What are you doing? October 4, 2018 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Aka the anti–fucking fuck thread. I remember we had some threads soon after the 2016 election where Mefites shared their efforts toward making the world a better place, and I would love to do it again, especially since I could use some inspiration to get my butt moving as midterms approach!

My current routine:

--Postcards to Voters! I've written more than 500 in the past year. I had one postcard party in September to which one person showed up - we were small but mighty and wrote about 50 postcards for Abigail Spanberger in Virginia.

--I've committed to phonebanking at least once a week until the election (at Nancy Pelosi's Red to Blue office in SF, which is semi-convenient for me). God I fucking hate phonebanking but I hate the Republican death-grip on our institutions more so I will do it.

--I signed up to textbank, although I won't have time to do a shift until next week at least.

--For a few months I set aside $25 per paycheck to donate to whatever campaign or issue seemed pressing. This has included Stacey Abrams, the Swing Left Immediate Impact Fund, Battleground Texas, Our City Our Home, and a GoFundMe for legal defense for Marco Senghor, a local guy (and model community member) who was targeted by this administration's attempt to strip naturalized citizens of their citizenship (ugh ugh ugh).

--I also helped with a lit drop for Our City Our Home: Yes on C, a local anti-homelessness ballot measure in San Francisco.

How about you?
posted by sunset in snow country to MetaFilter-Related at 12:58 PM (84 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

I’m phonebanking weekly for the local congressional race- hoping I can offer supporter housing as the election approaches for the 3rd year of my Annual Boardinghouse for Young Democrats. I’ll be hosting some phone events for my town to call for all Dems on the ticket, particularly our mayor/council slate. I’m signed up to texting for Beto in TX and pick up shifts when I can. I’m playing canvassing by ear- I’m 6 months pregnant and walking slow, although I do enjoy it particularly on a lovely crisp fall day.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:10 PM on October 4 [7 favorites]


I'm a school governor in a failing school, and I think it may be the hardest thing I've ever done.
posted by paduasoy at 1:14 PM on October 4 [20 favorites]


Thank you for this post!

I subscribe to the Americans of Conscience weekly checklist and I pick and choose my issues from there. I used to use ResistBot but I'm pretty comfortable now calling my representatives' offices on the phone and saying my piece. There is a sizable "thank you" postcard component to the list and I like that.

I'm not confident enough to phonebank yet, but the Postcards to Voters effort seems right up my alley!

I resolved to show up at a town council meeting this year just to get a feel for it, but I've yet to do that. But I marched at Philadelphia's Families Belong Together rally in June.
posted by kimberussell at 1:25 PM on October 4 [6 favorites]


I've volunteered to host an event on Monday for Democrats Abroad in Manchester, UK to help get Americans living in the North registered to vote. I'm scared and excited, as I have never done something like this before. I'm also worried that nobody will turn up…I'm not on social media and don't have the time to call universities and the like to get the word out. But mostly I just hope I can learn enough about all the things to actually help the people who do show up.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:26 PM on October 4 [9 favorites]


I just went to DC this week to talk to legislators and try to influence them to influence other legislators if they were already doing the right thing!
posted by corb at 1:34 PM on October 4 [13 favorites]


I'm going to church every week and directing my handbell choir and taking my elderly mother grocery shopping and taking her to NYC in a couple of weeks to go museum hopping since we love museums and supporting a lot of great museums through memberships and listening to my best friends when they have depressive episodes and smiling at everyone at work and contributing to the economy by buying too much fabric for sewing projects sorry that's all the spoons I have right now
posted by Melismata at 1:39 PM on October 4 [14 favorites]


Working overtime getting as many kWs of PV installed as I possibly can.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:41 PM on October 4 [8 favorites]


I started volunteering as an ESL tutor for adults through my county’s literacy organization this summer.
During our first training session we all (12 of us)introduced ourselves and told why we were volunteering— about half of us specifically said it was because of the current political climate and that we wanted immigrants in our community to know that there are people here who are not filled with hate towards them.
Doing this has been one of the most positive experiences I’ve had in a long time.
posted by bookmammal at 2:18 PM on October 4 [12 favorites]


I doorknock for Claire McCaskill.

I'm probably losing my last dog in less than a year, so after that, instead of adopting another, I'm going to hang out and volunteer at shelters.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:19 PM on October 4 [11 favorites]


I donated the people who seem to care the most about bathroom bills (in VT this means getting gender-free restrooms in public places a reality). I'm running for election again as a Justice of the Peace (and additional duties being on the Board of Civil Authority and Board of Abatement). I am working on election day counting votes and staffing polls and telling people there is really no such thing as voter fraud, no seriously (I mean not in the ways people think, ways that would require voter ID). And I holler loudly that allowing felons to vote is what any decent state should be doing.

I joined our town's Conservation Commission and ah hoc web advisory team (town manager wants all links to be approved by him before they go live on the site, I do not think so). I am treasurer and maybe campaign manager for a friend running for state rep. I did his website and I'm currently talking to the newspaper about advertising for him (which i designed). I talked to a lawyer just today about starting a non-profit in Massachusetts to work on changing the laws about female jail prisoners not legally deserving access to feminine hygiene products (actually I should change that "female prisoners" thing to just "prisoners") which is GARBAGE. I made a wikipedia page for the Democratic candidate for governor in VT (a longshot) who also happens to be transgender and so this was a thing where it did not need to be.

