News you actually want to know, and what you can do to make a difference.
Welcome to your weekly roundup of good news about good people, how you can help make a difference — and a picture of President Obama to remind you what true leadership looks like.
If you’re wondering where to find policies designed to improve your life and your world, look no further than the Democratic Party.
The proposals put forth as part of “A Better Deal” aim to make vast, forward-looking changes to bring “better jobs, better wages, and a better future” to all Americans.
From increased education funding to a reinvestment in public housing; from rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure to protecting pensions; from safeguarding the right to vote to fixing our broken campaign finance system to implementing policies designed to aid the work-life balance for all families, “A Better Deal” is everything that government should be doing for its people.
Democratic women have been a force to be reckoned with in the Trump era. And they are reshaping the party as a whole in unprecedented fashion.
And the effects of that “reach well beyond the 2018 midterm election horizon,” Politico notes.
“The prospect of a record number of female candidates on the November ballot — and running for president in 2020 — has Democratic leaders leaning into increasingly explicit, gender-based appeals and focusing renewed attention on education, health care, sexual harassment and other issues perceived as critical to women,” the article continues.
Taking a pro-woman stance, and putting women up front to do so, is absolutely the right response to the current political climate.
“A year and a half after our generation’s own women’s march, the grass-roots energy is growing, it is not fading. And women are holding our democracy together in these dangerous times,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
And as Sen. Amy Klobuchar recently told the audience at a women’s leadership conference, “We see women taking that old saying, ‘Don’t get mad, get even,’ to a whole new level. It is now, ’Don’t get mad, get elected.”
And that is precisely what they’re doing.
Fueled by a fervent desire for political change after recent school shootings, teens are taking the first necessary step by registering to vote. And they’re doing so in a big way.
The New York Times reports that “voter data for March and April show that young registrants represented a higher portion of new voters in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, among other states.”
In Florida, voters under age 26 went from less than 20 percent of new registrants in January and February to nearly 30 percent by March. In North Carolina, “voters under 25 represented around 30 percent of new registrations in January and February; in March and April, they were around 40 percent.” And in Pennsylvania, “registrations of young voters increased the fastest” of all age groups, “jumping to 45 percent in March and more than half in April, from fewer than 40 percent of voters in January and February.”
Further, these young people are defying the stereotypes of apathy and cynicism often thrown at them. Recent polling by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics found that young voters are far more likely these days to believe that their political involvement can make a difference.
It’s a “once-in-a-generation attitudinal shift” about the value of voting and being politically active, says John Della Volpe, the director of the institute. “I am optimistic that the increasing interest we have tracked in politics will likely lead to increased participation in the midterms.”
Tuesday, May 29, is High School Voter Registration Day!
Teens, you can join those young folks above and sign up at Headcount.org to host a voter registration drive at your school.
Kentucky teachers showed their government exactly what they think of its attacks on their retirement benefits and pensions.
Now, one dozen of them will be making change from the inside. Twelve Kentucky educators won their primary races last Tuesday to advance to the general election this fall.
And they plan to make it clear that GOP Gov. Matt Bevin and his Republicans allies in the state legislature ought to gear up for a fight.
“We are being disrespected by our governor, how could we not start standing together and fighting for what we love and believe in?” asked Jenny Urie, a social studies teacher who won the Democratic nomination for the 62nd District.
The Trump administration is pushing its dangerous, anti-choice “gag rule,” which would eliminate Title X funding for health care facility or clinic that performs abortions, or even offers referrals to other abortion providers.
But reproductive rights activists are not letting this happen without a fight. Hundreds of people rallied in Washington and around the country to protest the rule, which is opposed by 73 percent of voters, including a notable 44 percent of Republicans.
Planned Parenthood supporters, Title X patients, health care providers, members of Congress, and others took to the streets to make that opposition loud and clear.
Oh, and so did the WNBA.
Tell the Trump administration to stay out of people’s private health care decision, and to stop attacking reproductive freedom.
The Supreme Court recently ruled against American workers by allowing companies to use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to prohibit employees from engaging in class actions over workplace issues.
Or as The New York Times editorial board put it, “The Supreme Court sticks it to workers, again.”
The opinion was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who occupies the seat that ought to have gone to Merrick Garland if Republicans hadn’t stolen it from President Obama.
Labeling the opinion “egregiously wrong,” Ginsburg warned that the impact would be “huge under-enforcement of federal and state statutes designed to advance the well being of vulnerable workers.”
It’s been three years since the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. And approval of marriage equality has never been higher.
A new Gallup poll found that 67 percent of Americans approve of same-sex marriage. That’s the highest level the polling firm has seen in the 20+ years it has been querying the public on the issue.
When Gallup first asked the question in 1996, only 27 percent expressed approval.
Part of that massive increase may be due to the greater presence of LGBTQ people in society. Gallup also found that the percentage of American adults identifying as such increased to 4.5 percent in 2017, from 3.5 percent in 2012, when it first began tracking.
Trump’s embarrassing bumbling of diplomacy with North Korea reinforces what a precarious situation we confront with the rogue regime. And it serves as a reminder that we can never know what Trump’s worst impulses might lead to.
Join VoteVets in telling the Senate to pass Sen. Chris Murphy’s bill, which would restrict funding for military operations in North Korea “absent an imminent threat to the United States without express congressional authorization.”
Here’s your absolute best news of the good news: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are forming a “storytelling partnership” with Netflix.
Known as Higher Ground Productions, the partnership “will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. These projects will be available to the 125 million member Netflix households in 190 countries.”
As President Obama said, “One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life.” With this new venture, they will help tell those stories to a vast audience, and help “cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples.”
Michelle added, “Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others.”
This is the kind of empathetic leadership we like and need to see these days. Thanks, Obamas!