What Next?

Dear Group,

As I write this on Thursday morning many Americans are poised to tune in to the re-started Kavanaugh hearings. Brett Kavanaugh, a nearly sainted figure in the eyes of both the corporate and the religious right, appears to have a sodden, hormone-fueled prep school and college past, a story a growing line of women are anxious to tell. Saint Kavanaugh, for his part, categorically denies that he ever once had an impure thought, modeling his denial on those of his apparent mentor, Donald Trump.

The Donald, proclaiming the wondrous success of his presidency to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Wednesday, was greeted with laughter. He followed up by thumbing his nose at our allies, praising dictators, and setting “patriotism” and nationalism as the primary ideals of the new Amerika, all this from a president who dodged military service himself. 

More on the home front in eastern Washington, Sue Lani Madsen, in a widely unread opinion piece in the Spokesman entitled “Longtime local accountant finds tax cuts will benefit middle class,” tries to convince us the middle class really is better off thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Neither she nor the accountant whose convoluted calculations she quotes seem to understand the concept of inflation, nor do they wonder why it takes a tax accountant to convince us the 99% really are better off. 

Meanwhile, those benefiting from the other eighty percent of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are doing very well. Becky Kramer in Thursday’s Spokesman writes, “Thirteen of Avista’s top executives will receive a combined $18 million in immediate payouts if the Spokane-based utility is sold to Hydro One Ltd., of Toronto.” No need for convoluted calculations there…

McMorris Rodgers, having already brought Devin Nunes and Kellyanne Conway to Spokane to rile up her base and raise funds, is apparently doubling down and planning to host none other than Vice President Pence next week at a private fundraiser. The location and time of day, and even the day of the week, seem to be a moving target. The September 21 Spokesman and many other media outlets reported Pence would appear in Spokane Tuesday, October 2. On September 26th another outlet, the “Spokane Patch” reported Pence’s appearance instead might be Wednesday, October 3. I wonder if Pence is delayed in Washington D.C. so he can add a deciding vote to the Kavanaugh confirmation. Clearly, most Republican Senators have cast off any pretense of an open mind regarding Kavanaugh’s accusers. After stiff arming Merrick Garland and changing the rules to confirm Neil Grouch, they’re certainly not going to let a little thing like some whiney women keep them from establishing corporate dominance on the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday this week at breakfast a friend, a Republican of the thoughtful sort, said, “It feels like the country is unraveling.” 

In the midst of all this news, all this swirl, all this angst, I knocked on doors this week and conversed with a number of registered voters and a few unregistered young people in the precincts around Shadle Library. When I asked the question, “Do you plan to vote in the November election?” I was a little stunned to hear from many, “No, I don’t think so.” Asked why, and listened to, the common thread was “Why bother, it won’t change anything…” I talked health care with twenty year old and helped him register to vote. I talked health care and income inequality and insecurity with a sixty something woman who was essentially in despair, saying she could no longer bear to watch the television. I told them of the desperation I feel that lead me to their door to plead with them to vote. In the end they assured me they would vote…and likely for Lisa Brown. 

Get out this weekend for your favorite candidate and knock on doors. I keep meeting volunteer like myself who have never before in their wildest moments imagined they would be doing this, but we need more people out there. You don’t need to know a bunch of policy positions. You come pre-armed with your sincerity and your personal endorsement. The people we need to convince to cast a ballot are often most impressed just by the fact that someone is at their doorstep, listening, and offering some hope.

Sign up to canvass with Lisa Brown and her campaign this afternoon, Saturday or Sunday at https://secure.ngpvan.com/p/oWPMsHe9j0-qY8t2EeeJnQ2 or call the DCCC office at (509) 954-9132 or stop by at 1507 E. Sprague if you’re in Spokane. If not, there are field offices scattered throughout eastern Washington. 

Go to MyVote.wa.gov check out your ballot for your local area, familiarize yourself with a local candidate and join their campaign. It is all good. Voting is essential, but just waiting until November 5th to figure out for whom you might vote (this year especially) is an abdication of civic responsibility.

Keep to the high ground,