Valley County United Against Hate: Thursday August 17- 5 pm at Veteran’s Statue, 3rd St. McCall

This will be a peaceful coming together to demonstrate that we stand united against racism, bigotry and hatred towards all people! Come whenever you’d like. This is part of a nationwide demonstration in support of Charlottesville.
Brings signs if you’d like, banners, anything showing you are against what is going on in our country. Remember, this is a PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION!!

Protect Our Care: Say No to Attack on Our Health Care

Join us for a protest outside of Senator Crapo’s office!
Say No to Attack on our Health Care

Wednesday, June 28 at 11 am- 1pm
Senator Crapo Office 251 E. Front Boise

Car Caravan: 8 am- May Hardware Parking Lot

We need to show Senator Crapo that Idahoans oppose any cuts to the ACA. Taking health care from 24 million folks in the US is unacceptable, and he needs to know that we are going to keep him accountable for his vote.

Sponsors: National Organization for Women-Southwest Idaho Chapter, People For Unity, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii

RSVP
Idahouninsuredstoryproject@gmail.com

The Senate Republicans finally released their bill to repeal the ACA. It is now evident why Senate leadership has attempted to withhold details of this bill from the public. This bill would only inflict more harm on people’s access to health care, compared to the House repeal bill that CBO estimated would strip coverage from 23 million people. 
The Senate bill would do the following: 
• End the Medicaid expansion, ensuring that millions of low-income workers will lose health coverage
• Radically cut Medicaid for all states by capping and cutting federal spending and passing significant costs on to states, essentially ensuring that they will cut their programs
• Allow states to eliminate the essential health benefits and minimum coverage requirements that are core protections for people with pre-existing conditions 
• Cut financial assistance for private coverage and eliminate all assistance with out-of-pocket costs like deductibles 
• Institute an age tax on premiums, allowing insurers to charge older people five times the premium of younger people 
• Provide billions of dollars in tax cuts to the millionaires and corporations

 

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.

 

Valley County Democrats Highway Cleanup- Sunday, June 4, 4:30 pm

Dems stepping out to Cleanup Highway 55 in earlier cleanup

Valley County Democrats Spring Adopt-A-Highway cleanup will be on Sunday, June 4, 2017 beginning at 4:30 pm. 

Democrats, family, and friends are invited to take part in this semi-annual community service project. Participants should meet in the parking lot of Elk Creek Church on Highway 55 south of McCall. Wear sturdy shoes or boots and bring sunscreen, gloves, hat, and water. Safety vests and trash bags will be provided.

A no-host social at Home Town Pizza in McCall will be held after the clean up. For more information call Jim Arp at 634-5833.

Vote Yes for Sewer Consolidation in McCall- Tuesday, May 16- McCall Donnelly High School—- Support Valley County Pathways

We have an opportunity to end the sewer wars in McCall this Tuesday, May 16 by voting Yes on consolidation and Yes on the sewer bond. As our former City Manager, Gene Drabinski said almost three years ago, “We’re going to get out of this business pretty soon because we suck at it” One consolidated agency operating our sewer service for McCall and Payette Lakes Recreation Water and Sewer District is logical and cost effective. 

Below is Jacki Aymon, Mayor of McCall, Nick Swanson, McCall City Council Letter to the Editor in the Star News explaining why a vote Yes is the right thing to do.

 

