How To Save The Country–My New Year’s Resolution

Of course I don’t really know how to save the country–but I do know that an effort to change the direction of our politics requires not just a “what,” but a “how.”

(Forgive the digression, but when I listen to Mike Braun’s interminable TV ads, the utter   lack of that “how” drives me crazy. Granted, he’s a fairly unattractive person anyway, but when he pontificates that he has the “answer” to America’s problems, and advocates things like “sending illegal immigrants home,” he doesn’t bother to say how that might be accomplished. He talks about “stopping China,” but not what “stopping” would entail or how he proposes to do it.) (Of course, if these were issues he actually cared about, he’d remain in the Senate, since the federal government has exclusive  jurisdiction over them. He wouldn’t be running for Indiana Governor…)

As Trump, Braun and so many other candidates have figured out, it’s much easier to identify a desired destination than it is to map out a practical and/or constitutional journey to get there.

Yesterday, I concluded my post by identifying my New Year’s Resolution –working as hard as I can to defeat the racist cult that has replaced the Republican party. That statement raises a legitimate, and increasingly difficult, question, not just for me but for every American who is terrified by the prospect of a Trump or Trumpist victory in November: how?

What can an individual do to help ensure the continuation of the American experiment? Depending upon our particular skills, available time, energy, location…where can we each best deploy our efforts?

Probably the most important activity involves registering non-voters who are likely to vote Democratic. If you are like me, you have few–if any– unregistered friends and acquaintances, but there are organizations working on voter registration that can use volunteers. This is particularly important in rural areas, where Democratic-leaning citizens are convinced that they’re the only ones so there’s no point to voting.

Speaking of volunteering: volunteer with a political campaign being waged by someone you admire. This can involve phone banking, canvassing, organizing events, or providing support in other ways. If you have the means, contribute financially. Again, this is especially important in states like Indiana, where the biggest problem Democrats face is a  belief that no Democrat can win.

If at all possible, you can connect with local or even national grassroots organizations that are mobilizing voters and working to get out the vote. Turnout will be the single most important element of the coming election cycle: when lots of people turn out to vote, Democrats win. Republicans have figured this out–and credit where credit is due, they have been brilliant in suppressing turnout. (Gerrymandering has been their biggest success in convincing voters not to bother coming to the polls, but it isn’t their only tactic.) We can all encourage friends, family, and acquaintances to vote; if time and energy permits, you can organize a voter registration drive and/or a get-out-the-vote effort.

Speaking of time and effort, consider running for office yourselves.

Finally–be an advocate. Challenge officeholders who support unAmerican measures; call out bigotry (especially in campaigns); fact-check dubious assertions and fake news and communicate the results; share accurate information.

I intend to use this blog to mount such challenges and to call out the Mike Brauns, Jim Banks and others who should not be trusted with public office, and in addition, I have already volunteered on Marc Carmichael’s Senate campaign, as well as Trish Whitcomb’s very welcome campaign in Southern Indiana against “permitless-carry”  gun nut Jim Lucas. If anyone reading this post has added ideas about help I can provide to the “good guys,” let me know.

What will each of you do to defeat the MAGA effort to turn America into a replica of Victor Orban’s Hungary?


  1. Add that republicans have discovered it is easier to divide and destroy than to build. Bidens successes have taken 3 years and have faced at least one whammy, after he had recovered America from trump inept pandemic handling and flailing economy, as the rest of the world emerged from the pandemic and everyone got hit with inflation, supply chain clogging, and we had republicans gleefully telling everyone it was Bidens fault while voting to keep inflation high ( and against Border Patrol funding and anything else they falsely claimed was “irresponsible” or “socialism”. Never mind thanks to Biden we fared better than the other G-7 nations.

  2. I’m glad to see that I am not the only one questioning Mike Braun’s tv ads. He claims he will end the boarder crisis and send those illegals back. What’s his plan? Call up the Indiana National Guard? March them across all of the states between here and Mexico?
    The man is nuts!

  3. When I was younger I did a lot of voter registration, canvassing my neighborhood and the projects on east Raymond Street. People told that I was foolish and that it was too dangerous, but what I found were people who were shocked that someone was actually trying to encourage them to vote.

    Those days are long gone. Now I’m just a megaphone, encouraging people to vote. Money is the only thing I have to offer these days, so I give to candidates I like.

    As you said,do what you can!

    Happy New Year!

  4. Sheila asked readers a question: What will each of you do to defeat the MAGA effort to turn America into a replica of Victor Orban’s Hungary?

    Hold in trust principles of democracy.

    Support candidates who have earned my trust to support and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

    Speak truth and act with civility.

    Vote in November.

  5. I woke early as usual on this first day of 2024 in America; turned on MSNBC for news of this new year. After 15 minutes of nothing but Trump and his chances in the upcoming Iowa Caucus and beyond I turned of the TV and got out of bed. Nothing new about the media pushing Trump down our throats and up our anuses to fill what they consider news reports. Same old shit, different year. I miss the news, even when it is bad, but all news today is the Trump Fourth Reich, a repeat of Hitler’s Germany almost 100 years ago.