Keeping my elderly landlady's elderly computer running. Giving free tech support for locals two days a week. Giving privacy talks at libraries statewide (to small audience, I may AskMe how to punch this up a little to get more people coming to them). Helping the VT Library Association join the 21st century. You know, all the usual things.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:23 PM on October 4 [20 favorites]


I started this term as one of the seminar leaders of a "core values" course that all the music masters students at my university are taking. You know, talking about equal rights, sustainability, and what every individual can do in support; creating an open and personal atmosphere in the room so the students (from all kinds of cultures) dare saying what they want to say; discussing self-contemplative meta-topics regarding who takes place in this very discussion and how, and all that stuff.
It's not my profession, I'm hired to teach in musical performance, but I have become more and more interested in the ins and outs of this subject area in connection to higher education over the years. One very important educator for me was MetaFilter, in fact. It's extremely satisfying to be able to give this service to the students, especially and exactly at this point in time.
posted by Namlit at 2:43 PM on October 4 [6 favorites]


My wife and I got on the Democratic county committee in Brooklyn (she was uncontested, I had to win an actual public election!)

Our first meeting was last week and I guess the influx of progressives made it slightly less machine politics bullshit than usual. Not by much but something isn’t nothing I guess.

We’re gonna be knocking doors for Max Rose down in Bay Ridge and Sheepshead later this month as well.
posted by griphus at 3:06 PM on October 4 [20 favorites]


I just got home from phone banking for Kyrsten Sinema for the very first time. Most people who actually answered were very enthusiastic, so that was nice. But there were two who were like, “I haven’t decided yet. I mean, I’m definitely not voting for the Republican, but I just don’t know...”. Like, what? The fuck else are you going to do???
posted by Weeping_angel at 4:05 PM on October 4 [8 favorites]


While I do some political stuff (donations, mostly), my real passion for making the world a better place is to help men be better men.

To that end, I'm a active in the Mankind Project (http://mkpusa.org/ here in the US; we're also in 20+ countries around the world). We're a non-religious, non-political, inclusive men's organization with a mission to build and support the emotionally mature, accountable, and compassionate male role models that our communities so desperately need.

Specifically, I do two things. Every other week I sit in a group with 9 other men where we offer each other support, challenge each other to be better, and love the hell out of each other. I also staff MKP's weekend-long men's trainings where we challenge men to step away from the day-to-day of their lives and take a hard look at what they want to keep, what they want to expand and what they want to let go of in their own lives.

Gandhi may not have actually said "be the change you wish to see in the world," but it's still the best idea I've ever heard, and MKP helps me do that.
posted by Frayed Knot at 4:35 PM on October 4 [17 favorites]


I am using ResistBot every few days, and filling out postcards for Need To Impeach (I sent out ten more today!). And I am being more blunt than usual with my kids about politics and race and class.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:05 PM on October 4 [4 favorites]


You people are awesome, and very inspiring: a few years ago I wouldn’t have been so brave to write or text or talk like this.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:06 PM on October 4 [11 favorites]


I used some of my "I FINALLY HAVE A JOB AFTER OVER TWO AND A HALF YEARS OF UNEMPLOYMENT" money to donate to Audrey Denney for Congress!
posted by elsietheeel at 5:50 PM on October 4 [12 favorites]


I am reminding everyone around me to vote and demanding that everyone around me have actual plans for how and when they cast their votes. I have volunteered to do a couple of phone banks for Beto; I don't hate it, and I'm pretty good, I think, at making the phone calls as painless as possible for both me and others. Viewing it like that makes it easier to approach people and politely inquire to them.
posted by sciatrix at 5:57 PM on October 4 [5 favorites]


Postcards To Voters 🗳 every week - I’ve written quite a few (close to 900?) & phone banking for Jamie McLeod-Skinner this weekend.
posted by hilaryjade at 6:12 PM on October 4 [7 favorites]


I write “I love you, my fellow American. “ on post-it’s and randomly place them in elevators or stairwells, traffic lights. I write them in advance and discreetly peel them off and place them.

Sometimes I do, ‘it will be okay’ or other things.

After the election someone did this in my parking gararage and I continue to love it. It inspired me.

It made me feel better when I saw someone do this, and I want to extend that.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:33 PM on October 4 [21 favorites]


I've been doing Postcards to Voters (keeps me sane) and donating to campaigns and causes.

Last week something snapped and I got myself arrested for the first time (in the Senate Dirksen Building, occupying a hallway during Kavanaugh proceedings) with 70 or 80 folks. Took part today in another civil disobedience action in the Senate Hart Building. This time there were more than 300 of us arrested, I think.

I am not optimistic about our chances of moving the needle but I am damn sure going to fight like hell. Fascism wins when we stop fighting.
posted by duffell at 7:00 PM on October 4 [28 favorites]


I'm perpetually on a quest to be a better parent (mine were horrific, so I realize I have no instincts for it, and therefore have to be really thoughtful and intentional about what I do). Recently I've been reading Transforming the Difficult Child, and I love its focus on giving high energy responses to the positive things kids do and very low energy responses to misbehaviors. I've been doing my best to implement that approach for a couple of weeks and it is really paying off in our little family. Even when the kids are acting generally not great, I look for anything positive I can encourage. ("I can see that you are frustrated with your sister right now, but I also see how hard you are working at being self-controlled. You aren't yelling right now. You're listening to me and using your wisdom, and I think that's great.") The book was right. My son loves to hear that, and he'll work hard to act even better so he can hear more positive stuff. This is much more effect than lectures and threats focusing on bad behavior. We just ignore the bad (within reason), focus on the good, and keep getting more of the good stuff in response. I feel like our family stress level has dropped noticeably. Mine certainly has. So that's making the world better--for three kids in my house, anyway.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:39 PM on October 4 [26 favorites]