There is beauty in a single sewer operating agency
First, I would like to thank everyone who took time out their busy schedule to listen and learn about the May 16 ballot questions on annexation of the McCall City sewer system into the Payette Lakes Recreation Water and Sewer District and the $22 million bond to fund DEQ required upgrades for a reuse permit, wastewater treatment facility infrastructure repairs and retirement of the city’s existing 2004 and 2008 bonds. This is a complicated issue with multiple moving parts and requires a lot of information and thought.
So how did we get here? As many of you know the history between the two agencies has been at times cordial, rocky, smooth, contentious, friendly, feisty and costly. The final lawsuit between the city and the PLRWSD was settled in 2011.
On then-City Manager Gene Drabinski’s first day, he asked Council members to write down three goals. One of my three was “solve the sewer wars.” Anyone who knew Gene understood he did not let grass grow under his feet and he got right to it. Knowing we were coming up against a DEQ deadline to continue to land apply our treated wastewater he brought the two governing boards together, organized a committee to chart a course, and after three years of collaboration here we are.
This is a big deal and is incumbent on all of us to participate in this election and answer the questions for you, your family and the future. A “Yes” vote on both questions will result in one agency, PLRWSD, to collect, treat and dispose of wastewater and to bond for required and needed system upgrades. A “No” vote on either or both questions sends the team back to the legal department to craft a joint powers agreement and another trip to the ballot box for funding.
There are potential risks and/or impacts in either scenario. This is where history is important. We know the history of cooperative agreements between the city and PLRWSD were not always so cooperative and they were sometimes expensive. In my mind, a single agency is less likely to go to court with itself.
Secondly, DEQ may only issue one permit to the system owner who has system control. There are also land planning components to consider. Cities use sewer infrastructure as a tool to encourage annexation and control growth.
I am not a planner but during the process of crafting the annexation agreement, new tools were created to foster communication and cooperation in land use planning in an attempt to mitigate these issues.
Let’s not forget PLRWSD is a taxing district and thus property taxes would apply to those within the district. Keep in mind, unlike other taxing districts, most of the revenue comes in the form of user fees and property taxes play a minor role funding.
Finally, the city sewer infrastructure is managed by the city but is actually owned by the users, those who pay the sewer bills. The infrastructure in a consolidated entity will follow the rate payers.
This was a long walk and now it is a dash. Initially I was skeptical. However, after wrestling with all of the components, obstacles, funding mechanisms, permit requirements, ballot questions, infrastructure needs, director zones, staffing, and more, I began to see the beauty in a single agency that only collects, treats and disposes of wastewater.
What sealed the deal was the willingness of the PLRWSD to share the 2004 and 2008 City bond debt. This step was a huge leap of faith and would reduce our sewer bills in the consolidated model.
Think about it. Ask questions and vote!
Jackie J. Aymon, Mayor, City of McCall

 

Sewer consolidation critical for future of McCall area
BY NIC SWANSON
On May 16, voters should allow the Payette Lakes Recreational Water and Sewer District to annex the city to maximize cost reduction, planning, permitting, and efficiency within the sewer world we live in.
In my mind, this has never been a “who should annex who” type of scenario, rather, which model is the most palatable to all patrons within the two currently separate sewer systems and who can get the improvements, permits, and all other work done by the deadlines set by various other parties that make our sewer system function.
The sewer district being the entity to annex proved to be the most expedient option, as they hold the permit with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for reuse of the treated wastewater, letters of intent with the landowners who are receiving the water, and are fully capable of operating a sewer system.
The city annexing the sewer district could be a good thing for the city in the long run, but expecting district patrons outside the city limits to be annexed into the city is a political non-starter. Expecting a majority of the district to be included into the city limits, all services and taxes included, would be an exercise in futility.
Two entities have created problems in the past, as many of us are aware. The permitting, operations, and maintenance, needs to be under one entity as required by Idaho DEQ. Further, one entity has been proven, through the rate models we have been working with, to be the most cost effective for all patrons, regardless of where they live.
The distribution of the 2008 Wausau debt across all customers has proven to be the tipping point in the favor of consolidation. The sewer board agreeing to this request from the city is more proof of a positive long-term partnership, and the dedication to be fair to all patrons they may serve.
The cost will be more to current city sewer patrons if the annexation takes place. Is it worth it? Cost goes up for everyone regardless of where they live.
Consolidation rate models, including all other hits to the patrons’ pocketbook, has still penciled out to be the most cost effective solution we have discussed to this point, and we have to have a solution.
It is not a perfect proposal, but it possesses all the components our community needs to keep moving forward given the deadlines we face, at the lowest possible rate. I think it is important to remember a few key points, outside of how much it costs, and how ugly the past has been.
First are trustee-zone style elections to the sewer board. This is my favorite part of this entire agreement, because it requires diversity based on location on the sewer board. The issues of “in the city” versus “in the district” evaporate once the new board is in place. The future board is postured to be representative of all patrons based on the neighborhood they are from, or own property within.
Second, the language of the annexation agreement puts the city into a stronger position in controlling development outside of its boundaries than it has been since the sewer district was formed. If annexation is approved, it actually provides protection to “leap-frog” development situations from occurring without joining the city.
Finally, passage of the ballot measures effectively ends the “sewer wars” as coined by our late friend and former city manger Gene Drabinski. It provides an equitable rate to all patrons and a single agency that is responsible for all infrastructure, permits, and capacity and will be best for growth, the environment, the farmers, and the patrons, and the future of our community.
I urge you to vote in favor of the sewer consolidation and the sewer bond on May 16.
(Nic Swanson is a member of the McCall City Council and chair of the Joint Wastewater Advisory Group.)

