Anyone paying attention to the news on Monday could be forgiven for thinking that our country is going to hell in a Russian hand basket. FBI Director James Comey confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that his bureau is actively investigating President Trump’s ties to Russia. At the same time, the president of the United States was tweeting this:
The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017
Fighting this type of disinformation — oh, let’s just call a spade a spade, this type of propaganda — is going to take everything we Americans have. And one of the greatest things we have is the collective power of the Women’s March.
On January 21, millions of us took to the streets in an extraordinary show of solidarity. Three months later, we’re on our own, firing off Tweets, sending out emails, frantically calling our members of Congress — and crying in the shower. It’s too much, and at the same time, it’s too little.
As grassroots members of the Women’s March, we should appeal to our Women’s March leadership to set a date for #DayWomenDemandAnswers. We’d use that date for unified action, petitioning Congress to launch an immediate independent investigation into the president’s ties to Russia and compel him to release his tax returns.
There are three good questions about why, exactly, we should do this. Here are the answers:
1. Why do we need the Women’s March to prioritize an independent investigation and the release of the president’s taxes when so many other things we care about are under assault?
A sizable majority of Americans care about #TrumpRussia and #TaxReturns, and our desire for transparency crosses party and gender lines. Organizing around these two issues is our best shot at galvanizing general public opinion against this president and his policies.
2. Wait, didn’t you just say at the beginning of this whole thing that there’s already a Congressional investigation into the president’s ties with Russia?
Yes, there’s an investigation, but it’s not independent. It’s partisan. The Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes from California, has the power to decide which witnesses to call. From the line of GOP questioning at the initial hearing, it appears some GOP members are more focused on protecting the president from leaks than protecting our country from Russian malevolence.
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff, called for an independent commission which would ensure that no one party — or person — holds absolute control over the process.
The ongoing FBI investigation takes place in secret. We don’t have access to what they’re learning as they learn it. An independent investigation could bring what’s happening in the dark into the light.
3. Why should I bother?
Lobbying persuadable members of Congress absolutely matters as we saw with GOP Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski’s decision to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.
For members with hardened positions though, it’s far too easy for them to delete or ignore a message — each individual appeal turns into a tree falling in the forest.
There won’t be an independent investigation without collective public pressure. The Women’s March network is massive, and working together, we’re capable of massive disruption.
At the end of the day, the most important reason to call for #DayWomenDemandAnswers is that we need to see each other. We need to walk together, yell together, be together. Fear creates a sense of isolation, and we are not alone.
To call upon Women’s March leadership to set a date for #DayWomenDemandAnswers, sign the petition here.