Amy Klobuchar's masterful response to Ted Cruz's SCOTUS nomination argument is a must see

The recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg not only marked the end of an illustrious life of service to law and country, but the beginning of an unprecedented judicial nomination process. While Ginsburg's spot on the Supreme Court sits open, politicians and regular Americans alike argue over whether or not it should be filled immediately, basing their arguments on past practices and partisan points.

When a Supreme Court vacancy came up in February of 2016, nine months before the election, Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell refused to even take up a hearing to consider President Obama's pick for the seat, arguing that it was an election year and the people should have a say in who that seat goes to.

Four years later, a mere six weeks before the election, that reasoning has gone out the window as Senate Republicans race to get a nominee pushed through the approval process prior to election day. Now, they claim, because the Senate majority and President are of the same party, it makes sense to proceed with the nomination.


It's a stunning display of hypocrisy, even by the political world's standards.

In a recent Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, Senator Ted Cruz (TX-R) attempted to paint the Democrats' objections to pushing through a SCOTUS nominee as "political theater." But Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN-D) wasn't having it. In a nine-and-a-half minute speech, Klobuchar laid out exactly why this SCOTUS nomination goes beyond political theater—and she did so with an authentic eloquence that earned her viral status.

The full transcript of her speech shared on Senator Klobuchar's website:

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I sit in a position on this committee where I often follow Senator Cruz and I often have to throw out my entire plan for what I was going to say because of what he said. But I have never had an experience quite like this one. I could choose to start by taking on his interpretation of history because of the fact that the only other time that we have had a justice die this close to an election was when Abraham Lincoln—a wise wise leader—was president. What did he do?

He waited until after the election.

What is unique in your words, Senator Cruz, about this situation? People are voting right now. Democracy is happening right now and we in this room are supposed to be stewards of this democracy. What else is unique in your words about this situation? It is the precedent that was set just a few years ago by the very people sitting here, by the very leader who is still the leader of the Republican Party.

He said this—Mitch McConnell—the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president. Those are the facts that you live with. But to me, none of those arguments even compare to what I just heard and what I must respond to. Our democracy, what's happening right now.

What this President said yesterday and Joe Biden has said he will abide by the results of this election. It is this president, President Trump who refuses to commit to make sure there is a peaceful transfer of power after the election if he is not re-elected. Instead, as he has done for months, just yesterday, he again worked to undermine confidence in our election.

He has repeatedly told people, the citizens of this country that it's not safe to vote by mail. That there's something wrong with it, except for in Florida where he has voted by mail. This is what he says almost every single day. And to have the chairman of this committee lead this discussion on this solemn day, when tomorrow the first woman in the history of the nation will lie in state and raise the fact that yes, this may end up in court and then to hear you, Senator Cruz talk about how this is because of some war game that you're talking about that I've never even heard about that this can end up in court.

Well, guess what, I will not concede that this is going to end up in court. You know why? Because the people are voting in droves right now. They are voting all over this country because President Trump is behind in states, in red states that no one even thought he could be behind in. Why? Because the people of this country are fighting back because they know what's on the line. Do I think this is a tragic death at this moment? Yes, it's tragic because we lost this woman who is an icon way ahead of her time, someone who opened doors for women at a time when so many insisted on keeping them shut.

Well, we are not keeping our democracy shut this year. This was a woman who would never as Senator Durbin explained would not take no for an answer. She literally applied for law school when there were no women hardly in her law school, when she had to go to a dinner with the dean of Harvard Law School. And he had each woman explain why they were allowing a man to be taking this seat, taking the chair of a man and taking it away from a man.

She then goes on to Columbia and graduates, number one in her class. She then comes up with theories that no one had even conjured up before to argue that women should have equal protection under the law. And when they say a man should argue it, she goes and does it herself. And she wins five out of six times setting landmark law for this country.

She then goes to the Supreme Court, is respected across the land, becomes a cultural icon with her own hashtag—Notorious RBG—in her 80s. She never gave up and I am not going to give up on this democracy. Despite these false lies about the Democratic candidate for president. It is President Trump who chose to clear out peaceful protesters and wave a Bible in front of a church.