Joined the DSA. Filled out about 70 get-out-the-vote postcards for the ACLU (Hubby wrote a few too), spent one Saturday every week for the past month or so doing lit drops for "Our City Our Home" (see the first comment for a link - hi, sunset in snow country!), gathered signatures for it a few months ago to get it onto the ballot in November which means I made eye contact with strangers for this thing so I will be seriously pissed it if doesn't pass, did some door-knocking for a DSA-endorsed candidate for the SF Board of Supervisors (aaaah more eye contact), went to a couple of environmental actions in SF, went to an anti-fascist rally over in Berkeley where we got flashbanged for our efforts, and plan to start text-banking this weekend because my one experience with phone-banking was that nobody answers their phone nowadays. As a world-class introvert I wish I could just hide under the blankets until it's over, but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if this country goes over to the dark side and I didn't do anything to fight it. Any fellow introverts in SF wanna get together and write GOTV postcards in companionable silence? No eye contact required!
posted by Quietgal at 8:07 PM on October 4 [9 favorites]


I may be working at the polls in November. (I wonder if they'd let me wear my Suffragette costume?)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:17 PM on October 4 [4 favorites]


I told my husband just last night that we needed a thread for this. Thank you!
posted by gerstle at 8:18 PM on October 4 [4 favorites]


I've only been canvassing once this year so far, but it was kind of a hilarious experience. People's response to "and are you planning to support Tammy Baldwin in November" was essentially I WOULD CRAWL THROUGH BROKEN GLASS TO VOTE A STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC TICKET. It's encouraging.
posted by gerstle at 8:20 PM on October 4 [17 favorites]


I find myself donating money to various causes, some overtly political, some are specific causes. I live on Social Security only but I'm at the stage where my needs/bills are low so I actually have extra cash and am happy to support things I find worthwhile. I've volunteered to drive people to polling places as our transit system sucks.
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:54 PM on October 4 [7 favorites]


I started tipping more. Way more whenever and wherever possible. (I’m *extremely* aware that this is not an option for lots of people — which is why I feel like it’s something specific I can do.) Give a delivery guy $20. Leave a $100 tip for a waitress. Put a $10 in a barista jar. There were large stretches of my life where $100 would have been a game-changer for my whole month, and I am reallllllyyyyyy fucking lucky that that isn’t true anymore. So now that things are easier for me, while things have gotten way harder just….everywhere…, it’s a small thing to do that I hope lightens people’s burdens wherever possible. I often feel very cynical about the whole political process, so this feels like direct action. I believe society treats working-class people terribly, and that motivates my behavior in the voting booth, and it motivates my behavior out of it, too.
posted by Charity Garfein at 9:34 PM on October 4 [26 favorites]


I do what I do. (For a paycheck, these days, which is continually just astonishing to me.)

Thank you, all of you, making phone calls, knocking doors, providing supporter housing-- that last one is staggering to me. I've been fantastically blessed with my supporter housing this campaign. It's been a hard year, and having these people go above and beyond in practically adopting me has been-- more than I can say.

I have an intern now, and she reminds me so much of, well, me in 2016. She could organize, I think, and being able to raise up the next generation, as it were-- that is a fantastic blessing, and it's shoring up my heart a bit.
posted by dogheart at 11:07 PM on October 4 [6 favorites]


(Update: 602 people were arrested at the US Senate last night)
posted by duffell at 2:37 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


I'm on the wrong side of the ocean and not a US citizen (in fact, I've never been to the US) so I can't do much, but I'm signal boosting for a friend who writes about polygraphs, how they are junk science, and should never be used. And also how this relates to Kavanaugh and the rest of the current mess. She did research on this and knows her shit.

If you're interested, check it out. If you like what you see, please help spread the word.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:12 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


For those of you who are duking it out with right-wing relatives on Facebook, please feel free to use this when debunking the idiotic "but how did they have so many professional-looking siiiiigns" conspiracy theory.
posted by duffell at 6:35 AM on October 5 [4 favorites]


Postcards to Voters. I've trained to be a clinic escort and have only done one shift so far, but have signed up to do more.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:46 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


I've called Collins repeatedly, demonstrated a bunch of times. Demonstrating today and taking a friend. Taking tape so people can tape up signs in her office. My friend has an option to get a passport from an EU country and I'm so envious. I'm miserable at what the US is becoming. Thanks, sunset, and all you lovely Mefites, for helping inform me and helping me cope.
posted by theora55 at 7:06 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


I'm...nervous about things they are doing to citizenships so I haven't done much directly. But I have made a giant leap into working at a charity to try to live my values.

Thank you so much for everything you all are doing.
posted by wellred at 7:14 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


I'm an election judge again, and this time around I am also helping out with early/absentee voting in the three weeks prior to the election. My goal is to mske the actual voting process safe, efficient, and friendly for everyone.

We have same-day, at-the-polls registration here in MN so we do a ton of new voters every cycle. I usually get moored at the New Registration table and I actually enjoy it...another new voter! And another! Yes sir you can vote! It's not too late! You ma'am can vote too! Let's figure out how we can get you registered and a ballot into your hand. Go America!
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:23 AM on October 5 [10 favorites]


I was so enraged by the general fact-denial of many folks in our state legislature, that I'm starting the long game of running for some kind of elected office. Step one - get some civic experience. So I got appointed to our Public Library Board of Trustees (during an exciting time - we're building a new structure to replace our very outdated one). Waiting to see how my house district does this cycle. My town is generally blue, but my district is on the red side of purple.
We also have a mini-booth set up at my business for folks to take/drop-off forms to register to vote.
posted by ikahime at 7:59 AM on October 5 [11 favorites]


This past weekend, I had the first of hopefully many weekend workshops for men to discuss toxic masculinity and gender based violence. It's a condensed/modified version of the sex buyers intervention class I co-facilitate.

I keep thinking about Ijeoma Olou's article that was published shortly after the election. I don't know how to do it, but as a CIS white man, I feel like I have to try.
posted by Gorgik at 8:25 AM on October 5 [11 favorites]


You are all amazing!!! Last night I posted a picture of a cocktail with the caption "My reward for phonebanking" and a friend's mom commented "Thank you for your service. You are an inspiration" and I got real embarrassed and responded "Hey, I'm only in this for the martinis." But I think that's less embarrassing when spread out to many people so: Thank you for your service. You are an inspiration.

