome the obstacles ahead. Together.

So, take a breath. Pause to feel the truth of this. Notice if you’re willing to accept an invitation. Will you commit to more “co-” into your life?

Thankfully, you and I are part of a movement of people who believe strongly enough in a better future to work for it. Even if you didn’t realize it. Even if you just forgot. It’s still true. This week, pause to remember when you dial the phone or write a postcard that thousands of other hearts doing the very same.

For it’s in community that we persevere, and together we create a better, brighter future.

This is from Jen Hofmann, author of the Americans of Concience Checklist.
Subscribe to her newsletter and send her money to support her remarkable efforts to inform and motivate us all.

Read this week’s checklist here. And then take action!
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Tenth Dems Winter 2019 Internship Program

The Illinois Tenth Congressional District Democrats (Tenth Dems) is now accepting applications for its Winter 2019 Internship Program. The internship is a substantive program designed for high school, college, and graduate students seeking an opportunity to become deeply engaged in the political process.

Tenth Dems is a grassroots political organization that helps mobilize voters and activists in one of the most widely watched Congressional districts in the country. This is the ideal time to complete a political internship as we prepare for the critically important 2020 elections. Tenth Dems interns have staffed issue forums and events for elected officials and candidates up and down the ballot, worked on campaigns, and conducted research. Tenth Dems interns were very active during the 2018 election cycle, including legislative races, at the county board level, with countywide candidates, and in helping to turn the US House of Representatives blue. Interns may choose to complete general internships or specialize in areas such as media, technology, volunteer management, and political outreach.

Internships are unpaid, educational positions; however, academic credit is often available.

“This is an opportunity to learn about a grassroots political organization and to develop important skills,” said former State Representative Lauren Beth Gash, Tenth Dems’ Founding Chair. “Many of our interns have gone on to law school or other graduate programs, as well as paid political positions with local campaigns, and jobs in Springfield, Washington, and with national not-for-profit organizations.”

Acceptance into the program is selective, competitive, and contingent upon an interview. Residency in the 10th District is not required but applicants must have an interest in electing Democrats, be able to travel to our offices, and devote a minimum of eight hours per week to the internship during the school year. Applicants should submit a brief paragraph explaining why they would like to be part of the program, along with a resume summarizing their educational background and activities. Neither need be formal.

To apply or request more information, email us at volunteers@tenthdems.org. You can also “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@TenthDems).

Public Comment to Census Bureau – Deadline 8/7/18

Seal of the United States Census Bureau
The Census Bureau is accepting public comments on its decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. To submit your comment before the August 7 deadline, visit https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/06/08/2018-12365/proposed-information-collection-comment-request-2020-census. 

The League of Women Voters opposes such a question, which will result in an unfair and inaccurate Census that fails to equitably represent the U.S. population. See more below under “Why It Matters.”

WHY IT MATTERS:
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently announced that there will be a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The League of Women Voters vehemently opposes this measure, claiming that it will result in an undercount of those living in the United States and will jeopardize fair redistricting and the determination of the allocation of resources. Additionally, the call for a citizenship question is anti-immigrant in nature and will further instill fear, preventing immigrants from participating fully in the count.

The US Census, mandated by the Constitution, takes place every 10 years and counts every person living in the United States. The information it collects is used for redistricting and to allocate federal funds to local communities. A citizenship question has not been asked since 1950.

Some of the reasons you may offer in opposing a citizenship question on the 2020 Census:

  • Undermines an accurate count: Including a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census will damage the chances for an accurate count of our country’s population.
  • Change is a betrayal: This change to the way we count the number people living in the United States is a betrayal of the idea that in America, every person counts.
  • Misleading motive for the change: This decision isn’t about improving demographic data on citizenship to fulfill the Voting Rights Act. It’s designed to frighten immigrants-citizens and non-citizens alike-so they won’t participate in the Census. It’s a blatant political maneuver meant to disenfranchise these groups and deny them equal representation.
  • Undermines the rights of eligible voters and threatens democracy: Including this question on the Census undermines the rights of eligible voters and threatens a process vital to our democracy.
  • Jeopardizes the allocation of important resources: A fair and accurate Census is essential to the way the federal government allocates resources for infrastructure, education, and transportation. Census data is critical when determining resources for fire, water and trash collection.
  • The Constitution mandates an accurate count of ALL people: The United States Constitution mandates an accurate count of all people living in the United States — not all citizens. Non-citizens are an integral part of our economy and need to be included in the 2020 Census to paint a complete picture of our great country.

