The Eighth of November

Elizabeth Dawson, Contributor

Remember, remember!

The eighth of November,

The obfuscation, treason and plot;

I know of no reason

Why the Russian treason

Should ever be forgot!

Donny Trump and his companions

Did the scheme contrive,

To blow up the Democratic system

All up alive.

Information handed over,

To prove old America’s overthrow.

But, by great providence, him they catch,

With a trail of money, lies and covfefe!

A nation at stake

For Democracy’s sake!

If you won’t give me truth,

Mueller will be the sleuth,

The better for me,

And the worse for you,

Impeach, Impeach

Run him out of town,

A pint of beer to wash the treason down.

Boys! Boys! Make the bells ring!

G-d Bless America! We shall sing!

Pardon Me!

Charles Miller, Contributor

The never-ending story of the connections and collusion between Russia and President Trump has shifted to discussion of Presidential pardons with the pundits speculating on the possibility that Mr. Trump might even pardon himself.  The President may legally pardon anyone for anything, but how might that turn out in this unprecedented situation? (If you are reading this Mr. President, note the spelling in the last sentence and that sentence meaning a structured collection of words, and a prison term are spelled the same.)

Pardons may seem the perfect solution but none of them will turn out well for him in the long run.  Don’t get your hopes up though, the President will not be changing his made in China Trump menswear for an orange jumpsuit.

Preemptive pardons are not out of the question and are not unprecedented; Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon before criminal charges were brought in the wake of his resignation resulting from Watergate, a crime that was mere college prank compared to (allegedly) conspiring with a foreign government to influence an election.  Pardons issued by President Trump or his successor might be challenged but would probably be upheld and there are several conceivable scenarios where pardons might be used as the Russian collusion saga plays out.

Scenario I: Pardons could be issued in the event that any of the players in this House of Cards worthy drama is convicted on criminal charges.  That course of action has the least political risk and would be very likely upheld if challenged on the grounds that President Trump is a co-conspirator or some other issue of legal standing.  If the President takes good legal advice, that is if his counsel offers it which is somewhat doubtful, this would be the most rational course of action.  But Trump, being Trump a thorough narcissist with all the respect and understanding of the law of a D student with a ninth-grade education, it is likely he believes his denials and defections will hold up even when all his rationalizations and alibis are falling apart.

Scenario II: The President could issue preemptive pardons either before or after criminal charges are brought. This play has the risks associated with the first scenario and takes the Fifth Amendment off the board. The protection against giving testimony that might self- incriminate is gone when no criminal charges can apply and a witness who refuses to testify or is untruthful could then be charged with lying under oath and obstruction of justice.  Tricky Dick Nixon didn’t try this gambit because of the risks involved, even when several of his co-conspirators were convicted in the botched burglary of the DNC offices in the Watergate, the 1970’s equivalent of hacking emails.   Ronald Reagan didn’t use it either, when Oliver North went to prison for selling arms to Iran and drugs to the Sandinistas.  But both of those situations involved players like North and G. Gordon Liddy who were prepared to serve time, unlike the men involved in the Russian collusion.  Even John Dean had much more resolve than can be observed in the current President’s men.

Scenario III: Trump rage-quits in a tweet. There is no need to elaborate on this scenario except to point out the Pence would issue the pardons and the GOP establishment would sigh with bigly relief and repair to some private location other than Mar-a-Lago to celebrate.

‘Merica, the deplorable!

A poem by Franklin, twentytwentynews.com poet laureate

Note: As a matter of unplanned and uncanny coincidence, this can be sung to the tune of “America, the beautiful!”

O deplorable for bigly lies

From orange man insane,

For allowing all his travesties-

He’s fruity and that’s plain!

Oh, ‘Merica! Oh, ‘Merica!

Your brain abandoned thee,

When you voted for a shyster clown

It’s plain for all to see!

 

O deplorable for tiny hand

That tweets at every turn,

Babbling throughout the land

He’ll make our country burn!

Oh, ‘Merica! Oh, ‘Merica!

