I have to admit that I’m not very good at this. I try to keep the idea of positivity in my mind all the time, but the world just gives up SO many damned examples of things to bash – have you heard the new NRA president speak, or heard about what the Kansas governor has been up to lately!? – that it’s sometimes really hard to focus on what’s good.
Here, then, are ten things that I think are pretty damned awesome.
1. NARAL. This is a group that’s working, pretty much 24/7/365 (because that’s what’s become necessary in our current political culture), to keep abortion access legal, safe, and available to women across the country. They have a wicked hard job on their hands, but they’re dug in and doing it.
2. Senator Elizabeth Warren. This woman is about 25 different shades of awesome. She’s a junior senator – this is her first term in the office – but she’s kicking ass and taking names. We knew she’d be no shrinking violet, but damn if this woman didn’t hit the ground running. She’s asking the hard questions in hearings and she’s waging a full-on public relations campaign to get the American people as worked up about stuff as she is. She kinda makes me wish I still lived in Massachusetts.
3. Freedom to Marry. Here’s another group that’s kicking it full time in an effort to get as many states as possible to accept full marriage equality. We’re up to 10 states plus the District of Columbia, with 11 more that could be convinced. The more states that allow equal marriage, the more likely the Supreme Court will eventually be to rule that equal marriage is a constitutional right, and the sooner that ALL Americans can be truly, you know, equal.
4. Everyone who’s fighting for rational gun policy. Gabby Giffords and her organization. Bloomberg and his organization. The Newtown Families and their organization. These folks, and every single person who’s advocating for reasonable gun policy on their blogs, on facebook, and in their offices and at their dinner tables, are doing desperately important work. We simply cannot continue on the way we’ve been; if we don’t make some meaningful changes to our policy (and follow that up with meaningful changes in our culture and in the way we deal with emotional and mental issues), we’re going to literally destroy ourselves.
5. The Red River Women’s Clinic. This is, literally, the only abortion clinic in North Dakota. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This is, literally, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. In fact, if the source I found is correct, there are a number of “literally the ONLY abortion clinic in the state” organizations (including only one in MY state). These people get up and go to work every day with the knowledge that they are the target of extremists who would just as soon see them dead in the street (or in their church, or in their car) than see them spend another day at their job. Think about that the next time you gripe about having to go to work.
6. Gretchen Whitmer. She’s a Democratic senator in Michigan, and she’s fighting tirelessly for education in her state. She’s fighting for a lot of other things, too – Michigan is under Republican control, after all – but hers is the leading voice for Michigan’s school children.
7. The Witness to Innocence people. This organization is working to eliminate the death penalty in the United States. Maryland just overturned its capital punishment statute last week; Mississippi is about to execute someone who may well be innocent of the crime for which he’s being put to death. This is important work that needs to be done. I’m glad someone is doing it.
8. Robert Reich. I love this guy. Around here, we call people like him “wicked smaht,” both because his IS wicked smaht and because he’s able to explain complex and difficult ideas to those of us who aren’t wicked smaht in a way that we actually understand what the hell he’s talking about. He’s expending a lot of effort to educate the American people about the economy, how it works, and how it’s been – and is being – manipulated against the interests of the poor and middle class.
9. George Takei. I love him for the same reason I love Robert Reich, but they’re totally different. Really, click the link and watch it through to the end.
10. Rachel Maddow. I know, I know; she represents everything the “right” hates, but I think she’s pretty damned awesome. She’s ethical, she’s funny, she’s passionate, and she’s incredibly smaht.