Net Neutrality Expired – Take These Steps

Trump’s rollback of net neutrality (which is the principle that ensures the internet is free and open for everyone) has gone into effect.

For you, losing net neutrality protections means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to block content or give some sites preferential treatment.

For big telecom companies like Comcast and Time Warner, rolling back net neutrality means they can block or throttle your internet access, or charge websites more to get a “fast lane” that gives them an advantage over their competitors.

There’s still a chance for Congress to act — but time is growing short, and it’s an uphill battle. Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress can undo recently-issued rules from government agencies by passing a “resolution of disapproval.” The CRA has an unusual provision that lets Senate Democrats force a vote on the resolution in their chamber last month. That resolution passed 52-47, with Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK), Susan Collins (ME), and John Kennedy (LA) joining every Democrat to protect net neutrality.

Now, it’s the House’s turn to act. Congressman Doyle (PA-14) has introduced a companion resolution in the House. But despite overwhelming public support for saving net neutrality (86% of all Americans! 82% of Republicans!), Paul Ryan has refused to bring it to the floor for a vote.

Here are two things you can do to take action on Net Neutrality today:

  1. Read Indivisible’s resource to get the latest information on net neutrality and the fight ahead.
  2. Call your Representative and tell them: co-sponsor Congressman Doyle’s resolution of disapproval to save net neutrality.

It’s unlikely that House Republicans will join the resolution. Many of them have already come out saying they’re happy that Trump’s FCC is getting rid of net neutrality (we don’t get it, either). Right now, the odds are long — but calls from Indivisibles make a difference and move the needle on this issue.

Time and time again, Republicans have gone against public opinion (repealing healthcare, passing the tax scam, inaction on gun violence prevention), and not moving on net neutrality is just the latest example. And if they don’t do what their constituents want, then Indivisibles will replace them with members of Congress who will.

Time to Pick Up the Phones Again!

Call Members of Congress to Vote NO on the Tax Bill.

The House of Representatives thinks it may have enough votes to pass their version of the tax bill, but some Republican Senators have expressed doubts about voting in favor of the Senate version of the bill.  The Senate version includes language to drop the individual mandate (requiring everyone to have health insurance or face a tax penalty) of the Affordable Care Act which will devastate the marketplace.

Please call your Senators to vote no, but even more importantly, call on these wavering Senators listed below to vote NO the tax bill because of it’s negative effects on the middle class, on the deficit and especially, on health insurance rates for the nation.  Find your member of Congress here if you are not in IL.

Local Members of Congress:

Senator Dick Durbin (IL) – 202-224-2152

Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL) – 202-224-2854

Possible NO votes:

Senator John McCain (Arizona) – 202-224-2235

Senator Bob Corker (Tennessee) – 202-224-3344

Senator Susan Collins (Maine) – 202-224-2523

Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) – 202-224-6665

Action: Advocate for a bipartisan bill proposing paper ballots.

Write: The two chairs of the Senate Rules and Administration committee.

Chair: Sen. Richard Shelby

Ranking member: Sen. Amy Klobuchar

  1. Click the link for each Senator
  2. Fill out the necessary fields
    1. Topic is “other” or “not listed”
    2. Subject is: Support the bipartisan SAVE Act
  3. Copy and paste the message:

Dear Senator, I support the bipartisan SAVE Act introduced by Martin Heinrich and Susan Collins. With 21 state elections databases targeted last year, I trust the R&A committee will address the safety of our national voting systems by considering safer, hack-resistant paper ballots. Please do all you can to help S. 2035 proceed. Thank you.

 

NOTE: The links in the above message will not post into the email, but are included for background information for our readers.

Continue to Publicize ACA Enrollment – Reach Out Beyond Social Media

Here are Flyers to Post.

Not everyone is reachable through social media.  It’s important to invest the extra bit of effort to publicize in other venues.  Here is a link to downloadable flyers in Spanish and English (make sure you choose the one for Illinois or your appropriate state – pdf format also available) that you can print and post to bulletin boards at libraries, community centers, coffee shops, local food and convenience markets and any other place you may know.  Always ask for permission to post the flyers please!

It’s An All Hands-On-Deck Time to Fight the Graham-Cassidy Bill

Make Calls, Write Emails to Crucial Republican Senators

Multiple news organization are reporting that the Senate Republicans may be one vote away from being able to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill and now is the time we need to double-down on calling Senators not only from our own state, but from crucial Republican states (see list below).

