Dispatches from the Resistance

FEAR OF THE INBOX

We need a break from the shitstorm that has become daily life, a laugh to take our minds off the hateful tax bill, Russia probe, planned deportation of 10,000 people, “Concealed Carry Reciprocity,” sexual predators, the anti-Muslim travel ban, police brutality…the list is endless.
On the other hand, “Schneider-Man” is having a birthday party, and Samantha Bee continues to tell it like it is. Yay!

Rest your brains for a moment, then let’s get back on the horse. Or bicycle, as in the case of Juli Briskman.

FEAR OF THE INBOX

Psychologists and psychiatrists across the U.S. noted such an uptick in depression, anxiety, fear, shock, anger, insomnia, nausea, and nightmares (especially among women) since Nov. 8, 2016 that they named it: “election stress disorder.” And now we’ve got “headline stress disorder.”

Indivisible people are a hardy lot: like roly-poly toys that pop back up no matter how hard they’re slammed down. However, there’s one thing that can make even the strongest stomach flutter: the inbox.

Because we want to stay informed,and be ready to act at a moment’s notice, we signed up for every mailing list: Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Facebook pages, Scott Dworkin, The Hill, Politico, representatives, senators…

Which is why sometimes, after work when we go to check our personal emails, we’re too scared to open our inboxes. 11,639 (Stella Maris’s total today) is just too overwhelming. We’re inundated with emails from candidates, groups, officials, campaigns, and causes, some of which we didn’t even sign up for.

Some headlines don’t match the contents, are deceitful, ridiculous, or embarrassing. Some are meant to pump up the Resistance and scare us into action, some are direful predictions, some are utterly wishful thinking, some try to tap into guilt, and 90% are pitches for money.

Some organizations accuse you of not stepping up to the plate, ignoring important causes, letting down the side, or worst of all, being a Trump supporter. Somewhere in their no-doubt-short lives (no experienced activist would take these tacks), they were told to make an emotional appeal, and got the so wrong end of the stick.

Here are some stellar examples. Note: All hyperventilating caps, punctuation, and miscellaneous oddities are original.

The “Insult Your Base” Tactic:

1) “[Name deleted] actually APPROVES of Donald Trump? [PLEASE SAY NO!]
OFFICIAL: Do Not Ignore
ACTION ALERT: [name deleted] you were selected to participate in our Trump Approval Survey →
NEW POLL: Trump Approval PLUNGES in all 50 states
But you IGNORED our Trump Approval Survey?!?!
This is our chance to TAKE DOWN Trump’s Presidency. But that simply won’t happen if you keep ignoring our surveys!!
We need your response within 12 hours: click below to represent [insert name of your town] right now →…
We thought that would inspire a wave of progressives to help end Trump’s Presidency. But sadly, we haven’t heard anything from you!

2) [Name] is DELAYING this urgent Democratic survey
YOU IGNORED THIS SURVEY: Click to take our Trump Presidency Survey NOW >>
[Name] — we’re tabulating [name of your town] responses to our Trump Presidency Survey, but it looks like you NEVER completed it?
We selected you because we thought you were a strong Democrat in New York — so we’re SHOCKED to see you haven’t completed our survey!!
THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO REPRESENT [insert zip code].

Some embarrassing ones:

The Completely Misleading Subject Line:
AMAZING news (finally!!)
WOWOW: Doug Jones for U.S. Senate [contact@dougjonesforsenate.com

Wouldn’t you think that meant Jones already WON??

The actual message in the email:

Here’s the bad (ok, devastating news):
We just fell short of a MAJOR budget deadline. We need to raise $170,423 more by the end of the month to make up the difference.
But here’s the great (actually, AMAZING!) news:
Our campaign is made up of more than 2OO,OOO individuals (including you)!
If every single person chipped in just $5, we’d CRUSH our goal — and then some!
48 hours to go!! Will you do your part and donate $5? We need your help to win the Special Election!!

The Hallucinatory Wishful Thinking Subject Line:
Why Republicans are PANICKED
Paul Ryan FURIOUS!
Humiliate Paul Ryan
Trump HUMILIATED
Donald Trump COLLAPSING
HE’S. SO. PISSED.
This will make Trump LOSE HIS MIND
PUNISH DONALD TRUMP

As if! Those people have ice water in their veins.