We hope our children see,

It’s up to them to fix this mess-

What we did so stupidly!

 

O deplorable to build a wall

And think it makes us great.

To heed the orange racist’s call

And revel in his hate!

Oh, ‘Merica! Oh, Merica!

Extract thy head from ass!

‘Til we vanquish Tweeting Trump-

His covfefe is too crass!

 

O deplorable for Russia’s hug

And non-disclosure pacts,

You’re lower than a garden slug

When alt-right makes alt-facts!

Oh, ‘Merica! Oh, Merica!

How many verses in this song?

You thought you knew

But slept in school

And showed again you’re wrong!

 

O deplorable for doing this

And shooting off thy face!

So, how did this all go amiss

To put Trump in this place?

Oh, ‘Merica! Oh, ‘Merica!

Impeach this bloody fool!

We can’t go on

With Two-Scoop Don,

It’s heinous and it’s cruel!

 

O deplorable, your party fail

For electing such a chump!

History will tell the tale

Of lying, corrupt Trump!

Oh, Merica! Oh, Merica!

Let’s hope this lesson sticks!

We led the way

‘Til this ingrate.

Now, the world just thinks we’re dicks!

 

O deplorable, you whining bitch

Your privilege is so white!

You screw the poor to help the rich.

How do you sleep at night?

Oh, ‘Merica! Oh, ‘Merica!

What happened to your pride?

We must resist

And we persist…

We want off this Trump-shit ride!

Civil asset forfeiture is just legal theft

Clete Wetli, Contributor

Although most everyone in America agrees that the War on Drugs has been a tragic failure, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reinvigorate every aspect of it including the much derided D.A.R.E. program and, most alarming, the expansion of civil asset forfeiture by police.  For those unfamiliar with civil asset forfeiture, it’s the ability of law enforcement to confiscate money or property they believe was obtained through criminal means even if the suspect has not been charged or found guilty of a crime.

Essentially, the police claim is against the money or property itself and not against the criminal suspect, which means that for a person to retrieve their money or property they must prove that these things were acquired legally. Well, so much for “innocent until proven guilty”!

Over the last several years, there has been bipartisan support to curtail civil asset forfeiture because studies have shown that it is abused regularly by law enforcement and because of cases that have gained notoriety showing just how difficult and expensive it is for innocent people to recover their money or property.

In some states, like Alabama, the only thing law enforcement needs to confiscate assets is to meet the legal low bar of “probable cause”. Worse, law enforcement agencies are incentivized to engage in these forfeitures because they get to keep the lion’s share of the money. In most cases, the forfeitures are never challenged due to the significant expenses involved, the substantial burden of proof on the plaintiff, and the time it takes to have the case heard in court.

This whole misguided idea was part of the War on Drugs’ strategy to penalize suspected drug dealers by having a legal mechanism to seize their ill-gotten gains. But, like so many aspects of the Drug War, it was an assault on constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties. Things like no-knock warrants, racial profiling, excessive sentencing, and legally ambiguous entrapment and surveillance.

After spending mountains of money on the War on Drugs, America finally realized that the only thing they had to show for their effort was a prison system bursting at the seams and a law enforcement community that looked like military Stormtroopers that increasingly shoot first and asked questions later. During the Obama years, there became bipartisan support to spend more resources on drug treatment instead of mass incarceration. Also, many of the laws that were passed during the War on Drugs were repealed, softened, or dramatically changed to ensure fairness in the judicial process.

All of this long overdue progress came to a screeching halt when Trump picked Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General. Much like the advocates of abstinence-only sex education, Sessions doesn’t rely on evidence-based practices or analytical studies for his policy agenda, instead he relies almost exclusively on his archaic instincts and prejudices. Further, Sessions hasn’t the least bit of compassion and views the criminal justice system as a mechanism to deliver only the harshest punishments.

So, it’s not a surprise that Sessions would attempt to reverse the tidal wave of restrictions that are being placed on civil asset forfeiture in most states. Who knows, maybe he’ll be advocating tar and feathering next.

