The health care fight carries on but we made some progress! We only need six more Republican representatives in the House to come out against it to stop the AHCA there, before it goes on to the Senate. If your representative is a Democrat, call to make sure they are standing strong. If they’re a Republican, call and let them know how important this is. People can die if we don’t act. So here’s what’s going on. Let our voices be heard!! This weekly series aims to a) help us stay informed on the events unfolding in America and b) urge readers to add their voice to the chorus calling out for justice. We must be aware. We must be vocal. We must be active. We must be loving. This is how we will triumph and how we will transform our lives, our nation, and our world.
The battle marches on and I’ve been listening to the Flobots to help keep me focused on the essentials of our struggle. This song, “Stand Up,” from their debut album Fight With Tools has some guidance. “Stand up / we shall not be moved” – this is what we need to keep telling ourselves. “House representatives preach ‘stay the course’ / Time for a leap of faith once more / Put your hands high if you haven’t abandoned the hope that the pen stroke’s mightier than the cannon.” Let’s believe in our power and the power of our democracy.
Here’s what’s coming up that we need to talk to our representatives about or call/email/mail other people in government/power. Note, whenever possible, have the bill number of the issue you’re calling about ready to share with the staffer who answers the phone.
1) HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act – I devoted almost the entirety of last week’s post to how dangerous the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in favor of replacing it with the American Health Care Act would be. If you’d like to revisit all the statistics, feel free to click here. But suffice it to say this is a dangerous move born of spite towards Obama and pushed forward with no care for the millions it would hurt. If we let this happen, people can die.
Speaker Paul Ryan has scheduled the vote for Thursday. He thinks they have the votes to repeal the ACA BUT WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS!! We have to keep the pressure on! Let your representatives know this is not acceptable.
2) Then there is Trump’s proposed budget – “President Trump’s new budget would increase defense spending by $54 billion — while slashing funding for medical research, climate science, public housing, education, aid to the indigent, infrastructure, and many, many other things.” Things like Meals on Wheels, school lunch and after care programs, heating assistance for seniors, financial aid for students, public broadcasting, senior center nutrition programs, legal aid to those who need it, and aid for coal workers leaving the industry to go to school and find new jobs among other things will be cut…which is great if you profit from the military industrial complex and/or worship the war machine with an idolatrous love buuuut not so hot if you are a compassionate human being and/or someone who will be gravely affected by his proposed cuts.
White House’s budget director Mick Mulvaney had the gall to call this “compassionate” too. It’s important to realize this is just a proposed budget and the very first step in hammering out the federal budget. But we can’t treat it as something that can be overlooked. We need to cry out now. The Mad King Donnie has shown us yet again what he values and what he doesn’t with a budget lacking compassion, mercy, or care for anyone outside of his billionaires club. So we must call out senators and representatives and let them know what we value.
3) We mustn’t forget they are still trying to terminate the EPA (H.R. 861) and the Department of Education (H.R. 899). As you’re on the phone with your representatives, remind them that both of these are horrible ideas too…unless we all want to watch the world burn down around us while we have no solid academic understanding of what’s happening.
These aren’t matters our reps will vote on directly but they are still important news we should be aware of:
1) As should surprise no one (except maybe Trumpy himself because he seems to think he “won” an election to make him Undisputed King and Tyrant of the United States), U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii struck down his revised travel ban on the grounds that alllllllll his very public and very loud statements, tweets, etc. establish discriminatory intent.
2) In the wake of his revised travel ban being struck down, the Orange Tyrant’s comments illustrate how little he respects or cares about the fundamental checks and balances in our government. According the Trump, adhering to the Constitution “makes us look weak.”
3) This piece details how Rep. Steve King of Iowa’s racist remarks earlier this week – and the disturbing lack of reaction from the Republican Party – illustrate how far the GOP has fallen. “While some might be inclined to dismiss King as a fringe figure, the very fact that so few Republicans are willing to criticize him speaks volumes. They clearly don’t want to alienate those voters who agree with King’s racist remarks. It’s yet one more reminder of the extent to which white nationalism and open racism have become normalized within the modern Republican Party.”
4) Perhaps most disturbing of all, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Donnie have not-so-subtly threatened war with North Korea. Let’s look at this again…they are threatening war with North Korea. In the constant stream of shit the Trump administration does to keep us disoriented and unable to resist everything at once, this is the most dangerous distraction yet.
1) Have you, like me, been wondering what a conversation between Jesus and Paul Ryan would look like? Thankfully we’re in luck! Nicholas Kristof wrote just such an exchange. The theology and scripture use in the narrative is sound and it’s well worth a read.
2) Also on the theology note, Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox (who was a Catholic priest for twenty-eight years and has now been an Episcopalian priest for twenty-two) wrote this challenging piece about Paul Ryan’s religious hypocrisy. He asks some important questions of Ryan…that any of us who call ourselves Christian must also ask of ourselves.
Now I turn to my faith, Jesus, scripture, and those who have followed those messages best to remind myself why I fight, how I fight, and who I fight for:
For our prayer this week, let’s use the USCCB’s prayer for Syria:
Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.
Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.
Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace.
O God of hope and Father of mercy,
your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs.
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies.
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
The battle for justice is only just beginning. Join the Resistance! Give it all you have! I encourage anyone interested in helping speak out about and challenge the injustices growing around us to do so. If you’d like, reach out to me in the comments and/or message me on Twitter. You’re certainly welcome to send me news you’d like to see included! I am only one person and, as such, have a finite ability to track these things. If you happen to be a blogger or vlogger yourself, you’re also welcome to take what I post in these weekly calls to action and share it on your own site too if you feel so called. But, most of all, I hope you’ll take advantage of the direct link that is in this post and all the posts to follow to call – and keep calling – your representatives. Democracy works if we participate. Love will triumph if we have faith. We can’t give up our belief in those principles or we’ve already lost the struggle.
I want to end with “Anne Braden,” another Flobots song about a Mississippi woman who got involved in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s. They sing, “She faced this every day / People she saw on a regular basis / People she loved, in several cases / People she knew were incredibly racist / It was painful, but she never stopped loving them / Never stopped callin’ their names / And she never stopped being a Southern woman / And she never stopped fighting for change.” This is important. We are surrounded by people it is all too easy to see as the enemy. I fall into this trap too. We look to friends and family and wonder how could you support this?!? It hurts. It’s hard. But we can’t give up. We can’t stop loving them nor can we stop challenging them and calling for change. The song ends with the reminder, “What you win in the immediate battles is, is little compared to the effort you put into it but if you see that as a part of this total movement to build a new world, you know what cathedral you’re building when you put your stone in.” It may not look like we’re making progress when we look at the news. But the only way we lose is if we give up, resign ourselves to injustice, and stop fighting. Resist!