What to Do This Week of May 28, 2017

by May 30, 2017Opinion, What To Do This Week0 comments

Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience

By Jen Hofmann

29 weeks down, 75 weeks to mid-term elections. Congress is in recess.

The intention of this weekly document is to make clear, hype-free suggestions for action backed by well-considered research for Americans who care about democracy and justice.

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Click if you have a question, correction, or action suggestion. With thanks!


I believe I can make a difference in our democracy.

Action: Create an activism plan.

  1. Get the worksheet: Plan your activism strategy with my Action Worksheet (or Kelly Wooten’s pocket-sized version). Print either to get started.
  2. Get Stance: This app makes calling elected officials easier and less stressful.


I believe in equal rights for all Americans.

Action: Oppose taxpayer-funded discrimination of LGBTQ+ youth.

Call: All 3 MoCs (lookup or leave message).

Script: I am from _ZIP_ and am concerned that Betsy DeVos’ would have my tax dollar fund schools that discriminate against gay kids, which could increase the risk of youth suicide. We need all schools to welcome all kids. I am asking _NAME_ to support the use of public money only for public education—not the voucher system and not religious education.


Action: Oppose excessive, discriminatory sentencing of low-level drug offenders.

Call: All 3 MoCs (lookup or leave message).

Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ calling to oppose stricter penalties to low-level drug offenders. Jeff Sessions’ policies waste taxpayer money on incarceration and stricter sentencing that doesn’t deter drug offenders. I would like _NAME_ to support the bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act S.1127 (senators)/H.R. 2435 (rep) to give judges authority in sentencing.


I believe in a government led by qualified, trustworthy representatives.

Action: Call for Jeff Sessions to step down as Attorney General.

Call: Your 3 MoCs (lookup or leave message).

Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ calling with concerns about our leadership’s integrity. Jeff Sessions failed to reveal meetings with Russian diplomats during his security screening process. I would like _NAME_ to join Senator Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Lieu (D-CA) in calling for his resignation. Thanks.


Action: Insist on integrity and transparency from Republican reps.

Call: Your one representative (only if Republican)  (lookup).

Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ calling to ask why _NAME_ does not support the release of the president’s tax returns. (pause) Can you please tell me what it will take for _NAME_ to stand up for transparency and integrity? (pause) I would like _NAME_ to make a public statement supporting the release of Trump’s taxes. Thanks!


Action: Insist that 45 keep his word.

Call: White House comment line 202-456-1111 (or send an email).

Script: I’m from _TOWN, STATE_ and want the president to honor his promise to pay back money he makes from foreign governments in his businesses. People don’t like a president who breaks his promises.


Action: Advocate for a bipartisan commission in addition to a special counsel.

Call: All three MoCs (lookup or leave message).

Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_. My informed opinion is that we need an independent, bipartisan commission to protect our democracy and prevent future election interference. Does _NAME_ plan to support S.27/H.R.356?


Action: Support Democratic representation in traditionally Republican regions.

Help South Carolina elect Archie Parnell (donate/volunteer). Election: June 20.

Help Georgia elect Jon Ossoff (donate/volunteer). Election: June 20.

Note: A lesson from Montana’s special election is how much money GOP PACs have to stack the deck (outspent by $4M). Giving early makes a difference.


I believe in the Constitutional right to a free press.

Action: Support journalists.

Ben Jacobs, the journalist attacked last week, requested that the fundraiser to buy him new glasses go to The Committee to Protect Journalists.

Donate: To the GoFundMe campaign or directly to CPJ here.


I believe in quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.

Action: Advocate for the healthcare you want. By Friday, June 2.

Now is the time. Senators are using this week’s recess to gauge your needs.

Call: Both of your senators, red or blue (lookup or leave message).

Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ calling about healthcare. I would like _NAME_ to fight for my right to affordable, quality healthcare coverage. Specifically, (list what you want). Ideas:

  1. No gender discrimination.
  2. No lifetime caps.
  3. To cover all pre-existing conditions.
  4. To cost less than $X per month per person.
  5. Comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid.
  6. Start pressuring health insurance companies to decrease costs.

Then share a story about why one of these is important to you, personally. Thanks!


I believe in creating a healthy planet for future generations.

Action: Oppose opening national monuments to energy development.

Visit: Regulations.gov, click dark blue Comment Now! button, upper right.

Script: I am writing in response to executive order 13792. (Share how you use or enjoy national monuments.) Americans are creative and can meet energy needs without destroying the purity of wild spaces. The assumption that our national monuments aren’t profitable is false. Annually, the outdoor recreation economy supports 7.6 million jobs and generates $887 billion in consumer spending each year. (Say why you want these spaces to be preserved.)

