Friday, February 16, 2018

Here is What You Can Do with Your Thoughts and Prayers


How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see? Bob Dylan

At 21 years of age, well before I was even born, Bob Dylan’s prescient mind anticipated the current mass-shooting crisis that ominously stands before us now.

There are many people in our nation today, including many of our elected officials, whose primary response to this crisis is essentially this: “What is needed now are our thoughts and prayers. Shame on anyone for trying to politicize this issue when precious lives have been lost.”

With all due respect, that is such a bunch of garbage and we all know it. It is beyond insulting. This thoughts and prayers right now thing is part of a strategy - one that tries to inflict guilt and one that clearly is designed to deflect attention from the real issue, which we all know to be gun control (at the very least this is the primary issue, and we all know it (see unequivocal evidence for this point here).

Let’s dissect “thoughts and prayers” just a bit and see how American of an idea this really is. First off, the foundation of our nation rests upon a bedrock of separation of church and state. For “prayers” to be a primary response to an event such as Parkland from any government official in our nation slaps our forefathers in the face. Separation of church and state, please. This is the United States of America!

Further, let’s think about “thoughts.” I’m a behavioral scientist by training and by profession. We divide psychological phenomena into mental states and processes (such as thoughts) on the one hand and actions or behaviors on the other. Isn’t this nation built on action? Isn’t that what the United States is all about?

The United States as a Nation of Action

If you’re following this little thought exercise, then please join me in considering the following:

How did George Washington and his revolutionary colleagues respond to unfair treatment from the the British? Was the Declaration of Independence based on the premise that colonists needed to think and pray to solve their problems? Thoughts and prayers?!?

Imagine if the primary response of the United States to Pearl Harbor was “thoughts and prayers.” Right?!

How did Martin Luther King, Jr. lead the civil rights movement. Was it all thoughts and prayers?

What was George W. Bush’s response to September 11? If I recall correctly, it involved a lot more than thoughts and prayers.

And so on.

As you can see, this thought exercise is a bi-partisan exercise - with the primary point being this: The ethos of the United States, going all the way back, is an ethos of action. That's who we are. 

Listen to the Kids of Parkland, Florida

Don’t just take my word for it.* Several of the kids who survived the nightmare in Parkland, Florida are speaking out on social media. And they are saying things like this:

“F*** you. We don’t need your thoughts and prayers. GET BETTER GUN CONTROL.” (Kyra)

“I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all about the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns.” (Carly)

“... don’t want your condolences you f*****g piece (sic) of s**t, my friends and teachers were shot” (Sarah)

On the other hand, Tomi Lahren of Fox News tweeted the following, which captures exactly the problem I’m talking about:

“Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti–gun owner agenda? My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic. #FloridaShooting.”

This tweet was not met positively across the board, to say the least. In fact, several students who were in Parkland during the horror chimed in calling this tweet out as incredibly off-target and insensitive. Sorry, Tomi. We are too smart for that kind of political sleight of hand.

It IS about Gun Control. It Just Is.

The “thoughts and prayers thing” is a red herring. It’s a “look over there” political maneuver. And we cannot stand for it. The founding fathers of our nation would be embarrassed by the “thoughts and prayers” thing - and we should be too. We can do better. As the below meme from the Resisterhood states, let’s change “thoughts and prayers” to “policy and change.” Thoughts mean little compared to action. And our nation is premised on this fact. Let’s make our forefathers proud. Let’s look this national crisis in the eye, band together, take action, and resolve it. For our shared future. 




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If you're not outraged, then you're not paying attention.

#PoliticizeGunControlNow 


Source: https://www.vogue.com/article/parkland-florida-shooting-student-survivors-respond
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If ever there was a time to become politically active and rise up, that time is now. Here is to the uprising.

Join the uprising at www.moveforwardnewyork.org


Note that the views expressed herein are expressly the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Move Forward New York as a collective entity. 


