Let’s talk about this scary meme…
Yes, these bills are floating around out there, so let’s talk through what’s actually going on in this list.
The good news
Most of these votes are symbolic and many of these bills were introduced in the house months ago and went nowhere. Postcards for America has scripts for all of these bills that you can use when you’re writing or calling.
Unfortunately, H.J. Res. 69 already passed this spring. H.R. 861 (anti-EPA), H.R. 610 (Vouchers), H.R. 899 (Education), H.R. 370 (ACA repeal) and H.R. 354 (Defund PP) are red meat to their bases and donors, but they’re unlikely to be brought up for a vote and even more unlikely to pass. That’s why you haven’t heard of them. Please bother the co-sponsors about them, especially if you’re in their districts. Make it annoying for them to have co-sponsored stuff like this, and they’ll think twice before signing up for the next messy symbolic bill. That doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be a last-minute Hail Mary pass on these, but it’s unlikely.
The Grey Area
A few of these bills are worrisome, but the meme doesn’t actually provide a good guideline for action on these issues. I’ll go through them, but these are also stale bills, so I have alternate ways to get in touch with your reps on the same issues.
H.R. 147 “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act” outlines some odd future dystopia that I’m perfectly happy to not share with its co-sponsors, but a 20-week abortion ban just passed the house on October 3rd [Washington Post] and is far more worrisome. If you don’t want to see it pass in the Senate, now’s a good time to speak up. H.R. 808 “Iran Nonnuclear Sanctions Act of 2017” is probably not something to worry about since our President keeps threatening to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran that Obama carefully set up, but if you’re worried about Iran and foreign policy, get in touch about that. H.R. 785 “National Right-to-Work Act” hasn’t moved since February, but if you’re in a union or don’t want to see union busting, speak up.
H.R. 83 “Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act” hasn’t advanced in the House since it was introduced on January 3rd, but California just became our first sanctuary state. If you’re interested in sanctuary cities, this is a good time to speak up. If you’re in a red state, you can contact your reps and say that you wish your state was a sanctuary state and speak up against H.R. 83 and bills like it. For everyone else outside of California, contact your state and local reps and say that you wish your state would follow California’s lead.
When I first saw this meme, it was late at night and I thought it was real. I’d missed so many things while I was worried about racism, global warming, gun control, foreign policy and creepy tweets! When I actually went through the list though, I’m not sure where the original writer got their info. I’m guessing that it’s an old list from the spring that someone repurposed, but I’m not sure why the internet is coughing it up again for all of us.
We’ve all seen people use “you’re being distracted from the Real Issues” as a way to shut down political arguments. “Don’t worry about racism when there’s nuclear war!” Ultimately, calling something a distraction is a form of gaslighting. There are a lot of important issues out there and telling someone that their issue doesn’t matter doesn’t help another cause. Just to pick one thing out of the list at the very top of that meme, most of Puerto Rico is still without power and FEMA is still fumbling their response. That’s far more important to the people in PR than a bill that passed in April.