Note: Cut-and-pasted messages will be disregarded, so make yours unique.


I believe in a vote for every American.

Action: Advocate for widespread, fee-free voting access.

Call: Your one representative (or send a postcard) (lookup or leave message).

Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from _ZIP_ interested in election integrity and equal voting access for all Americans. I would like Rep. _NAME_ to support three bills to accomplish this. The first is HR 2499 for shorter wait times in line. The second is HR 607 which eliminates the illegal poll tax of required ID. Finally, HR 2669 would allow vote by mail and increased security with automatic voter registration. Thanks for communicating this and for your time. Name, Address


I believe in financial responsibility.

Action: Oppose efforts to dissolve consumer financial protections by June 5.

Call: Your one representative (lookup or leave message).

Script: Hi! I’m from _ZIP_ and concerned that Congress’ efforts to repeal Dodd-Frank will create the same problems as the 2008 financial crash. (Share a personal story about how that period affected you.) I oppose dissolving consumer protections, weakening bank stress tests, and am asking _NAME_ to oppose H.R. 10. Thanks!


I believe in being a good citizen of the world.

Action: Help gay Chechens escape torture. (hat tip)

Sign: Petition to US companies to pressure Chechnya economically.

Donate: Help Chechens escape by donating to the Russian LGBT Network.


Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut… Just two more…


Action: Let Montenegro’s leader know not all Americans are pushy. (hat tip)

Write: What would you like to say to Prime Minister Duško Marković after 45 pushed him out of the way?

Address: Embassy of Montenegro, 1610 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

fax: 202-234-6109

email: usa@mfa.gov.me


Action: Oppose selling American weapons to countries that commit war crimes.

Call: Your Senators

Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ calling about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. I am deeply concerned that selling arms to Saudi Arabia will increase civilian deaths, worsen famine, and risk radicalizing Yemenis against America. I would like _NAME_ to sign the joint resolution proposed by Rand Paul, Chris Murphy, and Al Franken to disapprove the 110 billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

Note: The J.R. does not yet have a number assigned. Will update.


Acts of Gratitude

Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.

Thank Rep Walter Jones (R-NC) for voting for the release of 45’s tax returns. Americans appreciate you voting for transparency rather than party. Name, State, Party

Address: 2333 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515


Thank NY AG Eric Schneiderman for taking Exxon to task. Corporations that are complicit in global warming should be held accountable. Thank you. Name, State

Address: Eric T. Schneiderman, Esq., Attorney General, The Capitol,

Albany, New York 12224


Thank Chellie Pingree (D-ME) for reminding Sec. Zinke that 45 does not have jurisdiction over national monuments; Congress does. Thank you for your advocacy for America’s people, monuments, and wild places. Name, State, Party

Address: 2162 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515


Thank Mark Meadows (R-NC) for his understanding of the risks facing Americans with pre-existing conditions. Thank you for honoring the memory of your sister and father in your advocacy for affordable healthcare for all Americans. Name, State, Party

Address: 1024 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515


Thank Rand Paul (R-KY) for opposing the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. Human rights and protecting national security are more important than a “good deal.” Thank you for your leadership. Name, State, Party

Address: 1029 State Street, Bowling Green, KY 42101


Thank Mayor Mitch Landrieu for removing symbols of slavery and oppression from New Orleans’ public spaces. Our country is better for it and for your example.

Address: Mayor’s Office, 1300 Perdido St, 2nd Floor, New Orleans, LA 70112


Thank Dr. Christine Fair for standing up to a white supremacist. Racism and intolerance are never acceptable. Thank you for being so brave! Name, State, Party

Address: C. Christine Fair, Georgetown Univ., 202 Mortara Bldg., Washington, DC 20057

Note: Christine has gotten a lot of hate mail, so send extra sparkles!


Recommended reading

Thought-provoking, in-depth reading that’s worth your time.

  • A calm, concise 4-part summary of what happened last week (The Atlantic).
  • A powerful speech by New Orleans’ mayor on taking down Confederate monuments.
  • A list of 45’s financial conflicts and emoluments violations (The Atlantic).
  • What Congress can learn from Kansas’ failed tax experiment (Vox).
  • Trump’s base of enthusiastic supporters is waning. (FiveThirtyEight)
  • Most of the negative media coverage of 45 is by Republicans (The Nation).


Good news


Final action

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Please keep taking good care of yourself and rest when you need to.




  • Note: There will be no checklist next week (Sun, June 4, 2017) to heal my elbow.
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