A few things:

I used some of my "I FINALLY HAVE A JOB AFTER OVER TWO AND A HALF YEARS OF UNEMPLOYMENT" money to donate to Audrey Denney for Congress!

Congrats on the job!!! I was unemployed earlier this year and it felt so good to finally have some income and be able to give it to causes I support (I think the first donation I made was actually to Metafilter, haha). Also, as a former denizen of conservative Northern California, <3<3 Audrey Denney.

Last week something snapped and I got myself arrested for the first time (in the Senate Dirksen Building, occupying a hallway during Kavanaugh proceedings) with 70 or 80 folks. Took part today in another civil disobedience action in the Senate Hart Building. This time there were more than 300 of us arrested, I think.

Whoa this is BADASS, go you

So that's making the world better--for three kids in my house, anyway.

And that makes it measurably better for the rest of us :) Just wanted to call this one out because A) these parenting techniques sound super awesome and B) all of you sharing personal ways you're making the world better SO belong in this thread and please keep posting. I especially love hearing about cool parenting methods because I think we as a society used to believe that the raising of children was crucial to strengthening our society and making the future brighter. I'm reminded of reading a statistic that when legislative bodies pass some small threshold of female representation (20 percent, maybe?), they become noticeably more focused on passing legislation to benefit families and children.

spent one Saturday every week for the past month or so doing lit drops for "Our City Our Home" (see the first comment for a link - hi, sunset in snow country!)

heeeeeyyy!! I was at the D5 one - I wanted to do the Richmond too but was sick and will be out of town for the Sunset one this weekend, womp womp. Also I would totally be down for an SF postcard party but I will probably get real excited and make eye contact, I can't help it

Also shoutout to the men talking to other men - I think there were a couple of you in the comments. I'm so glad that is happening.
posted by sunset in snow country at 8:41 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


I have been attending school board meetings, candidate information forums and voting forums to be more active and informed about our school district for our new kindergartner. And donating to "adopt" classrooms in our schools which are so under-funded. A friend of mine recently changed careers and is now a teacher at the recovery school (a school within the local ALC school specifically for kids in recovery) and this is her first year. Her classroom was one of the rooms we "adopted".

I am still an ardent supporter of artists on Patreon. I also follow POC and women I admire on Twitter and donate to their cashme, etc, when they need help. One woman needed money for her child to go to summer camp so she could work on a book, and so I donated enough money to pay for her child's summer camp.

Personally, I am also trying to be more active on social media with my authentic self. I am flawed. I have sad and mad and frustrated days. I am trying to be more vulnerable with folks I consider my friends and family. "Let them love you" is a mantra I have been working on. And I post imperfect things, like Hourly Comics or, this month, Inktober sketches. I am being visibly imperfect.

And career-wise, there was a motivational speaker Pam Owens who was fantastic at our company last December and a key phrase that has truly stuck with me in hard times this past year was "there is value in my lane". I suffered from so much impostor syndrome in a new role at work , and that phrase has been fueling me almost daily this year.
posted by jillithd at 8:41 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


(Psst, in light of Sen. Collins' announcement of her 3pm announcement on her upcoming Kavanaugh vote, I'll post the "fund her future opponent" link, which is currently at more than $1.9 million. The hope is to reach $2 million in the next couple of hours.)
posted by duffell at 8:58 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


My girlfriend is an organizer for the advocacy side of Planned Parenthood and currently on loan to the campaign to defeat a shitty anti-abortion ballot measure in Oregon, so I'm slowly getting sucked into local/state politics. I have a professional exam a week before election day and so a lot of my free time is absorbed by studying, but I'm trying to do what I can on that campaign by donating, canvassing when I can, and cooking a lot of dinners so GF doesn't subsist solely on fast food during her crazy 12+ hour days.
posted by bassooner at 9:53 AM on October 5 [4 favorites]


I've joined my local DSA and I'm part of my branch's internal organizing committee -- it's really important to me to have a diverse DSA so I'm working to grow the membership in a way that includes a variety of voices and perspectives and pushing to make the organization less white/male/cis. I'm calling Congress a lot. I'm going to as many protests as possible (I brought my officemate to the anti-Kavanaugh march yesterday) and I'm doing a street medic training this weekend so I can be as helpful as possible in challenging situations. I'm pushing back on the bullshit I hear from people, including well-meaning people. We have monthly donations set up for a number of organizations.

I would also like to point out that I couldn't do most of this without the support of my family. The medic training is twenty hours so I'll be out tonight and all of tomorrow and Sunday, leaving my husband to solo parent our two-year-old basically all weekend, which is really hard and exhausting even though she's wonderful. This kind of support -- childcare, meal planning, being patient and kind -- is the sine qua non of organizing and I am hugely, HUGELY grateful to my husband and everyone else who takes on these often underappreciated roles.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:43 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


I apply my values in my job at director level. (I'm a consultant, so can't outright claim to be A Director in the way things work here in France, "just" A Manager, but am in fact at director level.)

I let men call me all the sexist things they want to, I clap back at the factually obvious stuff, tell them to fuck off and do their jobs at the manipulative bad faith stuff, nod and say "uh-huh, no kidding" when I'm told that I'm aggressive (I am, I mean you just read what I wrote), but mainly: I protect, support, and respect autonomy with people who do good work, in good faith, and who make honest mistakes because they're human beings and none of us are perfect.

It is a hell of a challenge to recognize when people make dishonest mistakes versus honest ones. But do you know what? That's what changes things. Taking the time and responsibility to be the change you want to see in the world. I pay for it, and I accept that price, because it is worth it.