Support Valley County Pathway Plan- Email the Commissioners Now

The Pathway Plan goes up for adoption by Valley County Commissioners Monday.
There was some large landowners who went to the last meeting and overpowered the Pathways support with fears of land takeovers and “not in my back yard” mind sets.

We need Valley County to adopt the Pathway Plan and to encourage creation of these corridors (not specific parcels) for a coordinated Pathway throughout our area.

1. PLEASE email the commissioners in support of this plan. Just email anything in support of the plan.
Email all three commissioners at: commissioners@co.valley.id.us

2. If your able, please attend the 1pm meeting on Monday May 15 at the Courthouse in Cascade.

3. Please let me know if you email the Commissioners. That way I know when to stop harassing people. 😉

You can do a quick review of the Plan here: (see Executive Summary)

• Tell the commissioners that you support the development of tourism and recreation in the valley, this is our economic future.
• It’s important to approve the updated Master Plan for Valley County Pathways. The new plan is in sync with community pathway plans created by McCall, Donnelly and Cascade.
• Valley County Pathways has been respectful of private property rights since the very beginning, and this plan has no language to suggest any infringement on propriety owners rights.
• Pathways are good for safety, health and fitness, quality of life and property values. 
• Support the notion of developing pathway corridors that connect our communities and link to our mountain trails, lakes, rivers and waterways
• Support the notion that new developments provide pathways or pathway easements to connect to regional pathway corridors
THANK YOU!!
___________________
Brett Shepherd
guitarcr8z@gmail.com

Trump and the Republican ties to Russia front and center- Comments by Dan Rather

Dan Rather
Every once in a while in Washington, the fuse is lit for what seems to be a big scandal. Much more rarely does that fuse lead to an explosion of the magnitude we are seeing with Russia and the new Administration, and frankly the Republicans in Congress. How can anybody say, with all this billowing smoke and sights of actual flames, that there is no need to at least independently investigate whether a fire is burning down the very pillars of our democracy?

The pressure is obviously starting to mount as leading Republicans are now calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. This comes in the wake of serious and credible evidence reported by a vigilant press that the Attorney General, mind you the top law enforcement man in the United States, perjured himself in testimony to the Senate about meeting the Russian ambassador during the election. Sessions is but the latest person close to President Trump who seems to be ensnared in a story that is more worthy of Hollywood melodrama than the reality of the governance of our country. Democrats are calling for Sessions to resign, and this story could move very quickly.

We are well past the time for any political niceties or benefits of the doubt. We need an independent and thorough investigation of Russia’s meddling in our democracy and its ties to the President and his allies. We don’t know what we don’t know. Perhaps there are perfectly innocuous reasons for why Mr Trump won’t release his tax returns, why he has continued to speak admirably about President Putin and why his aides and advisors seem to be so close to Russia. That’s why we need an investigation. If the air is to be cleared, it needs to be cleared. And if there is deep rot, it needs to be exposed. And quickly.

