Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Please, don't delete

This political moment is the truest test we've faced during my time at MoveOn.

Dear MoveOn member,

This is a long email, but I hope you'll take the time to read to the end.

I've been a MoveOn member for over a dozen years, and on staff for eight—three of them as executive director. I've been part of so many MoveOn campaigns, from fighting to stop the Iraq War, to helping elect Obama, to defending diplomacy, and so much more.

This political moment is the truest test we've faced during my time at MoveOn. 

The Paris terror attacks sparked a terrible and counterproductive backlash here in America—one that's threatening the essential values proclaimed on the Statue of Liberty. Republican presidential candidates are proposing to close mosques and impose religious tests on refugees.1 Local officials are publicly discussing internment camps.2 At least 30 governors—including one Democrat—have declared their state borders closed to refugees.3

And I can't help but think: If we can't stop this backlash after a terrorist attack in Europe, what happens if—God forbid—there's another attack on U.S. soil? 

We seem to have forgotten the bitter lessons learned after 9/11. In fact, many Muslims and Arab-Americans say the climate in America today is worse than right after 9/11.4 George W. Bush's remarks about Islam then sound positively enlightened alongside Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio today.

And if we don't decisively turn the tide, I fear we're on a slippery slope to more endless U.S. wars abroad, and unprecedented new infringements on human rights here at home.

We urgently need to do two things:

1) Win a big vote on the fate of refugees in America in the Senate next week. The U.S. House already passed, with a veto-proof majority, a bill that would effectively stop any more Syrian and Iraqi refugee families fleeing violence from resettling in the US.5 The bill now moves to the Senate, where it has a real chance of passing with a veto-proof majority as well. Unless we mobilize, massively, right now, President Obama could be forced to close the door to ALL families seeking refuge from violence. 

To put this in a global context, France—the site of the recent terror attacks— has declared its commitment to continue accepting Syrian refugees.6 And we know that our actions are being watched in the Middle East, where extremists and terrorists such as Daesh (commonly known as ISIS) and Al Qaeda are hoping our divisive, xenophobic, and isolationist actions drive new recruits into their ranks.7

2) Win the cultural and political argument that's playing out right now in newspapers, at dining room tables, on TV, and on Facebook walls. We're collectively asking ourselves: How does America react to terror attacks now—this many years after 9/11? Do we race to criminalize Muslims—refugees and otherwise? Do we play into terrorists' hands by implying that Islam and Western democracy are at odds? Do we launch another era of open-ended and fundamentally unwinnable wars?

Or do we fight terror with decency, with civility, by opening our hearts and homes—and showing people around the world why the Statue of Liberty is still such a beacon of hope? And do we develop even smarter, more globally integrated, proactive, and progressive foreign policy strategies to beat extremism and keep us safe? 

To succeed, we have to win the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans who are fearful and looking for answers.

We've been pushing hard on this—but we don't yet have the money we need to rise to this historical moment over the next six weeks, and beyond.

Will you chip in $3 to support our emergency campaign?

Yes, I'll chip in to counter anti-refugee hysteria and rise to the historical moment.

My father is usually a sober-minded guy—a lawyer in Chicago who chides me when he feels our MoveOn emails get too dramatic. But he pulled me aside yesterday and, with unusual urgency, asked what we're doing to counter the dangerous remarks we're hearing from Donald Trump and others.

Here's what we're doing:

  • Putting direct pressure on senators. Last week, MoveOn members made nearly 10,000 calls to their offices, and we're going to continue that effort when the Senate returns to Washington next week—along with showing up at their offices, pushing them on social media, calling them out by name when they turn their back on families in need, and elevating them when they stand up for American values.

  • Taking this fight to the states. Over 200,000 MoveOn members have signed petitions targeting governors who threatened to close their doors to refugees. We have supported rallies, petition deliveries, and even community dinners that have all demonstrated that Americans still welcome refugees, and rebuked the politicians who choose fear over compassion.

  • Fighting the culture of hate and celebrating the culture of compassion. We're calling out the rhetoric of Donald Trump and the violence of his followers, and calling on leading politicians to do the same. We're opening our homes and our arms to refugee families—and we're elevating their stories and voices so that the American people can hear from these families directly, over the din of the demagogues.

It's necessary work—but we urgently need to do more. We need your help to run ads featuring the faces of real refugee families, to organize protests targeting key senators, and to generate tens of thousands of calls to Senate offices. 

Will you chip in
$3 to enable our emergency response?

Click here to support MoveOn's emergency campaign to respond to the Paris attacks and the backlash against refugees.

We must not cave in to xenophobia, discrimination, and hate. That's not who we are. Immigrants and refugees now within our borders deserve dignity and respect. And we must not turn our backs on millions of refugees—the largest displaced population since World War II—and leave them languishing in camps with unspeakable conditions. We have to speak out and fight for our shared values.

We need to build our strength and compassion for if, god forbid, there's another attack in the United States. Or else the next wave of terror-fueled counter-reaction will erode our liberties, feed terrorist propaganda videos, and take us to war.  

MoveOn is your organization. We've worked together to help end the Iraq war; to support progressive champions; to defend diplomacy; and to build the kind of inclusive, decent society that we need for all of our children.

We must rise to this moment together, because the consequences of our actions today will reverberate for years to come. And we can do it, but only with your help. Will you chip in $3?

Click here to chip in and support MoveOn's emergency campaign to respond to the Paris attacks and the backlash against refugees.

Thanks for all you do. 



1. "A Complete Guide To How The GOP Candidates Reacted To Syrian Refugees After The Paris Attacks," ThinkProgress, November 17, 2015

2. "Mayor: Japanese internment camps justify rejecting refugees," USA Today, November 19, 2015

3. "30 Governors Call For Halt To U.S. Resettlement Of Syrian Refugees," National Public Radio, November 17, 2015

4. "Muslim Americans: Current political climate worse than after 9/11," CNN, November 21, 2015

5. "House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees," CNN, November 19, 2015

6. "France says it will take 30,000 Syrian refugees, while U.S. Republicans would turn them away," The Washington Post, November 18, 2015

7. "Why A Backlash Against Refugees Only Helps ISIS," The Huffington Post, November 15, 2015

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This email was sent to eddie alfaro on November 25, 2015. To change your email address or update your contact info, click here. To remove yourself from this list, click here.

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