What Should We Do When The Sky Is Falling

The Georgia Wonk’s Thought of the Day:

Waitin’ on the sky to fall
Waitin’ on the sky to fall, boys
Waitin’ on the sky to fall
Chicken Little wasn’t makin’ nothing but noise?
Waiting on the sky to fall.

-Steve Earle, “Waiting For The Sky”

I’m not even going to get into the latest business. The noise about Hamilton electors, about Obama somehow delaying the Electoral College vote, about criminal charges, about potential Russian blackmail, all of it. It’s a distraction. Here’s something else:

Donald Josephine Trump is going to be the President of the United States.

Say that out loud. No, I don’t like the way it sounds either. But we need to get used to it. Scrambling around screeching about constitutional crises is not going to add any legitimacy to the people who are genuinely concerned about an authoritarian neo-fascist in the White House.

So instead of looking like damn fringe fools, let’s all take a breath and focus. We need to stay on message on this one. We cannot afford to look alarmist. We cannot afford to jump at shadows. We have to stick to something concrete, something Don the Con can’t dodge. So what’s that?

It’s not racism. We’ve known he’s a racist. It’s not sexism. We’ve known he’s a sexist. Being an asshole is not disqualifying for being president. Maybe it should be! But for now, let’s look at something solid: Taxes.

Trump hasn’t released his taxes. He never did. And we let him! The tax issue has connections with everything else we’re yelling about. Connections with Russia, bad business  deals, all of it.  

Evan McMullin (who, I’ll confess, I like quite a bit), recently tweeted about some ways we can stand up to the Dump over the next four years. In that spirit, here’s my proposal:

#1: Let your elected leaders know that this is a concern. Make sure that they can’t get through the day without remembering that Donald Trump hasn’t released his tax returns, and that you aren’t happy about it. Tweeting is fine. Emailing is fine. But the best thing is phone calls.

#2: Demand an on-the-record response. Get their office to make a statement, and then share what that statement is, even if it is “no comment.” The best way to do this is calling your Senator or Congressman. Yeah, I know–this generation and phones, etc. But this really is the best way to make your voice heard. Only the most dedicated people actually pick up a phone these days, so a few calls can make a big difference. First, find your Congressman here. Find your Senator here. Then call their office. A very nice staffer will answer the phone. Use the following script as a guide:

Hello! My name is [your name], and I am one of [Senator/Congressman’s name]’s constituents, and I am deeply concerned about the President-Elect’s potential conflicts of interest. I was wondering if the [Senator/Congressman] has made a statement regarding the President-Elect’s international business dealings and how they might affect his Presidency?

At this point, the very nice staffer will let you know what his boss has said on the record. It might be something like “The Senator has not made any statements at this time.” Then, they’ll ask if you’d like to make a comment.

Yes, thanks! I am very worried about the President-Elect having conflicts of interest with other nations or corporations, and I hope the [Senator/Congressman] will call for the President-Elect to immediately divest himself of all foreign and domestic business interests. 

The staffer will then say thank you. At this point, he might ask if you are interested in signing up for his boss’s newsletter. Say yes! Not only is it a good way to stay informed, but it’s the least you can do for giving this guy a hard time. The staffer might ask for some info, like your phone number or email address. Again, provide that info. Now is not the time to be obstinate.

#3: Share the results of this call on social media. Tweet to the Senator or Congressman and tell him how pleased you were to speak to his staffers. It’s possible you will get an email response in the next few days (it’s been about 50% of the time for me). Share this email as well.

The goal here is not just to know what your Senator or Congressman thinks, but that they know that you know. Make sure they know that you are paying attention.

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