Spells for this country: your action requested
Something more productive than doomscrolling on the toilet, again
|Claire Zulkey||Aug 6|| 3|
You know how sometimes you encounter an enraging mess in your house and it had nothing to do with you but you still have to clean it if up you want it taken care of satisfactorily? I will get back to more typical witchy content next week, but November is around the corner and it’s time for us all to find the rubber gloves and get out the bucket.
I have started an Evil Witches Giving Circle with the Future Now Fund to help flip a state Democratic this fall, and I invite you to join it.
Future Now Fund had success across 7 states in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 elections, which is why I have thrown in with them. Moreover, the woman who introduced me to the fund (interview below) is a witchy mom of two kids, so I appreciate that it’s run by people who understand the power of doing a lot with a limited amount of time or resources.
I hope, if you consider yourself a friend of this newsletter community and not a fan of the way our country is currently being managed and represented, you consider supporting the circle in one of two simple ways right now:
Make a donation of any size. I figured that if half of the people who read this donate $10 apiece we could get close to five figures easily. When we get to 75% of our goal, we will designate a state from FNF’s target list. I am personally pulling for Michigan.
If you cannot donate, please consider either posting the link to your social media and/or forwarding this post to three friends.
After that you can either be done forever—I’ll include updates on the Circle in the newsletters’ fine print but I won’t do a big newsletter ask like this agin. Or, I hope you consider hanging in with me as we flex our network, learn more about the policies and candidates our money and time will support, and grow our influence and knowledge together.
Want to learn more? I chatted with my buddy, author Melissa Walker, who directs giving circles at Future Now Fund, about how state elections are a good investment and a great way to understand your power at a time when you may feel disenfranchised. Don’t want to read more but still want to donate? Here’s the link again.
So tell me how my friends and I can help flip a state in 2020.
There's so much power that can be had from changing the majorities in state chambers and there's still so little focus on state legislatures. Everyone is so fixated on the presidential and on federal races that it becomes this left behind area for Democrats specifically, because Republicans have been investing in it for a very long time and it actually is the power center in which all the kitchen table issues that we care about get decided. It’s also the power center which decides who goes to Washington D.C. for us through gerrymandering and voter suppression, or expansion of voting rights. The good news is that it's actually way cheaper than focusing on trying to flip a senate seat or a congressional seat. So the amount of money that can be raised by people who organize their networks can change the balance of power in state chambers.
Underneath that is the idea that we should all be organizers and we should all know how to do that. When you learn how to move money and attention towards something that you care about, you walk through the world with a lot more power. The impact of watching what happened after Future Now Fund worked in Virginia and then what happened after we worked in North Carolina to break a super majority was incredible. It felt like, "Okay, I've just had a completely transparent political donating experience, and I see the tangible outcomes," which is hard to come by.
Why should someone care about what the laws are in some state that you don't live in?
First of all, states are laboratories for democracy and they're meant to be great places where we can experiment with things that improve lives and then move to other states and then perhaps the federal level. Marriage equality is an example of that. Healthcare is an example of that. It was Hawaii's healthcare, then Massachusetts healthcare, then the ACA. There are also places where things like bans on choice can spread, voter suppression bills can spread, stand-your-ground gun laws can spread, gutting of environmental protections that lead to situations like Flint, Michigan can spread, and we need to make sure that the policies are spreading reflect our country's values, not special interests' values. The reason those special interests have been able to get so deep in the state capitals is because they operate in darkness, no one has eyes on them, people don't know who their state representatives are.
The roots of Trumpism were seeded in state legislatures. When Republicans took over and people's lives got bad they didn't say, "Oh, that's because of my state rep," because no one really even knows that they have state reps. They blamed Obama and what was happening at the federal level even though these problems had nothing to do with Washington D.C. and everything to do with their state capitals.
I think my work really is to say to people, "Money is a political tool that the right has been wielding very effectively for a very long time and we need to wield it too." They have more money and more billionaires, but we have more people.
Why is Evil Witches a good place to base a Giving Circle?
Our most successful giving circles are groups of people who are already affiliated with each other in some way. So sometimes that's groups of friends, or like people who do yoga together, or PTA people who are all working together on something, or we have one that's music industry professionals. If there's a bunch of people who check in with each other on a regular basis, that's a perfect giving circle, because it's like, "We're already talking."
What would you tell someone who is concerned that donating at the state level right now means that’s diverting money that Biden might need?
The general is going to cost a billion dollars, and I do not feel like my money is impactful when given there. The state legislative level is so neglected and you can do so much with so little. That affects everything. We're all trying to fix a crumbling house by shining the chimney while the foundations — state legislatures — are crumbling because we have ignored them by staring at the chimney. If you care about the presidency, you should care about state legislatures, because they decide who can vote and how and when and whether a polling place closes, and whether the secretary of state can oversee his own election, like in Georgia in 2018.
Can you talk about how doing this fundraising and organizing work is more doable than a lot of anxious, busy parents might think?
I write young adult and middle grade novels. That's still what I think of as my career. But what I've learned about state legislatures was connecting a bunch of dots that were already in my brain, and I think that are already in a lot of people's brains. Once you see state capitals for the power centers they are, you can’t turn back, and you’ll want to make change there too.
If you’d like to learn more about how the Future Now Fund operates, the history of Giving Circles, and how Melissa pivoted unexpectedly to fundraising you can learn more from this helpful, not-terribly-long podcast that you can listen to while you fold laundry or do dishes. If you want to donate but are too tired to scroll back up, that donation page can be found again here.
Thanks for reading issue of Evil Witches, which is typically a newsletter for people who happen to be mothers. You can talk to us on Twitter , by responding to this email, or in the comments below. If you are interested in becoming more involved in the E.W. Giving Circle you can let me know via the same channels. You can also follow us on Instagram. If you read all this I hope you are going to have two desserts tonight.
One witchy thing