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The Revolution Needs More Than Just Your Vote

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If you want to affect real change, it’s going to take more work than just your vote.

Over the past two weeks Americans have been presented with two very different approaches to our future. I won’t pretend to say that both parties were equal in their endeavor; to be sure, the two paths were so divergent I believe 2016 will go down in history as one of the major turning points of our republic. Plenty of people have already spent countless hours writing about the parties’ visions of the next four yearsincluding me – and I’m pretty sure we’re all over the theatrics and ready to get down to business.

Here’s the thing: It’s not enough just to vote in November and hope it all goes away. I wish it were, but it’s not. Voting is great – don’t get me wrong, I love voting and I’ve never missed an election day I in which I was eligble to vote. 

Voting is good. You should do it. (Register now if you haven’t already!) But voting won’t hold your candidates and representatives accountable. Voting is one of the last ways to influence policy. By the time you’re voting, your candidate’s race is over. They’ve said all they’re going to say. And when it comes time to re-elect, you’re voting either to keep them around because you’re happy with them or you’re voting to get rid of them. Voting is black-and-white, all-or-nothing. 

If you really want to change the world and the direction we’re going in, you’ve got to get in early and make yourself known.

  • Organize in your neighborhood. Local elections are often decided by a handful of votes. Here in Georgia we had a race decided last week by 8 votes. If the loser had just motivated 9 more people to vote, she would have won. Seriously. If you can manage to get 50, 100, or 250 people together on something, you can run the table in local issues. That’s huge.
  • Volunteer for a campaign. Volunteering is the absolute easiest way to make things happen, but it can also be the worst. If you don’t mind putting in the hours to make an impact, volunteering can be the stepping stone to real policy input. You’ve got to be ready to show up, make the phone calls and do the grunt work, but if you do, you’ll get noticed. I started out making phone calls for a campaign and by the week of the election I was writing the candidate’s statements because I was willing to do whatever it took to make sure the candidate (and I) was heard.
  • Get to know your local legislators. Whether it’s your city council member or state legislator, meet them. Learn their names, and make them learn yours. The majority of laws and policies that affect you will come from your state and local government. If you want to make a real change – perhaps you’ve been motivated by the thought of some sort of ”revolution” or something, this is how you do it. It won’t be through the presidency; it’ll be through the guy that decides whether your neighbor can have a permit to renovate his house or through the woman who decides that the state government can take over your local school if it’s not meeting her standards. 
  • Make yourself heard. This one’s more abstract, but just as easy. Get your voice out there. Direct action is good and fine, and it certainly has its place – but it’s just one way of many to change public opinion. The folks who vote are the same folks who actually read letters to the editor in the paper. They also read the op/ed articles and blog posts on Medium or other sites. A well written article really can change someone’s mind (unlike your aunt’s Facebook post, of course). 

It’s easy to get disillusioned with politics, I know, and there are very few times I would ever use a tactic that even remotely resembles victim blaming, but here it is: It’s too easy to get involved and influence change. If you choose not to make something happen, you deserve exactly what you get. No, it’s not going to happen over night, and it’s going to take a lot of work, but if you sit on the sidelines it will never happen at all, and we’ve sat through too many hours listening to Donald Trump open his mouth and say something disgusting for it all to be a waste of time. 

It’s time to get to work.

 

Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBTQ activist and educator. His column appears here weekly. Follow him on Twitter: @rjmedwed

 

Image by jordi.martorell via Flickr and a CC license

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

GOP Congresswoman Saying She Would ‘Do Anything’ to Protect Her Grandchildren, Even ‘Shooting Them’ Sets Internet on Fire

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U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in a speech denouncing a House bill on gun safety, appears to inadvertently have declared that to protect her five grandchildren, she would “do anything,” even shoot them.

“I rise in opposition to H.R. 2377,” Congresswoman Lesko says in the video. “I have five grandchildren. I would do anything, anything to protect my five grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting them if I had to, to protect the lives of my grandchildren.”

NCRM has verified the video is accurate. Congresswoman Lesko made the remarks on June 9, according to C-SPAN, while she was opposing a red flag law.

The Congresswoman presumably meant she would as a last resort shoot someone threatening her grandchildren.

One Twitter user, Ryan Shead, posted the previously ignored video to Twitter, where it has gone viral and is trending.

Lesko, who some social media users note is running for re-election unopposed, went on to say: “Democrat bills that we have heard this week want to take away my right, my right to protect my grandchildren. they want to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect their own children and grandchildren. and wives and brothers and sisters,” which is false.

“This bill takes away due process from law-abiding citizens. Can you imagine if you had a disgruntled ex or somebody who hates you because of your political views and they go to a judge and say, ‘oh, this person is dangerous,’ and that judge would take away your guns?”

Lesko’s hypothetical claims are false. Red flag laws are designed to protect both gun owners and those around them.

Some social media users noted that Congresswoman Lesko reportedly “attended meetings about overturning the election,” while others are having fun with the Arizona Republican’s remarks:

Watch Congresswoman Lesko’s remarks above or at this link.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’

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Far-right religious activist, conspiracy theorist, and founder of the right-wing organization Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk has falsely declared that separation of church and state, a bedrock principle on which American society is based, is a “fabrication” not in the Constitution.

Kirk is a member of the secretive theocratic Council for National Policy., a close friend of Donald Trump, Jr., and spent years promoting President Trump – even interviewing him at one point. Turning Point USA has had repeated challenges. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer in 2017 write a piece about TPUSA titled, “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity.”

Former TPUSA communications director Candace Owens has praised Hitler, saying “the problem” with him was that he wanted to “globalize.”

RELATED: Watch: Charlie Kirk Calls for Texans to Be ‘Deputized’ to Protect ‘White Demographics in America’

On Wednesday Kirk declared, “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists.”

That’s false.

The claim separation of church and state is not in the Constitution is a religious right belief that has been debunked by countless legal experts.

“Of course we should have church and state mixed together,” Kirk continued. “Our Founding Fathers believed in that. We can go through the detail of that. They established – literally – a church in Congress.”

That too is false.

RELATED: ‘When Do We Get to Use the Guns?’: TP USA Audience Member Asks Charlie Kirk When Can ‘We Kill’ Democrats? (Video)

“It’s a good thing Charlie Kirk doesn’t go to Wheaton because he would fail my Constitutional Law class,” writes Dr. Miranda Yaver, PhD, a Wheaton College professor.

As most public school students know, Kirk’s claims are belied by the First Amendment to the U.S., Constitution, which states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It’s the Establishment Clause, legal experts say, that debunks Kirk’s falsehood.

In reviewing the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, Reuters last month noted: “It was President Thomas Jefferson who famously said in an 1802 letter that the establishment clause should represent a ‘wall of separation’ between church and state. The provision prevents the government from establishing a state religion and prohibits it from favoring one faith over another.”

Jefferson is also considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

Watch Charlie Kirk below or at this link.

 

 

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News

Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert

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Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.

Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.

“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”

READ MORE: Longtime friend of GOP’s Eric Greitens calls him a ‘broken man’ and accuses him of lying about his beliefs

“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”

As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”

See the discussion below.

Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks  via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.

 

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