It’s time that we put some common sense into our nation’s struggle with substance abuse. It’s time that we start holding police accountable for their misdeeds when they occur. As a nation, we cannot afford to revive the epic failures of the War on Drugs. A good place to start would be to eliminate civil asset forfeiture altogether and only seize assets in the case of criminal convictions. Isn’t that what the Constitution was referring to in the first place?

Right now, civil asset forfeiture is nothing more than government sponsored theft regardless of its intention. Yeah, we remember the name of the road that’s paved with those intentions, don’t we?

AL Senator Scofield Knows What You Need – INTERNET

Charles Miller, Contributor

Alabama State Senator Clay Scofield (R SD-9) recently doubled down on his intention to introduce legislation promoting rural broadband, a plan he has been working on for years.  It’s the number one priority in his legislative agenda despite everything his constituents are struggling with every day.

Scofield was present at several “listen sessions” where his constituents brought up a lot of issues they think are important and the topics foremost on their minds.  The issues they raised were noteworthy, so I kept a list, and faster internet wasn’t among the top five, or ten, or fifteen.  But faster internet seems to be most important to Scofield; I have to wonder why.

The hard-working people of Senate District Nine are concerned about paying the bills, the high cost of education, lack of access to affordable health care, crumbling roads and bridges, and polluted water.  They are worried about the epidemic of opioid addiction and the low standard of living and downward mobility so many are experiencing.  They are worried about how much a trip to a doctor costs. Keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table is a struggle for many when families need three or four jobs to make ends meet.  Too many of them are scrambling to make the next installment on a pay-day loan they took out to pay the utility bill months ago. Forget about college for the children, it’s too far out of reach without student loans that will bankrupt them when those students cannot find a job.

We all must get to work and make enough to pay the bills (maybe not Senator Scofield) so faster internet won’t be a very high priority. Well maybe, if like Senator Scofield, you have all the necessities covered; if you, like Senator Scofield, have plenty of money and few responsibilities.

The Roman dictators gave the people bread and circus. High-speed internet is just circus, no bread, to distract people who will soon be reduced to survival in a high-tech hovel, eyes glued to screens that are nothing more than high-definition pacifiers.  I suppose that’s why the Senator thinks it’s important, to keep the voters distracted.

You should ask yourself, if you don’t make a living wage, how will you pay for super-duper fast-as-lightening internet?  If you can barely afford dial-up, are you going to skip the car payment to hook up to a 200 mbps cable? Obviously not.

How about this for a plan?  First pass legislation that improves the day-to- day lives of the average family, makes higher education affordable, gets heath care facilities reopened, new industries started, cleans up the rivers, – get that done before the economy of the region collapses, then I’ll be all for the “Internet So Fast It Will Make Your Head Spin Act”.  I’ll write it.

The real and present danger of Artificial Intelligence

Jerry Waters, Contributor

Growing up, I saved all summer for a Commodore 64 computer and learned BASIC so I could program it to randomly generate numbers for my characters in Dungeons and Dragons. Now, mentioning the Commodore 64 is a quaint anachronism as we have the modern capability to talk to our cell phone supercomputers and they can pinpoint our location anywhere on earth.  Our technologies are growing exponentially and average people are having a hard time keeping up and understanding the myriad of complex consequences.

Recently, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, gave a dire warning about the potential dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) because he believes that the technology is expanding faster than we can regulate it or fathom the potential dangers.

I may date myself here, but Hollywood tried to warn us with films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and War Games. We’ve also had similar ethical debates regarding genetic engineering and cloning. In fact, I just read somewhere that there’s a doctor ready to perform the world’s first human head transplant. To be honest, aside from it being existentially creepy, I’m not real sure how I feel about that and I haven’t even begun to untangle the messy legal and ethical implications involved in such a procedure.

One thing I know is that we can open a Pandora’s box unintentionally if we don’t establish regulations and processes based on sound ethics and solid legal principles. I also know that it’s worth the investment to enforce these regulations and processes or we’ll be watching the reality television version of Frankenstein.