The press is doing an admirable job. But there is only so much it can do without such things as subpoena powers. Let’s just make this clear. This is about a foreign and hostile power trying to influence our election while being in contact with close aides to the presidential campaign that the Kremlin wanted to win. Furthermore, there are serious questions about Mr Trump’s longstanding ties to Russian money and influence peddlers. We don’t know where this might go, but it isn’t going away.

Tacos and Politics: Saturday, February 25, Noon at Southside Grill

Taco and Politics: Everyone Deserves a Bite

 

Democratic Legislators will visit Valley County this Saturday, Feb. 25 !

The Idaho Democratic Party “Taco and Politics Tour” will be in McCall on Saturday , Feb. 25 at Noon at Southside Grill , 339 Deinhard Ln.,  McCall. Democratic Representative Melissa Wintrow and Representative Phylis King will discuss what’s going on in the Idaho Legislature this year.
Our Democratic Legislators want your input on the important issues facing Idahoans: education, job creation, and our economy to name just a few. Bring your questions, concerns and comments on the topics that matter most to you. The Legislators look forward to meeting and talking with Valley County residents.

Youth are especially encouraged to attend and have an opportunity to address their questions to these Democratic Legislators.

Taco bar will be available to purchase during the event if you wish. 

 Please RSVP 

For more information , contact:

John Schott, Secretary
Valley County Democratic Party
Phone 208-634-1955
email: jschott2@frontiernet.net

 

People are getting organized to Resist the Trump and the Republican attacks. Over 40 people attended a letter writing event at Salmon River Brewery on Monday Feb. 6. A group is forming to continue to effort.

Another group Protect Our Care Valley County has formed out of a petition signed by a number of locals to fight the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cuts in Medicaid. A event is scheduled for Thursday, March 23 at the McCall Library for those effected by the proposed changes and those interested in protecting health care for our fellow citizens.

We will keep posting activities to continue to resistance. Also check out Valley County Democrats Facebook page for events here and around the region.  

Women’s March on Idaho- Saturday, Jan. 21- 10 am- Boise

January 21, 2017 – 10:00am at the Idaho State Capitol

Women’s march starting at the Idaho State Capitol building. Our goal is to bring the Women’s March on Washington to Boise to provide Idaho women with an opportunity to participate and be heard. HEAR OUR VOICE!

Agenda:
10:00- Event start/Opening statement (Idaho State Capitol)
10:30- March Start
11:00- March End
11:10- Speakers Start
12:00- Closing/Music (Boise City Hall)

 

The Women’s March on Idaho has adopted the Women’s National March on Washington purpose statement below:

WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON- JANUARY 21st, 2017
OFFICIAL STATEMENT, National Organizers:

On January 21, 2017 we will unite in Washington, DC for the Women’s March on Washington. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE.

 

McCall Poster Sessions for March On Idaho

Thursday and Friday: Jan. 19-20, 5-7 pm

Mccall Super 8, 303 S. 3rd Street, McCall

This is an opportunity to meet each other, make posters, arrange carpools, etc for the People for Unity March on the Idaho State Capitol on January 21. Bring your extra poster making supplies, slogan ideas, and happy vibes to the conference room at Super 8. Don’t necessarily have to be a Democrat to participate, just have to be a supporter of inclusion, tolerance, diversity, justice, etc. Now more than ever let’s focus on the values we share. SANDEE DINGMAN

 

Local Health Care Professionals Stand Up Against Obamacare Repeal in Star News Editorial and Idaho Statesman Guest Editorial 

STAR NEWS, MCCALL, IDAHO
OPINION—THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2016

