Senator Collins, please vote no on the tax bill

Passing time after dropping off my daughters at their afternoon writing groups, waiting until the end-of-class celebration, I decided to stop in to Senator Collins’ office.

It’s super-easy to drop in and write a little note. There’s a form to fill out in the waiting room and the guy at reception was friendly.

It’s a block down from Bard and Starbucks Coffee, at One Canal Plaza (you’ll see the Key Bank on your right as you walk toward the door in the middle of the building.

Her office is on the 8th floor, take a right off the elevator and another right into her office.

If you’re in the area, I recommend stopping in and leaving a note. We need her to vote no on this awful bill.

“4-page guide to surviving an authoritarian regime, in graphic form” #LearnFromEurope 

from twitter:

The COMPLETE 4-page Guide to Surviving an Authoritarian Regime, in graphic form
-With love, your Eastern European friends✌️ #LearnFromEurope

— 🇪🇺Martin Mycielski (@mycielski) January 25, 2017

it’s easy to tell your representatives in Congress what’s important to you, the voter

Culled from a variety of sources on the Internet, here’s what I know that has helped me stay motivated about calling our elected officials:

  • odds are very good, you’ll get voicemail — phone phobics can relax!
  • say this: My name is ______. I live in ________. I don’t need a response. I’m calling to urge ___rep name_____ to oppose/support the ______ bill. Thank you taking this message, I appreciate the work you (staffers) are doing;
    • if you want to say more after the first statements, that’s fine, but, as I understand it, what really matters is the number of calls they get yay or nay;
  • if you simply can’t get yourself to call, try faxing a letter via resistbot

So, for example, this morning, I called Senator Collins’ office here in Maine ( for #s), I chose the Portland number because that’s where I live (207) 780-3575 but the phone was busy, so I called DC. My message asked her to oppose the tax bill, even with modifications. I said I didn’t need a reply. I told the staff who would be retrieving the message that they could stop listening if they wanted (I don’t know if they’re allowed to do that or not) but I went on to explain that I want to be able to tell my daughters that Senator Collins is helping make things better. She’s protecting children and the elderly, she’s looking out for people working hard to make ends meet by opposing legalized greed. I want to tell that to my daughters.

why are Russians the “bad guys?”

Most people feel embarrassed when they don’t know stuff that it seems like everyone else knows. I recently tweeted about how when the Trump/Russia stuff started coming out I had to google to find out why Putin was so bad, why the Russians were so bad — and, really, were they actually? wasn’t that kind of Reagan-like or something? could it be old stereotypes?

I did a bunch of googling and found that, yes, Russia wants to be a threat to our country. There are lots of articles out there, but this article from Vanity Fair was the one I found most helpful: “THE SECRET SOURCE OF PUTIN’S EVIL It’s not the K.G.B., or the Cold War. It’s decidedly more Pushkin-esque, or Peter the Great, than that.”

Putin’s goal is not just a little more turf. Russia has a lot of that. His telos—his endgame—is the destabilization, the overcoming, of the whole Western order.

listen to the truth tellers

It’s horrible, of course. All of this “Trump stuff” (useful shorthand) is terrible. But I keep thinking about the thousands and thousands of people who have lived with this reality for hundreds of years but so many of us didn’t notice. We didn’t realize it was “this bad.”

I’m trying to imagine what it must be like to not only find the new realities we are facing — the corporate takeover of our Democracy — terrifying, but to also have to bear witness to the thousands of newbies just now waking up. The frustration must be enormous.

As we practice standing together, now that we’ve started listening, I hope that those of us who so recently realized “how bad it is” will dig deep into listening to those voices who have been telling us about it all along.

Here’s one powerful example: “An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis” by James Baldwin