AI has the potential to help humans beyond their wildest dreams or to become the nightmare from which we never wake. I’ve used Siri in my iPhone to recommend restaurants and to snarkily ask, “What did the fox say?” Obviously, the technology is in its infancy. What happens when terrorists decide to use it create a computer super virus? What happens if AI designers develop a system that becomes self-aware and determines that mankind is a threat to its survival?

How much should AI be able to interface with other technologies and why? Is someone planning on a human brain/ AI hybrid?

We know what can happen if we don’t take the time to answer these questions. Aren’t we still dealing with the consequences of the proliferation of nuclear weapons? When you get right down to the crux of the matter, aren’t most of our current human conflicts over who controls the fossil fuels that power our current technologies?

Elon Musk is adamant that we do something now because “by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late”.  It’s noteworthy that other leading human intelligence echoes his concerns, folks like Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates. The big questions they ponder are: 1) Who controls the technology to determine its impact?,  2) How do we prevent them from becoming completely autonomous?, and 3) How do we prevent them from fighting humanity?

Certainly, it’s easy to dismiss all of this as hyped-up fear, but the technology exists right now. With all the hacking that’s been dominating our headlines, how do we know this information will stay secure and not fall into the hands of some James Bond archetypal villain?

As Alex Morritt put it, “Whoever perceives that robots and artificial intelligence are merely here to serve humanity, think again. With virtual domestic assistants and driverless cars just the latest in a growing list of applications, it is we humans who risk becoming dumbed down and ultimately subservient to machines.”

After this last disaster of a presidential election, it’s hard to argue against that point.  In the meantime, I’m going to use the app on my phone to check my refrigerator live-feed video to see if I need to buy more milk while I’m out.

Alabama Democrats: “Summer of Revival” or another “Summer of Denial”?

Clete Wetli, Contributor

As an active, life-long, and proud Democrat living in Alabama, there’s no easy way to say this, but folks, we are seriously getting our asses kicked. Yeah, I know the history of how it happened and how the hatred of Obama, Pelosi, and all things liberal keep the GOP momentum going like the plague in the Dark Ages- but, it seems like we’re not doing our very best to stop the unrelenting red carnage.

Oh, you think it’s the “Summer of Revival” for Democrats in Alabama?

Just take a second and look at the Alabama Democratic Party website and click on all the headers. Spend a few minutes and just look the whole thing over with some scrutiny. Now you may need an adult beverage before you take this next step, but now, pull up the Alabama Republican Party website. Hmmm.  So, put your politics aside for a second and ask yourself which site looks better and ask yourself who is communicating an effective message.

Alright, maybe you really need two adult beverages after looking at all that! Look, I’m not trying to be inflammatory or just stir things up for no reason here, but this is shameful and it’s easily fixable. Alabama Democrats just have to find the collective will to make it happen.

Unfortunately, this “Summer of Revival” appears to be another “Summer of Denial” where we don’t hold our State Party leadership accountable for presenting a compelling and concise message that makes Alabama voters want to enthusiastically vote for Democratic candidates. The widespread denial isn’t even really the worst part. The worst part is the tepid and implicit apology lingering in the narrative that somehow this is our best effort and that we’re comfortable accepting our impending defeat because we’re outnumbered and outgunned.

Democrats across the state have spent the last few years protesting every embarrassing and regressive policy and law that has been supported by the Republicans. That’s ok I suppose, but it’s been largely ineffectual. Sadly, the one place where we should be protesting, and possibly getting arrested for disturbing the peace, is in front of the next State Executive Committee demanding the resignations of Worley and Reed. Well, unless you’re still in denial that we even have a problem or like making apologies for their obvious lack of leadership.

The tragedy is that no one is screaming, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Instead, it’s a very civil and patient acknowledgement of incompetence that leads to the scheduling of another meeting to patiently and civilly acknowledge more incompetence. In between these meetings, there’s likely a march or protest you can attend that will help you feel like you’re making a difference while you preach to the faithful.