Monday, December 18, 2017

MFNY Annual Report #1

Move Forward New York Annual Report (2017)

By Glenn Geher*

We started Move Forward New York pretty much immediately after the 2016 election. Since then, we have come quite a long way. Our membership now is more than 2,000. And we’ve accomplished quite a bit in our first year. Here is a bulleted report of our accomplishments to date. Check it out when you can - it will remind you that we have not been taking the current national situation lightly! And it will inspire you to keep going!


December 2016

·         Protested outside of the NP Library re: Electoral College  (our first protest!)

January

·         MFNY Planning Session/Fun at the Yard Owl (Jan. 8)

·         National Day of Action supporting the ACA (1/15) outside Faso’s Kingston Office

·         Hosted a summit to bring leaders together from around the 19th

·         MFNY 19 Planning Session on Activism 101 and Electoral Politics with Leslie Berliant (1/16)

·         Attended various Women’s Marches and coordinate groups to attend in Washington DC, NYC and Poughkeepsie (1/21)

·         Meeting with Z. Teachout at Gardiner Town Hall (1/22)

·         Protested outside of Faso’s house and got the video of Andrea Mitchell (1/28)

February

·         Mid Hudson Solidarity March & Rally - Poughkeepsie (2/1)

·         Defend Planned Parenthood Rally (2/11)

·         UC Leg Meeting - protest ban memorializing resolutions (2/15)

·         Attend Citizen Action “How to Lobby” workshop (2/16)

·         Not My President's Day Rally at SUNY NP (2/20)

·         MFNY General Meeting and Action Session (2/26)

March

·         Kingston - People's March for Education Justice - Hudson Valley (3/4)

·         MFNY Steering Committee Meeting (3/5)

·         Voter Resistance Registration (3/12)

·         Free Speech Rally (3/14)

·         MFNY General Meeting (3/26)

April

·         Speed Activism at Rosendale Town Hall (Debra and Rosa) 4/2

·         Wells Fargo, Divest from Pipeline Rally- Kingston

·         Tax March - Bryant Park  4/15

·         Tax March - Goshen 4/15

·         UC Leg Meeting - protest ban memorializing resolutions (4/18)

·         March for Science - Albany  and Poughkeepsie (4/22)

·         People’s Climate March (4/29)

·         MFNY at the Yard Owl - Community Outreach(4/30)

May

·         Spring Canvass (5/7)

·         Save our Health Care Town Hall w/ Congressman Maloney (5/8)

·         ConCon training  (5/17)

·         MFNY General Meeting (5/21)

·         Meeting with John Faso to discuss our concerns and propose a town hall (5/30)

June

·         March for Truth (Where’s Faso & Serino) (6/3)

·         MFNY Team Elect meeting (M. Rider/H.Rodriguez) (6/4)

·         New Paltz Pride Parade and Festival (6/4)

·         Civics Class w/ Z Teachout & J Schwartz Berky  (6/8)

·         Rock the Resistance - Tabled and Spoke Woodstock (6/11)

·         Civics Class w/ Z Teachout & J Schwartz Berky  (6/15)

·         UC Leg meeting testimony  (6/20)

·         Civics Class w/ Z Teachout & J Schwartz Berky  (6/22)

·         PhoneBank for Glenn Geher’s campaign (6/26)

·         HVALF endorsement conference (6/26)

·         PhoneBank for Glenn Geher’s campaign (6/28)

·         Civics Class w/ Z Teachout & J Schwartz Berky  (6/29)

July

·         MFNY Picnic (7/2)

·         Summer Canvass (7/8)

·         ConCon debate (7/10)

·         Gardiner Dems PhoneBanks (7/12)

·         Gardiner Dems PhoneBanks (7/13)

·         Supported increased Gardiner participation at the Gardiner Democratic Caucus to support Lisa’s candidacy for Town Supervisor (7/14)

·         Summer Canvass NY19 Votes (7/23)

·         Plattekill Latino Day - support candidacy of Cindy Delgado, Gladys Figueroa, Juan Figueroa, and Glenn Geher, (7/29)

·         Support Glenn Geher’s run stuffing envelopes (7/31)


August

·         Tabled at the Ulster County Fair (8/3)

·         Candlelight Vigil for Charlottsville (8/14)

·         Run with Glenn (8/12, 8/19, 8/26)