I am someone who is not comfortable making calls to strangers, especially senators in Washington.  I am also someone who has just spent 5-10 minutes making those calls, and it turned out to be not difficult at all.  I wrote down my own script to read when I made the calls – that felt easier and more natural than a script suggested on a website.  However, many people may prefer to use a script from a website (see an example below).  It’s best to do what feels most comfortable for you.  On most of the calls I made I left a message on voicemail, on a couple I spoke to a person, and on a few I wrote an email because the mailbox was full or the line was busy.

The script I wrote for myself was:

I would like to urge Senator ______ to vote no on the Graham-Cassidy bill.  Please don’t use the health of the American people to score political points.  This issue is too important for that.  Take time to carefully research ways to improve access to affordable health care and don’t rush a terrible bill through for political purposes.  Thank you.

A script from Jen Hoffman’s Weekly Activism Checklist:

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my opposition to the Cassidy-Graham plan to repeal the ACA. Congress needs to improve the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it and leave millions of people without options. Thanks.

 

More Threats to The Affordable Care Act.

It’s Time to Pick Up Your Phone and Make Some Calls!

Senators Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller and Ron Johnson introduced the latest ACA repeal bill last week.  It would give states block grants instead of the tax credits, Medicaid expansion and cost-sharing payments that the ACA requires.  Protect Our Care IL in their Sept. 15 Weekly Digest, reports that it threatens over $1.4 billion in cuts to Medicaid in Illinois while raising premiums and cutting coverage for millions.

Even though  Politico previously gave this bill a low chance to succeed, the President and leading members of the party have been lobbying Republican Senators to support it. The most recent reports show that these efforts are swaying increasing numbers of Senators!  This is combined with continuing Administration threats to withhold the cost-sharing payments that stabilize the ACA individual plan marketplace and the resulting uncertainty is making insurers extremely nervous.

Premiums in Illinois are already projected to increase dramatically because of this uncertainty.  Below is a script to oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill.  I would also ask your Senators and Gov. Rauner to demand that cost-sharing payments be guaranteed.  The Republicans should not be playing politics with our health!

From Jen Hoffman’s Weekly Activism Checklist:

Action: Oppose the Graham-Cassidy plan to repeal the ACA.

Call: Your 2 senators (lookup).

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my opposition to the Cassidy-Graham plan to repeal the ACA. Congress needs to improve the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it and leave millions of people without options. Thanks.

(Senator Duckworth – 202-224-2854)

(Senator Durbin – 202-224-2152)

(Gov. Rauner – 217-782-0244)

 

From Protect Our Care – Take Action Against Cuts to ACA Outreach Funds

POCIL Email Template Header JPEG

Take action against Trump’s cuts to funding for ACA outreach

Open Enrollment navIn their latest attempt to sabotage the ACA, the Trump administration announced late last week they would be slashing funding for navigators and advertising for the upcoming open enrollment in the Marketplace by over $100 million nationwide.

This decision will reverberate throughout Illinois and cannot stand. Call your Members of Congress at (866) 877-3303 and urge them to oppose this sabotage and support bipartisan solutions that will strengthen our health care system.

Navigators in Illinois provide the on-the-ground support necessary for people to easily access health care and overcome barriers to enrollment (including language and cultural differences, disabilities, etc.) Without this assistance, millions of people who may not understand their health care options will remain uninsured, go without necessary care, and be penalized for not having coverage.

Advertising the Marketplace is crucial for a functioning and successful exchange. Without advertising, we will miss out on healthy participants who don’t know about the exchange or who don’t know that the enrollment period is shortened this year.

“The surest way to kill the exchanges is to keep them a secret,” says Timothy Jost, a consumer advocate at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “Sick people will find them, but getting younger and healthier people enrolled is the problem.”

Take Action Now! 

  1. Read the Protect Our Care Illinois statement on this cynical attack on millions of health insurance consumers.
  2. Call the Protect Our Care Illinois Hotline (866) 877-3303 and tell your Members of Congress to publicly denounce the Trump administration’s decision to slash funds for advertising for the Marketplace and navigator funding. Tell them to support bipartisan efforts underway to stabilize the Marketplace AND to fund robust outreach and enrollment efforts.
  3. Call Gov. Rauner at (312) 814-2121 or (217) 782-0244 and tell him to publicly denounce this decision by the Trump administration to slash the advertising budget and navigator funding. Tell him that assisters in Illinois communities have played a key role over the past 4 years in reducing the number of uninsured in Illinois to an all time low. Ask him what his Department of Insurance will do to help ensure that Illinois consumers know about open enrollment and their choices for enrollment.

Thank you for your continued activism and advocacy on behalf of Illinois health care consumers!