I've shown other people how to ignore assholes and be the good, trustworthy people they are. They have blossomed into roles where they make a difference in ways true to themselves; true to the unique individuals they are. I don't want people to be like me. I want people to be true to themselves. It's why I tell hypocritical, bad faith fuckers to fuck off. They're not true, not even to themselves.

It's a story in my life – like anyone on the planet, I cannot lay claim to it. Teachers, parents of friends, some of my own directors and managers also showed me the way. Myths say the same things. S/he who finds the treasure is s/he who walks the path untrod. People don't all grasp the enormity of that; of it being the path untrod. There is no one path. If there were it would be a boring planet, gray and dull.

Do what pulls your heartstrings; do what inspires you beyond routine. Do what you don't mind doing when it's beyond reason or rationality. I don't mean unthinking, ego-only passion. I mean the things you do because they bring a peaceful, inclusive joy, in spite of what society says. Those lead you along the path untrod.
posted by fraula at 10:57 AM on October 5 [10 favorites]


I'm actually doing less this election than I have in the past: I'm knocking a lot of doors, but I'm not organizing things or in charge in any way. I'm kind of enjoying that: I like the organizing and training side of things, but it's kind of nice just to show up and do what I'm told to do. I'm also pretty good at door-knocking, and organization is a challenge for me, so I think that may be a better use of my skills.

I'm resist-botting a lot, because I hate making phone calls. I'm also doing some postcards to voters. I think I should have a postcard to voters party for my friends who have better penmanship than I do. I'm happy to provide postcards and stamps if other people will provide legible handwriting.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:47 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I try. I show up to demonstrations and do canvassing/postcard-writing and contact my senators and am on a community board and joined NOW and League of Women Voters (in addition to the usual parties) and keep up with the news and discuss/share it where I can and set up my auto-donations to Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club and go to a whole lot of those boring administrative meetings and am trying to learn Spanish as my own little private stand against the anti-Hispanic bigotry that is apparently a cornerstone of Trumpism. And I'm going to a Quaker meeting and praying regularly, too, even though that's totally foreign to me, because my heart is just breaking and the pressure of living in this hateful, cruel, authoritarian climate makes me feel like I'm trapped in a tiny room with the walls moving tighter and tighter and so now I'm that person who wound up in the theoretical foxhole and somehow couldn't be an atheist anymore. And I'm trying to write (fiction), and I'm going to therapy, and I'm trying to be patient and gentle and generous with the people around me because this is hard on all of us. And...it's not that I think it's useless. I don't! But that desperate fear of the future just gets to be too much sometimes. Living regular life feels like escapism, political effort feels like shouting into a (malicious) void. It makes me feel good to hear about all y'all's fighting spirit, because I'm the type to withdraw withdraw withdraw when I'm disturbed and upset and that's exactly the wrong thing to do in a moment like this. Hearing that your spirits are up and you're still down for the fight is very encouraging.
posted by rue72 at 1:00 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Any other October, I'd be opening the city's LGBT center on Saturdays and organizing a pride booth for my church. This month, that's been blown up by having two parents needing help in opposite directions on the interstate.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 2:11 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


This may be kind of OT, but... I got a flyer from another physics department asking me to encourage my students to apply to their department for grad school. The representation of non-male-presenting faculty, graduate students, and undergrads was below average, even for physics. (Small numbers, etc.... but still.)

So I thought, can I, in good conscience, recommend this program to my students? I emailed the department chair, asking, "Can you tell me what actions your department takes to support the success of women at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty level?"

It was small, but it was scary, but I did it.

And the longer I think about it, I feel like I should ask this question of every department that asks me to pass their materials on to my students.
posted by BrashTech at 2:20 PM on October 5 [31 favorites]


Strongly considering taking a shift after Kavanaugh sits on the court to sit in on SCOTUS arguments and loudly shout BRETT KAVANAUGH IS A RAPIST until I'm dragged the fuck out of there by Capitol Police
posted by duffell at 4:19 AM on October 6 [12 favorites]


I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. Our municipal election was last Tuesday. There’s still 2100+ absentee and questioned ballots left to be counted, out of ~18000 in-person ballots cast (~25% turnout), because “early” voting is really in-person absentee voting. But it looks like the citizens of the Fairbanks North Star Borough have elected 3 progressive women (all three seats that were up) to the Assembly, including myself, and three women to the Fairbanks City Council (all three seats that were up). Including two trans women (one on the Assembly and one on city council).

(It’s kind of a crazy result, because these great progressive folks were (probably—one race is too close to call) elected, but all the propositions went the “wrong” way (bond measure failed, no more local air quality regulation, etc.).)

So that’s what I’ll be doing for the next three years, serving in local government!
posted by leahwrenn at 11:19 AM on October 6 [36 favorites]


I'm lucky enough to have a bit of money these days but not much time to use it. I'm not in the US but of course what happens there is going to affect us all in the UK too, so I donate to ACLU and I've paid for prime membership on Talking Points Memo. The situation here in the UK is a different kind of slow moving train wreck, so I'm trying support various anti-Brexit organizations too.
I try to do some things locally too - I'm also a school governor, and I've been trying to encourage my new company on diversity issues - so far at least they seem a lot more receptive than my old company.
posted by crocomancer at 11:58 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


leahwrenn! Congrats!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 2:59 PM on October 6 [1 favorite]


I have gotten such good ideas for volunteering from this thread!

I have currently taken on the stewardship of the Little Free Library in our community garden!
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:18 PM on October 6 [4 favorites]


I was an Election Judge for the MN primary like Elly Vortex (but as Head Judge) and I'm a Head Judge again for the general election. I also am helping out at the Early Voting Centers in Minneapolis. I wonder if we'll see each other at the training on Tuesday.

