I know that a few of you blog readers get the weekly action newsletter I do for my local chapter of the grassroots Indivisible movement. For those who don’t, this is how I started the email version of this week’s newsletter.
CREATE THE MOVEMENT. DON’T WAIT FOR THE MOVEMENT.
At another resistance group’s meeting, I was asked by a first-time attendee, “Where are the crowds? Where are the millions marching in the streets?” So I asked if she could join me a rally over the weekend. She said she was unavailable that day, and didn’t ask for any other options. This is a common response. I understand. We are all busy. We all have enormous responsibilities. No one can make every phone call or go to every meeting, march, or rally. But we each have to do whatever we are capable of doing. If we all insist that millions of other people take to the streets before we join in, we will be sitting on the sidelines watching our democracy collapse. As citizens, we must contribute in any way we can, whenever we can. It is our responsibility for CREATE a movement, rather than WAIT for others to do the work for us. We ARE the millions.
Tonight’s election of Doug Jones, Alabama’s first Democratic senator since the mid-1990s, proves my point: We as individuals can and must embrace our civic responsibilities and do everything in our capacity to cause positive change. We have to push ahead even when our actions seem, as the New York Times might say, “quixotic.” Fortunately, none of us is the fictional Don Quixote, trapped in a novel, tilting hopelessly at windmills, and destined to end as the author Cervantes wishes. No societal condition is immutable to the point where it shouldn’t be challenged, even if it has to be challenged again and again and again. We simply can’t afford to give up and there’s no reason we should. Look at what happened tonight, despite gerrymandering and voter suppression aimed at African-Americans. It’s true that doing whatever you can whenever you can might mean that you sometimes find yourself in a group of 15 people outside your senator’s office rather than in a crowd of 500,000. All that means is that you’re leading, not following, in that moment. Give yourself credit for being a leader and keep fucking leading.
A personal shout-out and gold star for leadership goes to my right-hand woman Eryn, who splits her time between New York and Alabama. She’s been working hard for the Doug Jones campaign. She was canvassing again this morning — she figures she knocked on another 50 doors today — and that’s a small portion of what she’s done.
Sometimes we get caught up in being perfect on social media. Today wasn’t perfect or pretty – we knocked on a lot of doors that were very spread out. But I couldn’t be more thankful for the win or the people who made it happen. To you swing states who aren’t sure where we stand after the last national election: your efforts matter. Call you friends, call your neighbors, don’t take democracy for granted. We just turned a red seat blue. #thefutureisfemale
Yep, at Wendy Brandes Jewelry, you get days off to help save democracy. I’ve been at more than one protest where people (usually, but not always, white men) walk by and sneer that we must not have jobs. But we do have jobs. It just so happens that fixing what’s wrong in this country is one of them.