Action 1: Take a Victory Lap, Then Ask Your Senators to Oppose Gorsuch

All-of-us did it! On Friday afternoon, after weeks of hearing from thousands of unhappy constituents, the Republicans pulled the American Health Care Act (TrumpDon’tCare). Our calls and visits to Congress halted a bill that would have left 24 million uninsured and  handed Trump and Ryan a devastating defeat.

It’s working.

Let's build on this win and get our Senators to oppose Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. There are many reasons to do this but the most important is that Donald Trump is under investigation by the FBI for potential collusion with Russia for interference in our election with the intent to skew it in Trump's favor. A Supreme Court appointment is a lifetime appointment and Gorsuch is 49 years old, the youngest nominee in several decades. Any lifetime appointments should not proceed the Administration cleared of these serious charges. To move forward would be unprecedented and a blight on our democracy, potentially for decades.

While most votes in the Senate only require a simple majority, the Democratic leadership has promised to oppose Gorsuch's nomination to a filibuster. If this happens, 60 votes will be required to enable consideration of Gorsuch and the Republicans don’t have the votes (the Republicans hold a 52-48 majority). Our Senators need us to have their back and to urge those who are wavering to commit to opposing.

Here’s how:

1. First, take a moment to marvel at the big, beautiful Wall-of-Us by visiting Brick-by-Brick where we track the successes we have accomplished together. (1 minute)

2. Now that you're pumped up, contact your Senators and ask them to oppose Gorsuch by calling or leaving a message for them. These tools make it easy. Use this script. (5 minutes)

 

 

 

 

Action 2: Don't Be Distracted By Trump's Tweets

Some of you may have heard that we held our first ever Wonkathon. If you didn't, check out this article. These Wonkathons will help us create actions that are informed by experts so that our activism remains strategic.

One expert who we "wonked out" with is George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics who has written for decades on political messaging. Lakoff has been beating his fists on the table for years in hopes that the Democrats (that includes all-of-us) will stop framing our messages in a way that advances the conservative agenda. We didn't listen--instead we repeated (and reinforced) Trump's messages. Lakoff explains,

"Repetition is a way of changing people’s brains...There wasn’t anything Hillary did that was crooked. But he kept saying it until people believed it. And they believed it because it was heard enough times to strengthen the neural circuitry in their brains. It wasn’t just stupidity. It’s simply the way brains work."

By repeating that Hillary wasn't crooked, Democrats in fact reinforced his message!

All-of-us must now hear Professor Lakoff and realize that Trump's tweets are a distraction tactic. This tactic won't work because we will stop repeating his lies. Instead all-of-us will frame and drive the message, starting with the truths that we will expose, and repeat, about Russia. 

We know that this is complex stuff, but the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time! So let's get started with some bite-sized framing strategies today--we'll serve up more in weeks to come. To take our country back, we must keep the force of George Lakoff with all-of-us.

Here's how: 

1. Review this 1-page article, in which Lakoff describes the strategy behind Trump's recent tweet falsely accusing President Obama. Understand that this is a distraction strategy, and stop falling for it. (2 minutes)

2. Review this 1-page Trump Tweet Playbook to learn how to react to Trump's tweets. This is not just for reporters, implement this 3-step method in all your communications about Trump. Wall-of-Us will (See Action 3 this week). (1 minute)

3. Check out this video of George Lakoff at our recent Wonkathon. (15 minutes)

4.  If you want to understand more, watch this interview of George Lakoff on the Tavis Smiley show. (25 minutes)

5. For more resources, "friend" Professor Lakoff on his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter (@GeorgeLakoff). Lakoff will soon be building a website for his new Citizens' Communication Network, a free resource that will provide framing advice for all-of-us.

 

Action 3: Ask Your Representatives to Shine a Light on Trump's Shady Dealings with Russia

If you read Action 2, you now see that Trump tried to distract us with his false accusation that Obama wiretapped him. Well, it ain't gonna work. What is working, however, is the Wall-of-Us! We stopped Michael Flynn, who resigned after we pushed for his ouster. We then got Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigations. But we're not done yet. Facts are stubborn things and so are all-of-us.

That's why we will keep our focus on Trump's dealings with Russia. This week all-of-us must demand a full investigation by an independent and non-partisan commission. The House Intelligence Committee is falling short. As The Washington Post reported, the White House used members of Congressional intelligence committees to do its bidding to "counter" claims on Russia. The Chairman of the committee, Devin Nunes, broke with clear protocol and shared pertinent information with the White House before sharing it with the intelligence committee! Republican Senator John McCain agrees--he said that a special committee was needed because the House Intelligence Committee lost "the credibility to handle this alone." We must take action to protect our democracy from foreign influence.

Here’s how:

1.  Take a look at this chart to see if your representatives have publicly supported an independent committee. If they have, your work is done (although you could call to thank them). If they have not, Call your Representatives and ask them to publicly support a select committee to independently investigate Trump’s ties to Russia. Here is a list of Representatives who are on the House Intelligence Committee. Use this script. (5 minutes)

2. Share what you learn! Help us fill out this chart, which tracks which representatives are speaking out publicly. Include links to your sources (i.e. the member of Congress’ website or press release). (3 minutes)

Action 4: Ask Your School Districts to Protect Immigrants

We are listening to those of you in deep blue states who have asked for actions beyond calling Congress. In case you missed it, here is an article about the Wall-of-Us action on calling your Sheriff. We agree that state and local actions are just as important and sometimes more impactful. That’s why this week we are asking all-of-us to call our local school districts and ask them to stand with our immigrant families. 

After Trump signed his Executive Order on immigration, the Department of Homeland Security "cracked down" on immigrants. The department's memos call for the removal of nearly all undocumented immigrants, a tripling of the number ICE agents, and the stripping of due process and privacy protections. ICE has gone into churches and courthouses. While ICE has not yet entered schools, our immigrant families are scared. As state director of a grassroots immigrant rights group Samuel Molina has said, “Some children are afraid to go to school, or have stopped attending altogether, out of fear of being deported."

In the words of David Bowie, “This is not America”.

To target Trump’s un-American policies, Wall-of-Us is consulting with immigration policy experts to focus on the most strategic actions. This week we are highlighting the work of The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) and the ACLU to focus on school districts.

As the ILRC states, “as a trusted institution in immigrant families’ lives, schools can play a critical role in ensuring immigrant families have access to important information and resources.” 

We must ensure that our schools play this critical role.

Here’s how:

* Remember that you do not need to have a child in your school district to advocate that your district stand with our immigrants. Members of the school board are (generally, but not always) elected positions.

1. Locate and review your local school district’s website. Does it include “know your rights” information for our immigrant families? Is it easy to find? Is it written in English and Spanish? Does it include information about a sanctuary or safe haven resolution similar to the Los Angeles Unified School District one here? (5 minutes)

2. Review this resource that the ILRC has put together for school districts. (3 minutes)

3. Call or email your school district and use this script, which refers to resources for your school district. (5-10 minutes)