I have to admit that I got a little excited when I first heard of this “Summer of Revival” coming to the Alabama Democrats, even if the religious reference made me gag a little. But since the announcement, there’s been no noise, no media, no feeling of renewed energy, and it all seems like another dying gasp for relevance.

The truth is that before we can become competitive again, we’ve got to get our act together. We can’t win trying to be Republican-lite and we can’t win accepting incompetent or mediocre leadership. We’ve got be clear about what we stand for and why.

What the hell is the message? Why is it not on the website and on bumper stickers in every county?

Folks, this is a fight for our survival and it’s high time that we get enraged and engaged. If this is truly the “Summer of Revival”, then what is it exactly that we’re reviving?

Maybe, what we need is some anger and a renewed commitment to the core values that made us the Party of the People in the first place. No more excuses, no more apologies, no more denial.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Trump’s mysterious friend, “Jim”

After months of lackadaisical sleuthing and being involuntarily distracted by squirrels running in the yard, Franklin, Editor-in-Chief of twentytwentynews.com and legal Canine American immigrant with papers, found Jim, President Trump’s buddy whom is referenced frequently in speeches and official press briefings. After a brief tummy rub and a Milk-bone, Franklin sat down with Jim to ask about him his special relationship with the 45th President of the United States…

 

Franklin: Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. We really appreciate you taking time out of your billionaire douchebag schedule and cancelling your mani-pedi to come sit with a clearly fake news outlet such as ours.  So, let’s start. Our readers would really like to know how you first met Donald Trump…

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, well, I first met Little Donny in prep school where we were in the Russian Club together. He didn’t last too long though because he couldn’t quite get the whole “talk in complete sentences” thing. Plus, he used to make a lot of jokes about Russian dressing-  and un-dressing… Cracked me up, though. Mostly, we just thought Russian chicks were hot and figured we could grab ‘em by the, uh, kiska, if you know what I mean!

Franklin: Ok, then. That’s about as disgusting as eating a hairball.  Alright, so after perp school…

(CROSSTALK)

Jim: You better watch your mouth, dorkie Yorkie.  Anyways, so me and Donny stayed pretty tight over the years. I mean, he went into the real estate con and I went into the nested wooden doll business. You laugh, mutt, but I sued the shit of the Zvozdochkin family and now I own the rights to matryoshka dolls. I don’t really have any ties to the Russians, but I did make Putin a custom set with a little tape recorder in it… that guy’s such a prankster…

Franklin: That must have been, uh, something.

Jim. It was yuge. Little Donny stole that line from me, by the way. Nobody know lines like I do. I have the greatest lines. I’m a very, very, substantial guy, you know. Very substantial.

Franklin: Indeed, you made matryoshka great again.

Jim: I don’t mean any disrespect, but you sure sound like you went to one of them liberal obedience schools… so, yeah, over the years, Little Donny and I would-

Franklin: Squirrel! (Franklin involuntarily chases squirrel into tree and returns after several minutes of barking and marking the spot with urine.)

Franklin: Apologies…

Jim: No worries, furry buddy. Where was I? Yeah, so I’d send Little Donny postcards as I travelled around the world.

Franklin: So, where was your favorite place to travel?

Jim: Well, I was always fond of France. I used to send Little Donny postcards of Paris Hilton… get it? But ya gotta love the Frenchies, I mean they gave us the most important pillars of Western Civilization, you know, like French toast, French fries, French’s mustard, and, of course, French kissing. But, I gotta tell ya, I used to go there every summer, but Paris isn’t just Paris anymore. They don’t know how to treat Americans. You order escargot and they won’t even bring you ketchup. I told Little Donny about that.

Franklin: Wow, and I thought eating out of the litter box was gauche…

Jim: Right?! Yeah, and then there’s all the foreigners there. I thought to myself, “They really need to build a wall, a beautiful wall, a big beautiful see-through wall with a door in it, to keep all them foreigners out.” I told Little Donny about it a couple of years ago and now he’s stolen my idea. I mean, the Chinese built a wall and they don’t have to worry now about Mexican rapists and drug dealers… see my point, mongrel?