Revised for Idaho Statesmen
Health-care repeal would turn back the clock
BY Bill Thomas, LCSW, Edith Welty, M.D. and Thomas Welty, M.D.
If the Affordable Care Act (ACA)-Obamacare, is repealed this January by Congress, over 30 million people will lose health insurance. People right here in Valley County who get coverage from the Idaho Health Exchange could within a year have no health insurance.
Those who promote repeal of the ACA have had seven years to come up with a replacement plan, but they have no plan, just slogans.
Prior to the ACA, the private health care market was in a death spiral. Rates were going through the roof and fewer and fewer people were able to get private individual plans. If you had a pre-existing condition, you were denied insurance or were charged rates that were unaffordable.
Passage of Affordable Care Act did the following:
Reduced by 32% the uninsured rate in Idaho from 2008 to 2015 .
Guaranteed benefits – like maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care . Removed higher premiums for women based solely on gender.
Protected 129 million people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, asthma, and diabetes from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums
Saved millions of dollars by providing no-cost preventive services like cancer screening and vaccines.
Removed lifetime caps on benefits for 105 million people.
Brought the uninsured back into the doctor’s office and away from costly hospital emergency departments. Enabled doctors to provide outpatient care before illness became an emergency.
Enrolled 100,000 Idahoans in the Idaho Health Exchange in 2015. Over 70 percent got subsidies to reduce their monthly premium payments. (However, those with income below 100 percent of poverty are not eligible for subsidies because the Idaho Legislature refused to implement Medicaid expansion, creating a gap in coverage for low income people.)
Made family planning services available for free, reducing unattended pregnancies and pregnancy complications.

The ACA is based on three basic principles, like a 3-legged stool.
Individual Mandate: Everyone must have insurance. You can not wait until you are sick to get insurance. Over 20 states prior to the ACA tried to set up a health exchange without an individual mandate, and the premiums in this “high risk pool” rose dramatically, because only sick people enrolled.
Premium subsidies based on income. If you take away the subsidies, many will be unable to afford health insurance.
People with pre-existing conditions are not charged more for their health insurance.
If you remove any one of these three legs, the stool will fall. If you set a grace period of a few years for repeal, the exchanges will crash long before the actual deadline. Insurance companies will start pulling out of the market. Millions will lose coverage.
Why should I support Obamacare, if I have employer-based or other private insurance? An increase in the numbers of uninsured will increase the costs to hospitals, and unpaid bills will be passed on to the insured customers. We are all in this together.
In spite of the rhetoric about ACA being repealed, we still recommend that individuals who do not have health insurance sign up during the current enrollment period that lasts until Jan. 31, 2017. Go to http://yourhealthidaho.com to sign up. Do your own research. A family of four, two parents in late 30s or early 40s with two children making $50,000 per year can get a good plan for around $315 per month.
With ACA, countless people have benefited by getting needed surgery they had put off and getting outpatient care for their diabetes, heart disease, or mental health issues, instead of getting so ill they require hospitalization.
If you have seen the benefits of the ACA in your own life, call Senator Crapo at (208) 224-6142, Senator Risch at (208) 224-2752, and let them know your experience, and ask them not to let Congress repeal the Affordable Care Act without first having a comparable replacement.

(Bill Thomas, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker, Edith Welty, MD, and Thomas Welty, MD, live in McCall.)

A LETTER TO HILLARY SUPPORTERS

Hillary walking in Woods after election met by supporter

Hillary walking in Woods after election met by supporter

 

Letter to Hillary Supporters by my Son Jesse Thomas, Attorney in Boise. As a older person who has been in many struggles from civil rights to organizing unions, fighting for health care for all and against needless wars, it is very satisfying to see the younger generation standing up with such wisdom. I know he is my son but I think he nails it on the head. THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES. DON’T DESPAIR, ORGANIZE.

A Letter to Hillary Supporters

(1) Grief: You have Experienced a Loss. It is okay to cry and to feel angry. It is a normal part of grief to feel like you don’t belong, like nobody cares about you, like you’re living in an alternate reality or you feel helpless. These feelings are a part of grief and they will subside. One of the best things you can do is show support to those who are grieving and let them know they are not alone. And you are not alone. If your grief continues for an extended period of time or causes problems in your daily tasks, please see a grief counselor because you may be experiencing complicated grief.