    As Mike Braun pontificates Trump’s list of problems with this nation; it is still old Trump news. I never thought I would see the day when I would hope that Chris Christie would be the Republican presidential nominee. He at least speaks against Trumpism as well as against Trump the twice impeached and with 91 (or more) civil and criminal indictments against him which is currently dragging behind him like an incomplete abortion. His “Pro Life” followers will not allow that abortion to be completed as they have proven by overturning Roe vs. Wade after swearing they would not overturn any Supreme Court decision. Lies and liars rule and we have little access to facts and truths due to full time media coverage of Trump and Trumpism. His accusation that the media is the problem in this country is now the truth as they aid pushing the nation to believe there is only one presidential candidate in 2024…another repeat of Hitler’s Germany when he was the only candidate.

  6. We just need to remember that a voter from Aubbenaubbee Township has as much power as a voter from Carmel, IN

  7. One organization doing excellent work is “Our Common Purpose”from the American Academy of Arts and Science). Danielle Allen, Judy Woodruff, and other people of influence are involved and the organization has lofty ideas worthy exploring.
    Jessica Craven produces a newsletter called “Chop Wood/Carry Water” that gives solid information on current events. She makes suggestions and gives concrete steps to take to influence decision-makers in government and is worth checking out.
    I, too, have pledged to work this year to promote democracy and defeat MAGA/Trump. I am doing this by joining with like-minded people and organizations and by making what donations I can afford.
    I am taking a rather Stoic mind-set, in that I will do what is in my power, realizing that the outcome is largely out of my control, but at the end of the year I will at least know that I have made an effort.
    Here’s to hoping for a positive outcome by this time next year!

  8. I will take Sheila’s call as “permission” for an “ad” for my grassroots community, CommonGoodGoverning. Before now, we focused strictly on electing servant leaders to the US House from “purple” districts threatening to become red. We were proud to have sent Conor Lamb, Dean Phillips, Elaine Luria, Elissa Slotkin, Kathy Manning and Carolyn Bourdeaux to Congress, most of whom governed tirelessly via the Problem Solvers Caucus. In 2022, our guy, Adam Fritsch, came within 500 votes (out of 320,000) of taking down Lauren Boebert in Colorado. This past November, we helped flip a key Virginia House of Delegates seat Blue, preventing harsh abortion legislation from happening.

    This year we continue to seek key US House races, vital state house/senate races that could affect majority/super-majority Red rule and a governor’s race, North Carolina, with an ultra-MAGA strong GOP favorite.

    Our work solely consists of creating peer-to-peer campaigning among the two groups who vote the least regularly, minorities and young people.

    We are an all-volunteer community of mostly folks age 60-95. The “work” consists of Internet research that can be done from your home. Interested? Contact me at

  9. “… Indiana, where the biggest problem Democrats face is a belief that no Democrat can win.”
    Last night I sat at a kitchen table with friends, all Democrats, of course. One opined that she doesn’t believe our votes count, thanks to gerrymandering and the Electoral College. Another becomes enraged over Biden, but only because he’s “too old,” and she absolutely does not want to vote for him; she also firmly believes that TFG will win this year, with Nikki Haley as his running mate, and Biden doesn’t stand a snowflake’s chance. Another commented that, thanks to what she’s learned from this blog, that she has made a contribution to the Carmichael campaign. (I need to emulate her.) I pointed out that our votes will truly not count if we don’t cast them at all—after all, Biden DID win in 2020, against an incumbent. That reinstating TFG in the White House is unthinkable and must not be allowed to happen, and that not voting for Biden, only because of his age, is one path toward making that reinstatement happen.
    I believe real power begins locally: by getting the likes of McCormick and Carmichael into office, getting Banks out of office, and stopping Braun. Regardless of gerrymandering, if enough of us VOTE, we can make it happen.

  10. Every Vote Matters. Reaching our youngest voters and every single female in this state is key. That is what we must do now and what our goal is – getting them registered and to the polls. The negativity from our own Democratic Party has been less than helpful throughout the years. We’re making strides but not fast enough. We have some amazing women and progressive men running for office — register and vote!

  11. In this millennium, there have been two pandemics. One recent one is from a Chinese wet market, and the other is from the threat of humans wandering around the world looking for better.

    The latter, of course, has occurred over the entire history of our species.

    Still, it has gotten political attention lately because there are so many homo sapiens that we’ve produced enough waste and dumped it wherever it is convenient to have poisoned many of our homes on the planet.

    That problem (that we have all contributed to) has produced many macho leaders worldwide to protect us from us. Trump, Netanyahu, Putin, Kim Jong-un, President Ji, etc are good examples.

    Fortunately, some of us have the tools to restore governance of, by, and for the people without resorting to the death and destruction of our infrastructure or others.

    When we still have liberal democracy, we can vote it out.

  12. Sheila, thanks for starting us out on such a good footing for 2024. Really appreciate all of the “what YOU can do’s” and to others for pointing us in the right direction to get things started!

    I ordered a Word of the Year Bracelet on Etsy yesterday (look it up on WAPO, it’s actually kinda cool) and the word I chose was “FORWARD”. I am positive this ship CAN be turned around and I’m not going to let the bastards get me down this year! Happy New Year and let’s move Forward!

