It wasn't just Trump that got Congress to reverse its spectacularly shady ethics move.

On Jan. 2, just a few hours before new members of Congress were set to be sworn in, the House Republican caucus voted to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. The outcry was fierce and immediate.

Speaker Paul Ryan. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Critics blasted the secrecy of the move. Watchdog groups on both sides of the aisle expressed their disapproval. Democrats hammered Republicans for reversing themselves on President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to "drain the swamp."


The next morning, the caucus voted by unanimous consent to restore the original rules for the OCE.

Some attributed the turnaround to a series of critical tweets from Trump, which questioned the timing of the decision — without addressing whether the change was a good idea on the merits.

Trump referred to the watchdog committee's practices — which permit the public to register concerns about House members' potentially corrupt dealings — as "unfair." But he went on to suggest that the OCE shouldn't be Congress' top priority.

Just as critical to the effort to reverse the rule change, however, were the hundreds of critics on both sides of the aisle who urged ordinary people to speak out.

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch blasted the move as "shameful," "shady," and "corrupt."

Others urged citizens to call their representatives and provided resources...

...including the direct phone numbers of individual House members.

One North Carolina representative said his office was inundated with calls from constituents demanding the GOP reverse course.

Other congress members told reporters a similar story.

After the reversal, a congressman from Idaho said, "I could have told you last night when we left this would be undone," downplaying Trump's influence on the decision.

Democracy works best when people hold their elected representatives accountable for trying to sneak shady things past them.

Nerp! Sry. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

We voted for the Congress we voted for. That's not going to change for at least the next two years. But we can still do our best to let them know we're watching them, and that we vote.

Trump's tweets are shiny, so it's no wonder he's getting much of the credit for moving the needle. Mass public outcry, however, certainly didn't hurt when it came to getting this thing undone.

It's not terribly surprising that a bunch of Americans would be upset about their elected representatives trying to change the rules to make it easier for them to get away with sketchy, corrupt things. Perhaps more surprising is that those same members of Congress are listening to us when we tell them how pissed we are — even if they're doing it to preserve their own butts.

The lesson here?

Call. Call. Call. It can't hurt. And it could help make politics in America just a tiny bit more honest and transparent.

More
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Maverick Austin

Your first period is always a weird one. You know it's going to happen eventually, but you're not always expecting it. One day, everything is normal, then BAM. Puberty hits you in a way you can't ignore.

One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular