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A Quick To-Do List for All Americans

A few things you should do this weekend, regardless of your politics, to support your fellow Americans.

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Henry Phillips

This week, the outside world felt like a vacuum, sucking me in at every chance. Every glance at my Twitter feed was an invitation to boiled blood, every news-related push notification a guaranteed sigh. Regardless of your party affiliation, there’s a good chance you feel the same way. We are at a precipice of some sort in America, that’s certain, and all precipices are terrifying; what Americans will argue over the Thanksgiving turkey this year is whether we’re leaping into a trampoline or a punji pit.

As such, here are a few things I recommend you do this weekend, regardless of your politics:

Call your representative and insist that they hear your voice. This is the foundation of democracy. (Find out who your rep is using this site.)

Talk to your fellow Americans, respectfully, and try to understand their choices, which to a lot of us on both side seem terribly unreasonable. We are at a terrible moment in this country where partisanship reigns, for a number of reasons. Remember that in his farewell address, George Washington (no perfect politician himself, it can be noted) said that partisanship “serves always to distract the Public Councils and enfeeble the Public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.” The surest cure is to respect those who disagree with you, and understand them, and try to make our struggle one to find common ground, not to destroy one another. (Whether you agree with Jon Stewart’s politics, he makes a great point about this around the 4:00 mark in this video.)

Take a deep breath, then start supporting groups that have been fighting to protect our rights as Americans for years. (The ACLU, with its longstanding support of free speech, human rights, and racial justice, seems a good place to start for most; see a full list of organizations on both sides of the aisle here.)

This is where my soapboxing ends. There are many publications that address these times directly. We are not one of those places, generally. What we can offer (and I like to think we offer it pretty well) is the inverse of that outside-world-vacuum: ideas for thinking inwardly, for addressing your personal life, and for little discoveries that affect your life in various and sundry more minuscule ways than Supreme Court Justices and filibusters and National Security appointments. There’s comfort in those. So after you follow those steps above this weekend, pour yourself a drink and enjoy your reward: some catharsis through stories — of discovery, of insight, of simple pleasures. – Chris Wright

Words Without Context


A Notable Quote From The Week


“It is a film about battling inner demons — about professional skiers coming to grips with the fact that their globetrotting lifestyle is contributing to the death of their livelihood. If you’re looking for full-on stoke ski footage, Guilt Trip likely won’t deliver. But if the purity of wild places is something near and dear to your heart, it just might be one of the best ski films of the year.”
– Michael Finn

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Kevin Rechsteiner


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Weather got you down? Hang around.

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