How to be a more active progressive in seven easy steps

Ran across this site today, and I thought there was good advice here that I’d pass on.

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How to Be a More Active Progressive in Seven Easy Steps

This list is not intended to be didactic.  Revise it.  Expand it.  Print it and use it as cat litter box liner.  In other words, feel free to do with it as you please.  But I have a feeling it will be helpful to more than a handful of folks out there—including myself!

I’m holding myself to 500 words.  The rest is up to you.

1.  Know Thy Political Self

What worked for Plato still works today.  Here’s a three-page “know thy political self” challenge:

Sheet 1:  Compose your personal political philosophy.  That’s about 500 words on a computer.

Sheet 2:  Write a top-ten list of political issues that matter to you.  Could be municipal, state, national, international issues.  Provide a short description of what you believe about each issue.

Sheet 3:  Write down your personal political activity in the past year.  Could contain anything from “I voted” to “I delivered a speech at the U.N.”.

2a.  Create a Politician Contact List:  Display It Everywhere

I suspect that if we simply took 30 minutes to make it easier to contact politicians, we would.  Create a politician contact list for categories related to your political existence (local, state, national, etc.).  Include email addresses, telephone numbers, mailing addresses, etc.

Put it multiple places.  Your refrigerator.  Your iPhone.  Make laminated dining table placemats—should lead to interesting conversations this Thanksgiving. (Most state websites provide a simple way to list politicians who answer to your vote.)

2b.  Become a Politician

[Does not apply to anyone currently engaged in a sex scandal.]

3.  Support Your Local U.S. Post Office

Step 1.  Take out 12 Envelopes.

Step 2.  Take out 12 Stamps.

Step 3.  Affix said stamps to said envelopes and write your return address on each envelope.

Step 4.  Put a sticky note on each envelope:  November 1, December 1, etc.

Step 5.  Each month, write a one-page letter to a politician about an issue that matters to you.  You already have a political contact list.  It doesn’t have to be long; in fact, the more succinct, the better.

Get in the habit of communicating this way with politicians.  Politicians pay attention to hardcopy letters.

Representative Joe “You Lie” Wilson and I have nothing in common other than our male anatomy.  I once mailed him a letter about a problem I was having with a federal agency.  Shortly thereafter, I received an apology letter from the agency, accompanied by the information I needed, plus a copy of Representative Wilson’s letter to the agency.

Calls and emails matter.  But a mailed letter is a signal to a politician that you are really concerned.

If you truly want to impress, deliver your letter in person with 10,000 of your closest friends.

4.  Plug-in to Quality Political Information

Go back to your top-ten political issues list.  Connect to groups that are trustworthy sources of information for particular subjects.  (Example:  World Wildlife Fund for conservation.)  Trust me, these groups will tell you how to contribute to the cause. Do your research and ensure their trustworthiness.

5.  Participate in a Political Rally or Protest

Pledge to attend one political rally or protest before the November 2014 election.  You don’t have to participate; it’s okay to be a bystander.  It could even be for a political cause you don’t support.  Just make the effort “to be there.”  The hardest part of dancing is stepping onto the floor.

6.  Don’t patronize Walmart.

While I recognize that it’s virtually impossible to spend one’s life weighing whether or not to support a commercial entity based on a political calculus, it’s not necessarily a bad idea to put some research and thought into where one spends one’s hard-earned cash.

For me, that’s Walmart and a handful of other companies, including one which happens to have a clown in a red and yellow costume as a spokesperson—and, no, I’m not talking about the CEO of Chik-fil-A.

7.  VOTE. EVERY. TIME. YOU. CAN.

We have this many days before we can finally rid our asses of a good number of blithering, anti-progressive, meat puppets. Vote, and urge your friends and neighbors to vote.

A gleam of sunshiny sanity from SCOTUS

From Chief Justice Roberts concerning the overturn of DOMA:

“The Court does not have before it, and the logic of its opinion does not decide, the distinct question whether the States . . . may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage.”

Better words could not describe it.

UPDATE: Proposition 8 is overturned based on standing. So here is the legal picture:

ssm_map

Why I love romantic realism in art

romanticrealism

I live in the world as it is. That is why naturalistic art bores me. I want to experience what might be.

That’s why I read so much speculative fiction, and why I enjoy Turner, and Rodin, and Conrad, and Doestoevsky, and Dickens  — the best of such artists show us what the world could be, or what it should be, or what we dread it to be.