Like I’m sure the bad guys care:
• Rachel Maddow CALLS OUT Trump
• Nancy Pelosi just OBLITERATED Trump [OMG!!]: HUMILIATING
• Dan Rather just BLASTED Trump’s lies: MUST SEE
• Al Franken SLAMS Jeff Sessions: UNBELIEVEABLE

And how unbelievable is it that the Democrats can’t spell? Mortifying.

The Guilt Trip:
ACCEPT DEFEAT
EMBARRASSING MISTAKE –
when we told you we had a real chance to defeat Paul Ryan, we thought THOUSANDS of Democrats would step up.
THAT. DIDN’T. HAPPEN.
Our end-of-month deadline is in 48 hours. Almost NO ONE is donating. We are SO embarrassed.
If we miss our $25,000 goal, we’ll LOSE this opportunity to take down Paul Ryan. And we’ll have NO ONE to blame but ourselves.

The Combo Wishful Thinking/Guilt Trip:
Paul Ryan is so PISSED at this letter (but where’s your signature)
[1] Ignored Email

Gloom and Doom:
• Special Election RUINED
URGENT: READ NOW

• [SPAM] We’re SHAKING [CNN Breaking News]
Tragic Senate Prediction

• kiss all hope goodbye

Reverse Psychology: (They think they’re so clever.)
The NRA does not want you to sign this.

Pathos:
celebrating ALONE (Hillary’s Birthday)
HAPPENING TOMORROW
Hillary Clinton’s birthday is literally TOMORROW!!
But you really still haven’t signed her card?! So many proud Democrats in [zip code] already did:
Don’t let Hillary celebrate alone!! Please sign before we send the card tomorrow:

Note: It will not matter how many other birthday cards you’ve signed. If YOU don’t sign THEIRS, RIGHT NOW, poor Hill will be crying in her beer that she hasn’t heard from you. That’s right, YOU made Hillary cry.

Groveling:
We’re BEGGING [PLEASE]
HUMILIATING DEFEAT

Plus variations on “pleading,” “desperate,” and other confidence-inspiring messages.
Do the Republicans start emails this way? Heck no!

On the other hand, here’s a keeper:
Dear Trump: you make me SICK.

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE

Did anyone noticed that in The New York Times article, “The ‘Resistance,’ Raising Big Money, Upends Liberal Politics,” Kenneth P. Vogel equated the Democratic Party with “the left”? He’s not the only one doing that.

Since when is the Democratic Party leftist? The Left is called The Left because it’s left of center. The Democratic Party is centrist. If anything, it needs to move farther left.

Vogel was born in 1975, so he missed out on the actual Left, but he could at least have studied history. The distinction between left and centrist was very clear in the 1960s and 1970s: The Left was radical, the Democrats were moderate, and the liberals were Democrats who were just slightly left of center. A lot of Lefties had contempt for both liberals and Democrats for being too middle-of-the-road.

Using “left,” “liberal,” and “Democrat” interchangeably are playing straight into the right wing’s hands. The right has already turned “liberal” into a dirty word in the red states (even some blue state people are afraid of it), and they can easily convince people that “left” means chaos. They excel at scare tactics.

The Washington Post is also tripping up with its language. They keep referring to the Trump tax bill as “reform,” and talking about “tax cuts.” They’re drinking the Kool-Aid if they continue to use the language that comes from the White House. The WaPo should be calling a spade a spade, and not taking its cue from the orange dotard fan club.

The GOP specializes in language tricks. Whaa? “Citizens United” is about allowing corporations status as individuals for the purpose of campaign funding?? You mean it’s not an all-for-one, one-for-all rah-rah America group? Oops.

The WaPo needs to keep spelling out that the only tax cuts involved are for the rich and for corporations, because the GOP language will fool a lot of people into favoring it—who wouldn’t want a tax cut? This bill is in effect raising taxes for most Americans, but the Republicans think if they keep reciting the “tax cuts” mantra, people won’t notice the attack on Medicaid and Medicare. Or the $700 billion military budget.

And why are Medicaid and Medicare called “entitlement” programs? The right wing has cleverly distorted that word into a negative — the way people talk about college millennials feeling entitled to everything — as if people who need Medicare or Medicaid (and Social Security) are freeloaders, a burden on the government, instead of the people who actually paid for those supports throughout their working lives.

Let’s reclaim the true meaning: people who paid into Medicare (and Social Security) are entitled to (i.e., owed) these benefits. Those who need Medicaid are entitled to the help they need, because this country can afford it.