  13. It just so happens that my daughter and I attended the Colt-Raider game yesterday (which the Colts won) and were there in furtherance of a joint organization of Colt and private interests in understanding mental health and stigmas attached thereto. While waiting for the game to start, hundreds of us were sitting at a huge room drinking coffee and chatting. One of the people at my table was a guy who identified himself as a native of Jasper, Indiana, so I asked him how local political sentiment there was for or against their local candidate for governor, i. e., Braun, who apparently confuses the powers of state governor with that of a nationally elected president. He said that a lot of people there don’t like him and that he wouldn’t vote for him.

    Someone (not Rokita) should tell Braun if elected that foreign relations and immigration are not within his portfolio but rather that of a nationally elected president. He is rich but ignorant of constitutional history, a combination I am increasingly seeing within the cult that seems to prefer fascism over their “displacement” by the coming multicultural society. (I prefer the latter.)

    I believe that there are more Democrats in Indiana than Republicans but that via various ruses, e. g., gerrymandering, Democratic despair etc. they stay home on election day, thus cementing the “red” results we see today and the real potential for ever more Banks/Braun types in positions of power. Obama proved that with intense organization Democrats can win in Indiana. Perhaps those organizers should be brought back to the scene, given adequate resources, and turned loose on our lazy polity since our democracy may well be at stake with the result at the polls come the fall of ’24. We have excellent state-wide candidates, so whatever works. . .

  14. State-wide elections are technically immune to the effects of gerrymandering, but many Democratic voters do not know that, and its effects dampen their participation as a result of the despair such misunderstanding generates. Thus, for instance, when a Democrat stays home because there is an admixture of gerrymandered seats up for election as well as state-wide seats, those technically unaffected by the evil practice suffer as, predictably, despair dictates the end result(s). Organizers need to educate Democrats in such connection with a view toward enhancing their participation in such elections. We may find that we have been sitting on an electoral goldmine. . .

  15. I have been talking with friends about voting Democratic. I know they don’t care for Trump but I don’t know whether they will bother with voting. To stir public discussion with others it might be good to wear a tshirt supportive of Democrats. Just a thought. Because it makes you more approachable to timid Democrats that might need encouragement. Of course this also puts a target on your back for those that disagree.

  16. Good points about Braun; the other candidates also have views that a govnr can’t do much about or are so vague as to render them irrelevant . Happy New Year to you and yours and thanks for these missives.

  17. Thank you Sheila and for all of the comments. Four years ago I had lots of banners and Biden/Harris signs in my yard. Some of them were stolen. I received a crude unmailed letter in my mailbox (I have a rural mail carrier). The final sentence was that I needed to kill myself. I took to the sheriff and wasI told that I needed to get a security system…. I will put them out again as soon as possible. The only flags allowed year round are Trump 2024 or vulgar Biden signs. I understand that the Republicans in Indiana get major donations from those that do not live in Indiana. It is hard to fight evil! But, we have no choice. Happy New Year to all!

  18. Thank you, Sheila, and Gerald Stinson. The non-effects of gerrymandering in statewide elections is a crucial point, and one I wasn’t clear on myself. That makes me feel somewhat more optimistic, because if enough voters in enough states get out in droves and vote blue, we could actually turn things around. As I said in my earlier comment, I believe the power lies in local and state elections. We all need to channel our inner Rosie the Riveters—we can DO this!!

  19. Sheila – After over half a century of political activism, I can tell you that you covered the needed actions very, very well.

    As for Braun, he is running for President. He just seems to forget to “step” on his “stepping stone” first. It doesn’t matter though, his presidential campaigning will work as a bullhorn (no longer. using dog whistles) for his potential supporters.

    We just have to work to see that he misses that stepping stone and gets mired in the mud (of his own making).

  20. One thing I will do to defeat the MAGA effort is what I have done since the Warnock/Ossoff special election – sending postcards to potential Dem voters in key states . You get send free postcards along with printed voter lists and instructions with proven message options. You provide the stamps and hand write the message and voter addresses.

  21. Indiana’s party primaries are also a problem. However, Carmcal and McCormick are essentially guaranteed the Democratic nominations, so choosing to vote Republican and voting against Banks and Braun will give us a chance to defeat them in the primary

  22. Under Trump the older generation have seen $2.00 gasoline, minor cost of living increases and someone to fix the migrant problem with the fence. This is their reality and they vote in a bigger block then any other demographic. Biden needs to drop out of the race or the Democrats are going to lose once again to Trump. A younger candidate is what the Democrats need to win the election. The younger people won’t vote for Biden, plain and simple. If the Democrats cannot read the polls then they are doomed.

  23. Under Trump the older generation have seen $2.00 gasoline, minor cost of living increases and someone to fix the migrant problem with the fence. This is their reality and they vote in a bigger block then any other demographic.Biden is to old for one more term. Biden needs to drop out of the race or the Democrats are going to lose once again to Trump. A younger candidate is what the Democrats need to win the election. The younger people won’t vote for Biden, plain and simple. If the Democrats cannot read the polls then they are doomed.

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