Also, hubs and I upped our donations to Planned Parenthood, the SPLC, and other non-profits. It's not much, but I'm glad that folks here believe it's enough.
posted by TrishaLynn at 5:23 PM on October 6 [3 favorites]


I have been talking to high-level university administrators about some relatively small things that can be done to make trans students' lives a little better (specifically with respect to student records and already-published theses/dissertations) and they have been more receptive and supportive of these changes than I expected.
posted by avocet at 5:40 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]


I print protest posters and signs. I really don't enjoy crowds, but large-form printing is my hobby, so all my friends know they've got a standing offer for protest signs.

And I don't even print them in a basement. But they're made with love. And a lot of rage.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 6:07 PM on October 6 [8 favorites]


Leah, congrats from a fellow Alaskan! I really appreciate how hard it is to be elected as a non-lunatic here, and I am so glad Fairbanks is headed in the right direction. I’m sure you are a great and level-headed choice for the job. :)
posted by charmedimsure at 9:50 PM on October 6 [3 favorites]

Leah, congrats from a fellow Alaskan!
Ditto, from yet another part of Alaska.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:04 PM on October 6 [3 favorites]


So, not to be a bummer, but I would move away from postcards and towards canvassing, especially door-to-door canvassing and enthusiastic, personal phonebanking--the enthusiasm and personal engagement is totally necessary. That's what the GOTV research indicates, anyway.

I have been doing a data fellowship with the PA DCCC, helping with demographic analysis and their voter protection program.

What I've learned is that if you can't do door-to-door sometimes it's best to contact your local office and ask if they have any administrative tasks they need doing. Polling packets that need to be put together? People that need to be driven to canvass? That sort of thing. Also, if you have any tech/digital experience reach out and ask if they need any help on that front. Just improving workflows by helping to maintain (or set up) Google spreadsheets systems can be a big help. Digital marketing and analysis. Helping to direct canvassers to the neighborhoods nearest to them. Data entry of all those packets and voter registration cards that the canvassers collect. If you can't do canvassing and are willing to be flexible, there are often lots of little tasks that you can do that will help out campaigns tremendously, especially if you have computer experience (volunteers are often older and struggle with that). Lawyers Bound for Justice, a group that works with the DNC in one state, was tremendously helped in Pennsylvania when a group of tech-savvy volunteers swept in and developed a program that matched volunteers with their closest polling location to minimize driving time. When your state has a thousand volunteers and a bunch of polling locations to target you can imagine how difficult that is to do by hand. In fact, if this is something you can do try to reach out to your local DCCC office (call if they don't respond to your email) and bring up that project specifically, since that particular effort was state-based. Some of this stuff will require you to obtain the equivalent of clearance but don't be discouraged if that takes time or they demur. Again, there are lots of other things to do.

By the way--if you live in Pennsylvania we are doing big packet-stuffing job and turf-cutting jobs in Philadelphia and we need all the help we can get. We're stuffing canvassing packets for the whole damn state and doing turf-cutting too. The office is open past work hours as well as during the day. It's happening this week and the next. The packet stuffing can be done by anybody and turf-cutting can even be done remotely and just requires familiarity with Google Docs/Sheets. MeMail me and I'll hook you up.

Sometimes it helps to come in with your own ideas in case organizers haven't thought of it. Campaigns are SUPER busy and grab whomever they have on hand, so if you can be that on-hand person you can provide huge contributions.
posted by schroedinger at 9:54 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


I did my first canvass of the general election today, for the Maryland Democrats' coordinated campaign.

I've done canvassing before and this was much the same. The big difference was in enthusiasm and engagement. Usually people are friendly but abrupt--even though I'm canvassing all Democrats' houses, they're not all that interested in "talking politics" with strangers. The reaction this time was much more "oh thank God yes the Democrats, tell me when and where I need to vote."
posted by duffell at 3:15 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


Oh and another thing. I've found the local party offices, along with Ben Jealous' gubernatorial campaign, to be INFURIATINGLY unresponsive with respect to basic requests (like yard signs). I assumed there was either a lack of signs or a lack of available volunteers to get back to me. Anyway, once I decided to get off my duff and canvass, I then attempted to call the local party offices multiple times to no avail.

So I looked up the address of the local party office and I went. And I discovered several volunteers, some of whom had been waiting for an hour to be given an administrative task. I also discovered a room full--FULL--of Ben Jealous signs.

So I've emailed everyone I know who lives in Maryland and has a yard, with an offer to get a Ben Jealous sign for them and drop it off at their house. When I go back to the party office to drop off my packet, I'm probably going to end up asking for about a dozen signs.

So that's what I'm doing, and it's pretty fucking ridiculous.
posted by duffell at 5:58 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Yard signs are an ongoing source of tension for Democrats. Voters & grassroots activists really value them, and the people in charge think they're pretty much worthless. So basically, the people running the local office have been instructed not to spend time distributing yard signs, but that angers people on the ground and makes them think everything is a disorganized mess. I honestly wish the local office would devote a little more attention to yard signs, just to keep the local folks happy, but that's not the decision that is coming down from on high.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:59 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


What's strange to me is that many of us have accepted without question that anonymous right-wing bots and Twitter trolls can serve as effective information warfare by giving the impression of popular sentiment--and yet are unwilling to accept the premise that one's own neighbors publicly declaring their political allegiances has the power to similarly affect electoral outcomes by shifting perceptions of popular sentiment.

(Anyway, the problems with lazy, bloated machine politics in the Maryland Democratic Party are much bigger than the yard sign thing. But it's frustrating as hell.)
posted by duffell at 7:21 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


I've had the same problems with yard signs and bumper stickers in NOVA, duffell. At my local office, they generally have signs but they charge quite a bit for them -- $10 or $20? And there's no clear/obvious/publicized way to buy them. So they just sit there gathering dust. I get that the Dems think that at least if they're a source of fundraising, they're measurably useful, but...I do think signs are valuable as publicity. It's not just about figuring out who to vote for -- there are lots of people who are reminded there's an election at all when they see the signs go up.