Franklin: Uh, yeah. It’s so very easy now to picture you two as close friends. So, do you have any plans to visit the White House?

Jim: Absolutely. I’m planning on Russian right over there, Russian, you get it?

Franklin: Ha! You sure are Putin a lot of work into those jokes… get it?

(LONG AKWARD SILENCE)

Franklin: Well, alright then. One last question for you, if you don’t mind. So, what do you make of this whole Russia scandal with Trump- is it real or just a bunch of fake news?

Jim: (Picks up newspaper) It’s a witch hunt, for sure. I mean, just because everyone in the inner circle forgot to list every single Russian contact, just because Russians invested millions in Trump, just because he gets all flushed every time someone mentions Vladamir, just because Don, Jr. had a meeting… yeah, there’s nothing. It’s all fake. 100 percent.

Franklin: Well, “Yabloko ot yabloni nedaleko padayet”, as they say in Moscow.

Jim: What? No one fucking says that… You making fun of me? I punch back ten times harder…

Franklin: Hey, why are you rolling up that newspaper? You’re scaring me…

Jim: I’ll show you what we mean when we say “back channel”, you freaking hound…

(AT THIS POINT, THE INTERVIEW ABRUPTLY ENDED AS FRANKLIN RAN AWAY LIKE A SCALDED D—  OH, NEVER MIND. FRANKLIN, WE BELIEVE, IS STILL UNDER THE COUCH AND JIM HAS DRIFTED BACK INTO MYSTERIOUS OBSCURITY, BUT SENDS TRUMP REGULAR UPDATES ON WHY AFGHANISTAN JUST ISN’T AFGHANISTAN ANYMORE AND PAMPHLETS FROM THE THIRD WORLD ON HOW CLEAN COAL IS MAKING THE WHOLE WORLD GREAT AGAIN.)

In the meantime, Franklin will be working on his next story- “Who’s Melania’s favorite Secret Service agent and what kind of secret service is being provided?” Inquiring minds wanna know!

The foxes in Alabama’s polluted henhouse

Jerry Waters, Contributor

This week, The Center for Biological Diversity, The Sierra Club and The Center for Environmental Health have joined together to notify the states of Alabama and Mississippi that they intend to file suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to ensure that these states are not filling their environmental protections boards with people who have conflicts of interests regarding the fossil fuel industry and pollution.

With climate change denier Scott Pruitt heading up the EPA, it’s no wonder that red states are following the President’s lead by appointing people to environmental protection boards that seek to destroy the environment for financial gain. This is truly a case of the foxes watching the henhouse. It may be more apropos to compare it to Trump’s “drain the swamp” analogy which has become code for actually filling the swamp with more toxic waste and genetically-engineered monsters.

Pruitt is a very special kind of asshole who has not only funded his previous political campaigns with fossil fuel money, but he’s also sued the EPA fourteen times prior to Trump appointing him to head up the agency. He profoundly hates the Humane Society, free-range chickens, and scientists. That’s right, Pruitt fired all the scientists on the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors so he could replace them with fossil fuel industry executives. Pruitt doesn’t think carbon dioxide is a primary cause of global climate change, but does believe that coal is headed for a major comeback.

So now, Alabama is going to take Pruitt’s lead. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s not like Alabama has ever had a problem with conflicts of interests. It’s not like in 2010 when the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s (ADEM) Anita Archie was also hired as a lobbyist for the Business Council of Alabama for the sole purpose of helping people in the fossil fuel industry get air and water pollution permits. It’s not like Alabama is home to Superfund pollution sites or the home of 3M dumping Teflon waste in drinking water. See, there’s nothing to see here.

