7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat
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If you've never attended a public meeting in your life, August 2009 is the month you need to start. Your congressperson's Web site probably lists a schedule, or at least a number you can call to inquire.
But that's just a first step. Do more. Write. Call. Find out where your local congressional office is, and just drop by when you're in the neighborhood. Tell the staff how you feel -- about health care reform, about the teabaggers, about your legislator's brave stance in the face of this.
If they're showing stress, encourage them to stand firm. A constituent in the office counts for thousands writing e-mails, so an in-person visit is 15 minutes incredibly well spent.
One visit or call is good. More is better. Put it in your schedule to contact your representatives at least once a week for the duration, and make sure they're not buckling under the pressure.
Sixth: Shut down the hate talkers. In most parts of the country, the teabaggers are coming straight out of right-wing talk-radio audiences. For hours every day, they're mainlining raw emotion and toxic misinformation.
They're going put your kids before "death panels!" They're going to kill your granny! You're going to have to call the White House to get a bone set! You'll be a Real American Hero if you get out there and join the "resistance!"
Cutting off this endless torrent of lies, fearmongering and validation will go a long way toward powering down the whole movement. (Conversely, what happens when these kinds of radio instigators are left to spin it all the way out to the end can be summed up in two words: Radio Rwanda.)
The basic recipe: Record their shows. Take notes of anything they say that is intimidating, threatening, or aimed at inciting violence against a named target. And while you're at it, note every single advertiser they have.
Then write a polite letter the CEOs of the sponsoring companies. Throw them some choice quotes from these shows and ask them if this is the kind of thing they want their product associated with. (Point out that if their own employees said things like this at work, they'd be fired on the spot.)
Often, the CEO has no clue that any of this is happening and will pull the ads as soon as she finds out what's being done in her name. This has worked extremely well -- and quickly -- at both the local and national level.
Finally: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Even if we succeed this time, let's not kid ourselves that this is over. The conservatives are investing a lot of money and effort to build a mass movement that is explicitly aimed at destroying a Democratic government -- and if we learned anything from the Clinton years, it's that they're not going to let up for a second as long as the Democrats are in control.
This is our new reality -- and it comes straight out of Hitler's playbook (check out Chapter 6 of Mein Kampf). Their intention is to keep the outrage junkies high by giving them a never-ending supply of new, made-up reasons to act out.
When the birth certificate fracas cools, they're standing by with "death panels." When that one's run its course, there will be something else -- over and over, every few weeks, for as long as the Dems rule.
Which means that even if we win this round, we can't stand down. We're going to be pushing back against these bullies, over and over, for the next three to seven years.