Just a little weird thing to note, btw -- on Bumble now (a popular Tinder-esque dating app, for everybody out of the online dating "scene"), you are not only encouraged to add your politics to your profile (along with the other chestnuts like Y/N on kids, religion, seeking relationship or casual, etc), but now you are separately encouraged to add whether you are voting in the midterms or not. Which I thought was a cool thing.

Also, I am maybe developing a radio show and podcast for the League of Women Voters. The show would cover news, civics, elections, all that good stuff, with the goal of voter education (which is a foundational part of LWV's mission, which is to protect and support voting rights). We have our first internal call about it tomorrow evening, and then meet with the broadcaster later this week. I'm very excited!
posted by rue72 at 9:09 AM on October 8 [6 favorites]


> one's own neighbors publicly declaring their political allegiances

Exactly!
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:38 PM on October 8


I uh, may be running the twitter account for the DSA's National Design Committee and push more art and design resources to local campaigns and chapters.
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


Turns out I missed the poll workers' training for this year. Bummer.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:24 AM on October 11


FWIW The Underpants Monster, I respect and admire poll workers, but the one time I did that job was the last presidential election, and I ended up wishing I'd done day-of work for campaigns getting out the vote instead. :-)
posted by duffell at 7:52 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking a lot lately about moving the crowd and how to convince people to act - both the "I don't care about politics" types and the ones who just want to post on Facebook about the latest outrageous thing Trump did. I have this one friend who is basically my activism bestie (we went to the anti-Kavanaugh rally together) and she's always posting on Facebook and yelling at people to vote and call their Senators. I think she's disappointed a lot (though I do try to make a point of commenting to say I did the thing, if I did it). My general feeling is that you can't yell people into action, but if they're already outraged and frustrated and at a loss for what to do, you can connect them with opportunities to act.

So I made a Facebook post on Monday saying, basically, that if you're upset by Kavanaugh to take your political engagement up one level - register to vote if you're not, commit to vote if you don't always vote, volunteer if you're a regular voter, etc. I also offered help to anyone who wanted to get involved but didn't know how, and emphasized that I wasn't an expert, I had just made the decision to try to make a difference (and you can too!). Lots of likes, no comments, no one took me up on it. After all their outrage.

So I was feeling a little salty, and then just now an acquaintance - my boyfriend's childhood friend's girlfriend - messaged me to say she was devastated that Kavanaugh was on the Supreme Court, and that she was traveling but when she gets back she'd like more info on how to help with midterms. And Jesus, I feel better. Maybe I'll get a new phonebanking buddy or maybe she'll just write 10 GOTV postcards or maybe this whole thing will fizzle out, but just the fact that someone said "I care, and I want to do something about this."
posted by sunset in snow country at 11:07 AM on October 11 [8 favorites]


Thanks for sharing that, sunset in snow country. And remember--you did that. You were the catalyst for getting your acquaintance to take that step. This time next year, she may well be in your shoes, encouraging other folks along herself.

I bet we all know **at least** one person like this, and we may not know who that person is. (Yet.)
posted by duffell at 12:49 PM on October 11 [3 favorites]


I phone-banked a couple times now. If anyone is feeling iffy about whether they have the energy to try--it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and I actually felt a lot better after doing it. It was really heartening seeing how many volunteers they had and how dedicated they are.

Most people don't even pick up when you're phone-banking, but most of those who did were very motivated to get out and vote Democrat. I even got a few people interested in volunteering.

At the same time...I'm honestly pretty afraid of what will happen if Republicans retain control of congress after the election. I don't want to panic people, but I feel like more people should be freaking out and lining up to help elect Democrats.
posted by myelin sheath at 7:33 PM on October 11 [2 favorites]


There is a great book called "Get Out The Vote" that goes over the effectiveness of various vote turnout tactics. They use evidence taken from actual studies and go over the strength and weaknesses of the evidence for each conclusion. The reason campaigns don't go all out with the yard signs is that they just don't make much of a difference, and certainly not for the cost. I know that it feels they might, and maybe some studies have come out since the book was published that indicate something different--but otherwise things are not in favor of the yard signs. That's the case for mailers, robotic-script-reading-type phonebanking (personalized, enthusiastic phonebanking does seem to work), emails, and unfortunately a lot of popular tactics. Door-to-door remains the gold standard. I think the jury is still out on text canvassing, so text away, especially if you personalize it.
posted by schroedinger at 9:14 PM on October 11 [5 favorites]


Basically what helps get out the vote appears to be intimacy--person-to-person interactions that feel real and meaningful and engage in positive social pressure ("we're all voting, you should too! Thank you so much!")

Well, technically what works best of all is negative social pressure tactics like mailing everyone a card that has their and their neighbors' voting history on it with a reminder that everyone can see whether or not you voted (which they can, they just can't see who you voted for). That makes turnout shoot right up. But everyone will fucking hate you for it.
posted by schroedinger at 9:19 PM on October 11 [3 favorites]


Well, I phonebanked tonight and required three (3) glasses of wine to quell the rage that was kindled in me by the sixty-something white man who thought, "Oh! A young* female! I better keep her on the phone and talk down to her and tell her about All My Views" (which phenomenon I believe was discussed at some length in the Fucking Fuck thread) and the other guy who decided to straight up troll me, whether to keep me on the phone with him and not calling people I could be making headway with, or just to discourage me, I don't know, but either way, arrrghghghgh. I bring this up to say, you know, Postcards to Voters renews me, and phonebanking drains me, and if the lists that PtV gets are as bad as the phonebanking lists (WHY ALL THE REPUBLICANS??) then you are probably right that it's not #1 in terms of GOTV, but at this point it's keeping me sane, and that equals one semi-productive phonebanker. So I really really think people should do whatever they have the capacity to do.