It is President Trump who after Charlottesville said there are two sides. Well, there's not two sides when one side is the Ku Klux Klan. It is President Trump who has put out there that military and soldiers should be at the voting places in a pure attempt to suppress the vote. So don't go telling the people this committee who know better, who is the divisive person, who is the one that has been inciting violence in this election.

And even if they don't believe us in this room, the American people have seen through it. That's why just today you saw nearly 500 military leaders join together—former military leaders—and civilian national security leaders, Republicans, Democrats and independents to say that they did not support this president, because they were afraid of what was happening to our country and our democracy.

So this hearing that we are about to have is about that very democracy. And so I don't think people really care about the fights we've had about this before. I think we missed a really important ingredient in what I've been hearing my colleagues say from across the aisle and that is people are voting right now.

They are voting on health care right now. The fact that we have a court case out of Texas that is coming up for oral argument on November 10th, in which yes, pre existing conditions are on the line because the argument was made that the whole Affordable Care Act should be thrown out. You cannot just fix that when you haven't been able to even take up the Heroes Act to do something about the pandemic. Yet, in fact, we see that we've got time to ram through a Supreme Court hearing in two weeks instead of spending those two weeks to actually take up the Heroes Act and hope the people of this country.

What else is on the line? Well, civil rights is on the line when you look at the decisions and all the money that has flowed into our politics from the outside as a result of this current court's decision that is dominated by nominees put forward by Republican presidents.

Women's rights. Oh, yeah, they are on the line and as those fires were blazing on the West Coast of our country, even the right to regulate our environment and do something to protect our air and water, that is on the line. So this hearing will not be divorced from what is happening right now because this president has put it right in the middle of a political campaign.

That's his choice, not our choice.

So, I don't see this as theater as you describe, Senator Cruz. I see this as the real world. I see this deeply personally because I know that we have a President in place that knew that this virus was deadly. He knew that it was airborne and yet my family, we were just trying to clean off the surfaces all the time and wash our hands. And then my husband ends up in the hospital with COVID on oxygen because this President didn't share with us the information he had at the time. All of that is going to be on the line.

So we will look at this nominee and we will look carefully at this nominee that is our job, but we cannot get away from the fact that the process that puts her before us will be one that is not respecting the democracy that we are supposed to cherish.

So I just—I have listened to this for too long and I think the American people see through this raw use of political power. That is why they're voting in droves. So if you think you can get away from this just by trying to get this nominee through and no one's going to notice what she stands for or what her views are and how that's going to play into decisions that are made that affect people's lives. They already know. They're voting now.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman."

Senator Klobuchar Has Had Enough youtu.be

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Cipolla's graph with the benefits and losses that an individual causes to him or herself and causes to others.

Have you ever known someone who was educated, well-spoken and curious, but had a real knack for making terrible decisions and bringing others down with them? These people are perplexing because we're trained to see them as intelligent, but their lives are a total mess.

On the other hand, have you ever met someone who may not have a formal education or be the best with words, but they live wisely and their actions uplift themselves and others?

In 1976, Italian economist Carlo Cipolla wrote a tongue-in-cheek essay called "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity" that provides a great framework for judging someone's real intelligence. Now, the term "stupid" isn't the most artful way of describing someone who lives unwisely, but in his essay Cipolla uses it in a lighthearted way.

Cipolla explains his theory of intelligence through five basic laws and a matrix that he believes applies to everyone.

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Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

'Tis the season to do weird things with pumpkins.

A few years ago, the midwives of the Royal Oldham hospital in England decided to illustrate the horrors of childbirth using the whimsy of Halloween pumpkin art. The maternity ward became a zone of terror, as the "dilation pumpkins" were lined up in ascendant order, matching how the cervix dilates during labor, from a harmless 1cm to a terrifying 10cm.

The first pumpkin looks adorably surprised. Nothing too scary about that, right? Kind of like it just had an unexpected visit from a cute puppy.

Then take a look at that last pumpkin, apparently at the optimum dilation for giving birth, mouth fully agape, with an expression that can't help but convey "OUCH!" No amount of fun googly eyes are gonna make that image less frightening. Yikes.

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Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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