Dominate the Vote

whip your voting plan into shape and join us for #SpookyChat

ROCK PAPER RADIO is a dispatch for misfits & unlikely optimists by your favorite hapa haole, beet-pickling, public radio nerd. It’s a weekly email newsletter that shares three curiosities every Thursday - something to hold on to, something to read, and something to listen to. Themes include but are not limited to: rebel violinists, immortal jellyfish, revolution. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word.
Detail of art by Amber Harris for This week we’ve been sharing images from the project with little poems to inspire and enrage on Instagram @RockPaperRadio.


We all know that not all heroes wear capes, but perhaps you didn’t know that there’s a revolutionary among us doing democracy’s good work in a leather bustier and platform stilettos.

Meet Empress Delfina, the Dominatrix Forcing Trump Supporters to Vote Biden. In this highly entertaining profile by Michael Ellsberg for The Daily Beast, we are introduced to a politically-minded entrepreneur who is paying her bills through offering a service she calls “Trump Conversion Therapy.” Here’s what she says about what happens in her sessions, and how college prepared her for this important civic engagement:

“Maybe half the guys just want to argue. They’re not open to getting converted at all. They just call to start berating my liberal politics. And I’m like, “Hey, if you want to pay me $1.99 a minute to argue with me, go right ahead. You’re not getting anywhere with me, and I’m happy to profit off your stupidity—just like your leader did.” But the other half—the half I care about—is actually open to being persuaded. Many of them see what Trump has become, what he’s done, and regret their vote. So I tell them, “I can help you. You’ve been brainwashed. I can deprogram you.” I studied cults in college, and when I saw Trump and his rallies, I thought, “This is just what cult leaders do.” So his followers need to be deprogrammed, just as if they’d been in a cult—because they have.

Enjoy and be inspired!


The Xenophobe in Chief may have failed to deliver the symbolic wall he promised Mexico would pay for, but he did succeed at furthering his hateful agenda in other ways that have had a real impact on the lives of actual human beings. Since its implementation less than two years ago, the Trump administration’s “Migrant Protection Protocol” asylum policy* has resulted in the forcing of over 60,000 asylum seekers—including over 16,000 children—back to the exact places they were feeling because their lives were in danger.

In this 21-minute This American Life act from reporter Molly O’Toole, Goodbye, Stranger, we hear from asylum officers Ursula, Ann, and Doug. Because they’re afraid of retaliation, the women use pseudonyms and actors voice their clips, but for all three of them, the moral reckoning with their jobs after the implementation of the policy is real.

In addition to exposing the cruelty of this policy, the story also serves as a grave reminder that good people have a long history of doing vile things in the name of following orders.

This story won a Pulitzer for audio journalism.


If you’re struggling to wordsmith the perfect Facebook caption to convince your apathetic friend to color in their ballot for Biden/Harris and stuff that sucker into a ballot box (but not the mail) before November 3, perhaps one of these free images from the artists of could be of use—no caption needed.

Since June, the creatives behind iam8bit have been calling for designers to express their feelings on our current administration through patriotic square-shaped art. And bless our pandemic-crushed artists, for they have delivered. The only stipulation? All works must contain a certain concise phrase, and must be made available for the public to download and share for free. Our cover image for this week’s issue is a detail from a work by Amber Harris for the project.

Share away, activists! (And be sure to credit the artist when you do.)



That’s a wrap for issue 14. Thanks for reading, listening, holding on, my unlikely optimist crew. The next time I email you Election Day will have come and gone and we’ll all be feeling…something. I don’t know what that feeling will be, but whatever it is I’m certain we’ll all be feeling it strongly, together.

Until then, hang in there and don’t check Twitter too much—except for tomorrow, Friday, 10/30, you should definitely join us for #SpookyChat at 2pm PST / 5pm PST. I’ll be there with my KUOW Public Radio hat on. We’ll be tweeting about scary things like the election and 2020 Halloween costumes (I’m going as our education system).

Don’t know what a Twitter chat is? Here’s a quick FAQ, but it basically works like this: find @KUOWengage on Twitter, log on at 2pm PST and search for #SpookyChat, respond to our questions with all of your hopes/fears/internet jokes, and press that little red heart when someone tweets something that makes you feel like a little less of a misfit in the world.

Take care of yourself, friends. See you tomorrow in our chat.


*Last week, on Oct 19, the Supreme Court agreed to review MPP following accusations that it is not just immoral, but illegal. According to The New York Times, this case will likely not be heard until February 2021, and could be moot if Biden is elected and the policy is revoked.

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