Anyway trolly guy just made me angry and more motivated to phonebank SO. ONWARD.

*haha fml
posted by sunset in snow country at 10:12 PM on October 11 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the encouragement, duffel. I'll get in touch with the BoE or my local party HQ and see what they still need folks to do.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:01 AM on October 12


guy who decided to straight up troll me, whether to keep me on the phone with him and not calling people I could be making headway with, or just to discourage me, I don't know

Another fun one is when they try to sign up to falsely request assistance in getting to the polls, so that they can try to deprive disabled veterans and whoever else who actually needs help. Ha ha ha, we're not just helping Russia undermine the United States, we're totally against democracy! Isn't it hilarious!
posted by XMLicious at 5:02 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]


So I really really think people should do whatever they have the capacity to do.

sunset in snow county, I am so sorry you had a bad experience and I don't mean to discourage anyone from doing what they can. It's awesome that it fired you up to do more. The downside of person-to-person interactions is that people can be dicks. I really think there should be more training of volunteers on how to disengage from negative interactions. Sometimes the training amounts to "if things go negative, disengage ok BYEEEEEEEE" and it's not great if you've never been taught to disengage, or have been actively coached to NOT disengage. Which is the case for most women. And who're currently making up the majority of volunteers. so yeaaaaahhhhhh. Personally I wonder if people sometimes pretend to be the other party because they don't want to be contacted.

I would just encourage everyone to not be totally put off by it. Because you will get people who weren't registered, or who never heard of any of the candidates (really!), or who genuinely don't know where their polling place is or how to get there, and you will be able to help them. And that feels really, really good. That's how we make a difference: one person at a time.

Oh, one more thing about text canvassing: campaigns use apps that make it really easy to bring up and modify scripts, tag voters as "already registered" or "Republican" or "Democrat" or the like so they do or don't get contacted again, and most importantly, don't employ your phone number so you're not texting a bunch of strangers. I mean, I certainly wouldn't do it if it required me to text a bunch of people from my own phone number. Some even enable you to do it from your computer.
posted by schroedinger at 6:07 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]


I'm seeing more and more Audrey for Congress yard signs and bumper stickers around town. Very few for odious incumbent Doug LaMalfa. And interestingly...

Doug LaMalfa's Campaign Funds
Small Individual Contributions (< $200) $13,369 - 2.27%
Large Individual Contributions $278,913 - 47.31%
PAC Contributions $297,202 - 50.42%

Audrey has raised nearly as much as LaMalfa and has done so without accepting corporate PAC contributions. That, plus the proliferation of Audrey yard signs/stickers in my red as heck district, I feel strangely optimistic.

Another candidate that could use help is Dr. Ami Bera; his district (CA-7) has always come down to a razor thin margin with recounts. I'd like to see a clear win for him this year.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:29 AM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Heh, I woke up mildly embarrassed that I had posted that but it was worth it for the encouragement - thank you, schroedinger! I did not really receive any training (and was pretty surprised by that), but shoutout to cybercoitus interruptus who emailed me their notes from a phonebanking training (mentioned here in the election thread) - lots of really good tips in there.

I still have yet to try textbanking but I will have time on Monday and I'm excited!

Another fun one is when they try to sign up to falsely request assistance in getting to the polls, so that they can try to deprive disabled veterans and whoever else who actually needs help. Ha ha ha, we're not just helping Russia undermine the United States, we're totally against democracy! Isn't it hilarious!

Wow, people suck. At least I know to look out for this one now.

And elsietheeel, that's awesome to hear about Audrey Denney. I've been sort of watching those two races (Bera is my mom's rep!) and Jessica Morse, who I did a phonebanking shift for a couple weeks ago. Most of the competitive campaigns in California seem to be in the Central Valley and Orange County and hell if I know what the dynamics are there, but I am familiar with north of Sacramento and the fact that Democrats are making a decent showing there is a huge source of hope.
posted by sunset in snow country at 8:31 AM on October 12 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the shoutout, sunset in snow country! Anybody who wants those notes, send me MeMail with your email address. (Alternatively, I could probably send it to you via MeMail, in chunks. Dunno how much text the MeMail box can hold, but we could find out!) I'm glad you posted about your experience, because that training I transcribed never addressed the situation you encountered.

schroedinger: there should be more training of volunteers on how to disengage from negative interactions. Sometimes the training amounts to "if things go negative, disengage ok BYEEEEEEEE" and it's not great if you've never been taught to disengage, or have been actively coached to NOT disengage. Which is the case for most women. And who're currently making up the majority of volunteers

Thanks, schroedinger. I'll urge this group's trainers to incorporate that problem into their next training.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:55 AM on October 12




I give money to Gretchen Whitmer. I'm driving some more-senior-than-me seniors to the polls. I make crude nasty anti-republi-filth memes and flood Facebook with them. This completes me.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:38 PM on October 12


Thanks for starting this thread!

For the general election, I am mainly working my precinct. I’m a precinct chair in my local Democratic party. My area is almost all apartments, about half of which are marked for no soliciting.

I am trying to do a multi-stage plan for my precinct. First, I mapped most of the buildings and doors. I wanted to get that all on the computer, but so far, it is mostly by hand. Then I hit up all the households at which there was no record of a registered voter there, to try to get them to register. My next phase is to try to hit up all the voters who are registered as independent or third party, to encourage them to vote Dem. The final phase is to get out the vote.

The other major project over the past year or so is that I helped start and get off the ground a statewide progressive caucus within the Democratic party. I am finishing the end of my six-month term as interim chair for my Congressional district, and running for chair of the state caucus. Wish me luck!
posted by maurreen at 11:22 PM on October 13 [2 favorites]




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