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Kudos to Postcarders!!

The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton.

Last year, Indivisible Northampton (IN) held a fundraising campaign. Donations from you, our members, and a matching grant from the national organization (that provides us with ongoing support and guidance) raised over $1,000. We have chosen to use a significant portion of these funds to support our on-going postcard campaigns. IN has purchased and provided postcards free of charge, and is able to offer some subsidies for postage to make broader participation possible.

Over the last few years, Indivisible Northampton volunteers have participated in postcard campaigns to diligently and effectively send postcards to voters in locations chosen to effect critical outcomes. We have provided information to help people register to vote, most recently Texas women, or to request mail-in ballots. We have supported constituents in numerous states to lobby their congresspeople for specific legislation. We have provided voters with information on the benefits of Democratic legislation, and we have lobbied hard for Democratic candidates.

Literally hundreds of you have written thousands of postcards (more than 45,000 from the Florence porch alone!) and informed, alerted, encouraged voters all over the US. You have endured cramped muscles from lengthy hand-written messages, invested heavily in US postcard stamps, and spent hours doing this volunteer work.

We send a big shout out of thanks and appreciation to all of you who make this work possible. Data collected by a wide range of organizations–from progressive groups (e.g.,Sister District, Reclaim Our Vote, Postcards to Swing States) to the State of Pennsylvania–have documented the positive impact of postcards, especially in getting out the vote. Organizations have also documented the impact of campaigns that have yielded significant constituent contact with their Congressperson on specific issues.

All this is to say….Indivisible Northampton is committed to providing access to postcarding campaigns that put this tactic to effective use! We are currently planning where we will next focus our work. With your help, our members and donors, we will maintain and expand the impact of our progressive postcarding!

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What’s an activist to do….

It was such a relief to vote Trump out, and to anticipate a return to rational democracy. Recent Republican attacks on our voting rights, the bedrock of our democracy, and the harm that they would do, have us reeling. I try to understand their actions from their different political perspectives, but it’s hard to come up with a motivation beyond greed or outright cruelty.

And then the goal post keeps shifting. First we heard that S1 was a “must pass by the end of August!”. “Failure is not an option!” But here we are at the end of October and the negotiations
within the Democratic party–over bills for infrastructure as well as voting rights–appear fractious and interminable.

But here’s the thing–if your political perspective values most maintaining power, and believes that the way to prosperity is to preserve and enhance the wealthiest among us, who will then create opportunities for the rest of us, then your path forward is clear. Your job is to protect the wealthy and powerful and create the circumstances for their continued growth. This is the mantra of the Republican party, as measured by their actions.

A Democratic Senate caucus that includes Senators with views as disparate as Joe Manchin, say, and Bernie Sanders (just to choose a couple, think Sinema/Warren and Tester/Markey, etc.) does not have the luxury of unanimity. In the House, similarly, the Democratic caucus ranges from Rep. Jaime Raskin to Jason Crow, from AOC to Connor Lamb. Theirs are not easily reconciled perspectives, which translates into fiercely debated priorities and policies.

This is messy, at turns infuriating and terrifying for those of us watching, working and worrying. But this is, as we know, how democracy works. If the Democratic Party truly does embrace the broad diversity of The People and their priorities, it really can’t work any other way than through the differences, opinions and quarrels.

So….what do we do? How do we maintain our confidence and motivation? I believe that we hold firm to our belief in our goals; for me, that means that voting should be accessible to all, that all people in this country deserve safety, security and the means to a healthy and productive life. These are desirable and attainable goals! As Stacey Abrams says, “I am not optimistic or pessimistic, I am determined.”

Be kind to yourselves–do things you enjoy! Maybe it’s getting out in nature, time with friends, exercising, taking a break, indulging in a guilty pleasure or a good book, or your own source of solace. And be kind to each other. This is not a sprint; it’s a marathon!

— Marta Lev

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What’s an activist to do?

By Marta Lev

The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton.

Every day there is some image that sums up the extent of the malice and, okay, evil of the times in which we find ourselves. For me, today’s image was of a pick up truck filled with US Postal boxes, and a worker unbolting another box from the ground, to be carried off. This is the latest gambit to manipulate an election’s outcome by limiting US citizens’ access to voting; especially infuriating to those of us working hard, and successfully, to expand voter participation in vote by mail.

What’s a concerned citizen to do? Abandon vote-by-mail organizing? Double down on it? I’m going with the latter, specifically facilitating Florida voters to get vote by mail (VBM) ballots. When the concern about sabotage of this effort was raised, Richard Segan and Peter Grey of Swing Left Greater Boston had this response:

“There are no guarantees in this election and there are all sorts of scenarios that would have seemed bizarre only a few years ago that may play out. What if Trump refuses to leave the WH, what if the Electoral College is not allowed to convene, what if there is overwhelming evidence of Russian hacking of the voter count, what if he tries to postpone the election in light of a surge in COVID-19?

…The DNC has a team working on many of these scenarios and more. There is a huge voter protection plan underway to try to counter issues like delays or heightened challenges, but it could be a very difficult election. Personally, I still think VBM is a good strategy. In FL, they will be able to track which voters have opted to VBM and whether or not they’ve mailed in their ballot. This will allow for follow-up in the weeks and days before the election. If polling stations are closed because of a planned strategy to suppress the vote or because local officials cannot staff polling locations, many voters will not vote if they don’t have VBM.

I would encourage people not to be daunted by the many uncertainties we face. In particular, I urge people to focus on whatever stimulates them the most at any given time.

I like to fantasize about a few lower-ranked military personnel saying ‘Now just come along with us, sir.’”