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Jul 01 2014

Between Now and November 4

So you’re upset about yesterday’s Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision that says your company can have a religion, and if it does, its religious rights trump your rights to affordable medical care. Good. You should be upset. You should be upset about most of the rulings the Supreme Court has been putting out over the last several years and this year in particular.

What are you going to do about it?

You can’t change the makeup of the court without illegal and arguably immoral actions, but this is not an acceptable situation. How are you going to change it?

Let’s start with how we got here. Complacency. Apathy. Laziness. The belief that politicians don’t get anything done, so it doesn’t matter who’s in office. The belief that politicians don’t listen, so there’s no point in talking to yours. The belief that the political process is done by faceless people in back rooms.

Not all of those are necessarily your problem, but any that are need to be set aside now. The Supreme Court is our last line of defense against bad lawmaking, and it has proven itself worse than useless in that respect. If we don’t exercise our control over the lawmaking stage, our rights will continue to be stripped away from us. The elections this November give us an opportunity to keep things from getting worse and to make them better.

So what can you do?

  • Talk to your U.S. Senators and Representative. Yes, even the terrible ones. Echo the White House’s call to Congress to fix the problem on contraception in the short term. Whether they’re up for election this year or not, tell them that this is an important issue that influences your vote. If they don’t already see your name in their email or call records for other issues, tell them that reproductive freedom is the issue that is getting you involved in politics.
  • Talk to your state representatives. Yes, even the terrible ones. Tell them you support unfettered access to reproductive health care, including all forms of contraception and abortion. Tell them this is motivating you to donate your time and money come election time. This means a lot at the state level.
  • Find out where the candidates running for state and federal positions stand. Find out whether they think access to reproductive health care is a right, or is immoral, or has to be earned by some arbitrary set of behavior. Don’t settle for pro-choice or pro-life tags and handwaving. Tell them this will affect how you vote, and get answers.
  • Share what you find out. Post your results to your social media for the people who follow you there. Talk about it in any situation where discussing political news is accepted. Even if you haven’t gotten answers, that is news. Share it.
  • Support the good candidates, particularly where races are close. Donate time and/or money. Put up lawn signs. Talk about your choices. Write letters to the editor. Get their other supporters to the polls.
  • Vote. Not just November 4 but whenever you have the opportunity. Pay attention to primaries and get to the polls. Caucus if you can. This is where you improve the quality of your candidates come November.
  • Tell people what you’re doing to ensure you have the best government representation possible. Normalize taking an active role in government. Tell them why you find this issue important enough to act on. Inspire them to do the same.

Yes, all this is work. It’s more work than it would have been if we’d spread it out over the last few decades, but we didn’t, so we’re stuck doing it now. But what it isn’t is hopeless work. This ruling affects an awful lot of people directly, and when we’re pissed off, we have the numbers to be a force to be reckoned with. Even in the face of massive donations to campaigns, enthusiastic people on the ground win elections.

Be one of those numbers. Make a difference.

2 comments

  1. 1
    adamo

    Amen. We need to keep 2 things in mind. This fall is vital. We can’t ignore this election because it’s “just” a non-presidential one. Congress sucks, folks. We need to swing the balance so things can finally get done. Not just for now, either. We will need a senate that will approve the other thing we so badly need: sensible SCOTUS replacements as they retire and/or die. And thus we need that second thing: your vote in the presidential election in two more years.

  2. 2
    Rieux

    We can’t ignore this election because it’s “just” a non-presidential one.

    Indeed not. Quite the opposite, for many of us who live in solidly blue states (or, for that matter, solidly red ones), our votes this November matter quite a bit more than our votes in 2016 will. For example, in Stephanie’s and my Minnesota, 2016 will be a walk for Hillary Clinton or whomever else the Democrats put up for President, but 2014 is very much not a walk for U.S. Senator Al Franken or for numerous statewide officials (Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor, etc.) whose jobs matter enormously.

    So GOTV like crazy this year! Very possibly 2016 will matter less.

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