Of course, we might get concerned if Alabama was rated second-worst in the nation for drinking water or twelfth-worst in the nation for air pollution coming from coal and oil-fueled power plants. Oh, well, yeah, so there is that. Cough. Alright, so it’s not like Alabama uses all kinds of pesticides that are toxic and- oh, yeah, there’s that, too.

Just this year, the Southern Environmental Law Center had to file suit to try and stop the Black Warriors Mineral Mine #2 from dumping waste into the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River. You know, that source of drinking water for the good people of Birmingham, Alabama. They’re also dumping toxic crap into Turkey Creek and threatening endangered species.

Maybe ADEM could see if some of these coal miners want to take a quick shower and sit on the board to protect the state’s streams from coal pollution. Maybe ADEM could get some frackers on there, too.  Also, there’s probably plenty of room on the board for people who make chemical herbicides and pesticides… it’s not like it’s poison, right? Why can’t people just spend a little more on some Brita water filters and quit acting like they have some kind of deeply personal relationship with the flattened musk turtle? Who cares if a few people get sick because they forgot to wash their produce before they ate it? Don’t they know better?

Well, let’s hope these environmental legal warriors win their suit against the EPA or else we’re going to have a whole bunch of genetically-mutated, three-headed foxes guarding a very, very polluted henhouse.

Resisting only counts if you vote

Clete Wetli, Contributor

After the shocking election of a narcissistic con-man as President of the United States, it’s only natural for intelligent citizens with a heart to embrace the idea of active resistance. Trump’s regressive agenda deserves the most powerful opposition that we can muster. But, it’s important to remember that all of this passionate and earnest resistance will only count if you vote. That’s why our message has to resonate forcefully amongst people who think their vote just doesn’t matter. They have to be persuaded how their voice truly matters and why joining the resistance is worth their valuable time, effort, and resources.

For the 2016 presidential election, 59.7% of registered voters actually got up off the couch to cast their ballots.  Believe it or not, that’s actually 1.1% more than in 2012, but it still means that even in a contentious race that 2 out of 5 registered voters didn’t even bother. Honestly, it could have changed everything.

Indeed, our ability to dramatically increase voter turnout is the most critical thing we can do to elect candidates that will move our nation forward.

Conservatives shudder in fear at the thought of more people voting. That’s why they’ve fought so hard to restrict access to the ballot box with voter ID laws, the elimination of early voting, and refusing to allow elections on any day but Tuesday. It’s precisely why they’ve turned gerrymandering into a science.

Conservatives want people to feel like their voices are just drowned out and that their votes don’t count for much. This is how they win. When you couple that with their obsession with gerrymandering, it’s why they have more seats even when we have more popular votes.

It’s time for liberals to get really serious about GOTV efforts. It’s also time for us to find messages that universally resonate, rather than trying to align one-hundred distinct messages crafted around one-hundred different interest groups. GOTV only works if the message is concise, clear, and compelling.

Liberals have got to start touting their successes and counteract the constant negativity of conservatives who have painted our government as corrupt, ineffective, and oppressive. They have used this narrative not only with our government, but also with our media and it’s worked for them because it’s caused voter apathy and disillusionment with our most sacred institutions.

We’ve got to help people remember that our representative democracy works when people get involved and, most importantly, vote. We know, of course, that our government won’t solve every problem or cure every societal ill. However, we also know that the “wrecking ball” approach or “dismantling of the administrative state” will do irreparable harm to America.

This last election was a crossroads for America. Unfortunately, we are already seeing what can happen when the wrong choices are made. Liberals, this is our wake-up call and this our time to rise up like we have never done before. Each day, the conservatives are destroying the real progress that we have made as a united people. Make no mistake, they seek to take us backward and they seek to thwart our progress. They will always put profits over people, power over independence and oppression over diversity. Now you may think this is hyperbole, but ask yourself about their agenda, their accomplishments, and the agenda of those who support their causes.

Under Trump, they are emboldened as never before and it is up to us to stop them. The only way we can do this is to rally around a concise, clear, and compelling message and to convince people why their vote is so critical.

Resistance is futile if you don’t vote.