Let the Times and the WaPo hear from you. Write a letter to the editor. Or tweet. For that matter, let everyone hear from you, every time you encounter these language faux pas. (And yes, that’s the plural of faux pas.)

To send a letter to the editor of The New York Times: letters@nytimes.com
Thomas Feyer is the letters editor.

Rules for submission: Letters should preferably be 150 to 175 words, should refer to an article that has appeared within the last seven days, and must include the writer’s address and phone numbers. No attachments. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

To send a letter to the editor of the Washington Post: letters@washpost.com, or use the form on their website: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/letter-to-the-editor/?utm_term=.08f674ce4f0a
Letters editor is Mike Larabee.

Rules for submission:
“We prefer letters that are fewer than 200 words and take as their starting point an article or other item appearing in The Post. They may not have been submitted to, posted to or published by any other media. They must include the writer’s full name — anonymous letters and letters written under pseudonyms will not be considered. For verification purposes, they must also include the writer’s home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers. Writers should disclose any personal or financial interest in the subject matter of their letters. If sending e-mail, please put the text of the letter in the body and do not send attachments — they will not be read.”

P.S. from Stella:
You can’t use any 4-letter words, either. Darn!

Inaugural edition of Dispatches from the Resistance, a blog by the people for the people

A FEW THOUGHTS:

About healthcare–

The Graham-Cassidy Bill may be dead (for now), but there is still a lot of confusion and lack of information about what healthcare is available, and the Republicans would like to keep it that way. Here are some facts you can spread around—use your social media expertise. Watch one less hilarious animal video and use that three minutes to tell people this:

  • You can still sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The enrollment period is Nov. 1 – Dec. 15. Outside that period, the only way you can sign up is if you qualify for a special enrollment period, due to a “qualified life event” (QLE) such as losing other coverage, getting married, or having a baby. You’ll have to investigate the details—you know it can’t be as easy as it sounds. The place to do that is: healthcare.gov/glossary/open-enrollment-period/
  • Medicare has just sent out its updates about 2018 coverage. If you want to change your plan, you must do it before Dec. 7. There is no longer an open enrollment period from Jan. 1 – Mar. 31. Only under special circumstances can a Medicare beneficiary change a Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan after Jan. 1, 2018.
  • If you apply for health insurance under the ACA, your choices will be determined by your income. If your income is insufficient, you will be given Medicaid. Take it!

About the state of our struggle—

The opposition is counting on us to get exhausted from dodging grenades. We snuff one on a Tuesday, and there’s an incoming one the next morning. Yes, celebrate a victory, but then get right back on the case. Freedom isn’t free. Don’t think the Evil Empire’s attack on healthcare will stop—Congress just let the Children’s Healthcare Insurance Plan expire. That’s 9 million kids without healthcare.

There are many ways to stay in fighting shape, and one that works really well is to STAY PISSED OFF! Anger is a great energy source. Any time you feel like giving up, have a good cry (and maybe some ice cream), punch a punching bag (if you happen to have one around; even better if you have the orange dotard’s face painted on it), and then remember why you got into the ring in the first place.

About perspective—

To defeat this hydra-headed monster we’re facing, we need to have eagle vision: see the broader picture, and at the same time keep an eye on the little things. An eagle can see forward and to the side at the same time. It can see a rabbit a mile away (literally).

The Republicans are very good at getting people to focus on the rabbit—e.g., the NFL players—at the expense of vigilance in the larger space.

While this atrocious tax “reform” keeps us occupied, don’t lose sight of the investigation about Russia’s interference in our election, and its ongoing ties with Trump #notmypresident. It might be their fault we’re in this mess in the first place.

If you want to stop or change national policy, start at the top, because we don’t have time for incremental steps. As my Grandma used to say, “Let me speak to the manager!”

To potential contributors:

If you want to write a post, keep it clean (although sometimes a well-placed 4-letter word can be just the right word), and send it to our editor, Stella Maris, at nycd16.indivisible.group@gmail.com

Don’t take it personally if some of your verbiage gets trimmed. A lifelong professional writer is doing it, for the good of the piece and the readers. She’ll make you look good.

Note: Writers are responsible for their own fact checking! Please make sure you can back up anything you say with a reliable source for every statement. We are not FOX “News.” (Note: Wikipedia is not a reliable source.) Information on this blog needs to be thoughtful, helpful, and real. Funny is good, too.

Welcome aboard!
Stella Maris