·         Fundraiser for Plattekill Dems (8/20)

·         Gillibrand Town Hall (8/26)

·         Town Hall with John Faso (8/31)


September

·         Supported U-Act Forum on the Con-Con (9/10)

·         MFNY General Meeting (9/17)

·         Campaigned for Glenn Geher, Lisa Lindsley, and Tracey Bartel

·         Tabled at Community Community Action Festival at Hasbrouck Park (9/24)

·         NY 19 Votes - Canvass (9/24)

·         Canvass Gardiner Dem to support Lisa (9/30)

·         Served on the Co-ordinated Campaign Committee for Ulster County - various dates

·         Renewable Energy Now forum at New Paltz First Reformed Church 

October

·         Tabled at Applestock in NP (10/7)

·         ConCon debate SUNY New Paltz (10/16)

·         Campaigned for Glenn Geher, Lisa Lindsley, and Tracey Bartel (numerous dates throughout the month) - Canvassing & Phone banking

o    Jam with Glenn and Rock the Vote (10/20)

·         Melissa Servant presented on the Con-Con in Hudson (10/22)

·         Attended/Supported Tracey Bartel at Fundraiser (10/25)

·         MFNY General Meeting and GOTV (10/29)

November

·         Campaigned for Glenn Geher, Lisa Lindsley, and Tracey Bartel (11/1-11/7) Canvass & Phone banking

·         Get out the vote - increased knowledge and turn-out (11/1-11/7)

·         Attended forum with Jeff Beals and pushed out the date for Cronin Art Gallery (11/3)

·         Faso Friday - Education/Tax Reform Rally (11/10)

·         Tax $cam Press Conference & Rally (11/15)

·         Sponsored Faso Friday in Kingston (11/17)

December

·         Hosted Pat Ryan for a meet and Greet (12/4)

·         Renewable Energy Now Rally in Albany (12/6)

·         Co-sponsor and tabled of the Candidate forum at SUNY NP (12/6)

·         Attended forum with Brian Flynn and pushed out the date for Cronin Art Gallery (12/8)

·         Co-sponsoring Democratic candidate forums with U-Act (12/10)

·         Attended Climate Smart Gardiner to support moving this process forward (12/12)

·         Executive Meeting to plan goals for 2018 (12/17)

Other

·         Collaboration with Schumer’s office

·         Collaborative Ulster County Group Leaders Meetings

·         Coordinated meetings with U-Act, March On NP

·         Many Letters to the editor and news articles connected with MFNY

·         Updated Calendar of Events and Website

·         Attend various Democratic Committee Meetings and Town Meetings

·         Social media initiatives: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter presence

·         The Uprising: The official blog of Move Forward New York

·         The 86th Federalist Paper: The official newsletter of Move Forward New York

·         Move Forward New York the Next Generation / Internship Program: We have more than 20 middle school and high school students volunteer on behalf of the cause - many of whom have received service credits for their work

·         Several letters to elected officials and to newspapers that played a key role in the release of New Paltz resident (and husband and father), Joel Guerrero

Looking ahead - 2018

January

·         Co-sponsoring Democratic candidate forums with U-Act (1/7)

·         Women’s March - Various Locations (1/20)

·         Co-sponsoring Democratic candidate forums with U-Act (1/21)

June

·         CD 19 Primary

November

·         Take back Congress!!! (11/6/18)

 

During this time in our nation’s history, complacency is not an option. It is a privilege to live in a democracy. And we are fortunate to have the First Amendment as a foundation for our voices. Working together, the MFNY community has accomplished quite a bit in our first year. This said, each day the news tells us that we do not have the luxury of sitting back. So thanks to everyone in the MFNY community who has helped us make many advances to this point. And here are to the next steps. Here is to moving forward.

 

*NOTE: The lion’s share of the content of this report was written by MFNY founder, Debra Clinton.

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If ever there was a time to become politically active and rise up, that time is now. Here is to the uprising.


Join the uprising at www.moveforwardnewyork.org


Note that the views expressed herein are expressly the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Move Forward New York as a collective entity.