(2) Take Care of Your Mental Health because we need you. You need to learn how to do some self-care and make sure now and in the future, that your mental health does not consume you in this hard fight. The next four years will be a marathon not a sprint. We need good people like you who care. But you must help yourself first foremost.

(3) Don’t Loose that Chip on your Shoulder. Move past the grief, but don’t forget it. For things to change in our country you have to be motivated and you have to work hard. After working forty hours at your job, going food shopping, doing laundry, running your kids to the soccer game, you’re not going to want to pull yourself off the couch on a Sunday morning to stand in the rain in front of the state Capital for another rally that seems to go unnoticed. This does not make you a bad person, this just makes you human. You need to remember this loss and you need to use it to motivate yourself. The best advocates I have had the pleasure to meet understand the hard work it takes to fight for equality and justice. Those advocates also seem to have a chip on their shoulder, and just won’t stop no matter how bad they lose, or how many people they piss off. This is not a time to “heal” or to “come together.” This is a time to get motivated and fight.

(4) This is not About the “Country,” or About Being a “Patriot,” or about Trump versus Hillary it’s about Equality and Justice. The next four years is about seeking equality and justice for all humanity here and abroad. Take solace in the fact that there are more people who voted for Hillary, for inclusion, for hope; then did not. Take solace in the fact that the poor, the disadvantaged and minority communities voted for Hillary, not for Trump. Don’t move, don’t give up, they need you now more than ever. This fight is not about the essence of America, whatever that means, this fight is about humanity. You may not like what this country “stands for”, you may not like this country at all. But, that does not matter at all. The United States is the most influential country in the world, and you, as a citizen, have a say in what the United States as a country does. Don’t turn your back on that right. No matter how little you may actually change U.S. policies here and abroad, it simply does not matter. Because, it will always be ethical to use that power to seek equality and justice for everyone.

(5) Don’t Do Anything Rash While You’re Grieving. Don’t make major life decisions right now. Don’t decide to move or put in for that job in New Zealand. We will have plenty of time in the future to act; to figure out what is right for us. It will take some time to organize, to figure out how to move forward politically. Don’t worry; there are some really amazing smart people in this country who know what to do. You may feel helpless, like you don’t know how to move forward. Don’t worry about this now, be patient. It will become clear in the coming weeks on how to move forward. For now, concentrate on your mental health and be patient as our progressive leaders figure out how to fight for equality and justice. If you want to march, if you want to organize right now, do it! But, if you don’t see a way forward and don’t know what to do with these feelings don’t worry it will become clear very soon. You may decide to make some major life changes, that is OK, but don’t do that right now.

(6) Progressives Should Not be Blaming Each Other or Themselves. We did not vote for Trump, and we did not support him. We did not give him money or time. Do not blame yourself that you did not do enough. You cannot control how other people vote, you can only control your own actions, and it is not your fault.

(7) You Don’t Have to do a lot in the Next Four Years, But You Have to do Something. Everybody has a role to play. Some people will make great organizers, or great candidates; and others will be good foot soldiers. It may feel like a daunting task. However, know that the work will be hard, but that you should not ask yourself to do something that you cannot do. The single mother with two kids will not be expected to show up at every rally. The older activists who are burnt out don’t have to lead the charge. All you will have to do is just show up when you are needed; contribute as much as you can. If everyone does just a little bit, it will be plenty, because we have the numbers on our side.

(8) Public Opinion is More Powerful Than the Government. Political scientist know this truth, activists know this truth, Gandhi knows this truth, Martin Luther King knows this truth, our allies fighting to stop the pipeline knows this truth, B.L.M. knows this truth. Trump cannot pass anything or make any changes without the support of public opinion. You have much more power than you realize. The only question is; will you decide to use it?

 

JESSE THOMAS

BOISE, IDAHO