The Sestercentennialist: The Gates Open

"Loyalty to your country always, loyalty to your government when it deserves it." -Utah Philips 

The electoral college votes today, and while I've not given up hope for a miracle, it is exceedingly likely that our next president will be a horrifically unqualified disaster who lost the popular vote by leaps and bounds. Even if, somehow, another president is chosen, Republicans will still have majorities in both houses of Congress, and they've clearly signaled that they're coming for Medicare, Social Security, Roe v Wade. 

This is, obviously, not a good outcome. 

We progressives are going to be playing defense for the next couple years, and the hits are gonna keep on coming, and we're going to lose more than we win. This is going to be a very difficult time, especially for everyone who doesn't look like (or have orientations like) me. 

WE CAN NOT GIVE UP. WE CAN NOT GIVE IN. 

A: get REAL familiar with your congresspersons. You have three. Get to know their office staff, their aides. If they're on our side, call them often and cheer them on, let them know that you support them (or get on their case if they capitulate). If they're not, let them know, every time they cross you, that you're watching. If you have a particular expertise (especially if it's something on which you disagree with them), try to meet with them to explain the particulars (congresspersons are rarely experts in most fields, and are as such voting based on what they're told. Maybe you can be the one telling them). Know their schedule when they're not in Washington: if they give a town hall, be there, and bring as many like-minded people with you as you can. Don't ever let these people forget who they work for, and put a human face on the people they're trying to help (or hurt). 

B: Lather, rinse, repeat for state government, county government, city/town government. National politics is sexy. City Council affects you directly much more, and those elections can be swayed by 20 votes or less sometimes. Right now, Republicans hold an embarrassing majority in state houses, governorships, city governments. THERE ARE MORE OF US THAN THEM. They just took every chance we gave them. 

C: Start looking for challengers to the seats we want back. Find the best-looking (which, stupidly, matters), most well-spoken progressive in your town, and get them running for whatever is around. Find the second and third and fourth best, too. If you can't find a handsome, eloquent progressive in your district, get a good haircut and some public speaking lessons, and go start shaking hands and kissing babies. 

D: Talk to your neighbors, even the ones you disagree with. ESPECIALLY the ones you disagree with. Some of them are hopeless, admittedly. Some of them, though, probably just don't know, or never thought about the end result of Republican policies. Lots and lots of people were never taught critical thinking, so they literally don't have the tools to consider these things. Try to keep anger at bay (this is where I struggle the most). REALLY LISTEN when they tell you what they need. Try to find a progressive answer for those problems (there is one, unless they need "no more Mexicans" or "no more gays." There's not really a progressive position that fits that). 

E: White People: get your heads out of your asses. People who look different than you (or, again, have different orientations than you) HAVE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES, and those experiences ARE VALID EVEN IF YOU DON'T SEE THEM. When someone says there is institutional racism, THEY ARE NOT SAYING YOU ARE A RACIST. When someone says you have privilege, THEY ARE NOT SAYING YOU LEAD A PRIVILEGED LIFE OF BEING FED GRAPES BY SERVANTS. Open your mind to the possibility that someone sees the world differently, and is seen by the world differently. Embrace the differences, and stand up for those being oppressed, anywhere, because that's what being progressive (and/or Christian, and/or American, and/or HUMAN) is all about. 

F: VOTE. VOTE EVERY DAMN TIME. VOTE FOR EVERY DAMN OFFICE THAT'S AVAILABLE. Vote for the most progressive person available in the primaries and the most progressive person WHO COULD FEASIBLY WIN in the generals. You're gonna vote for a lot of losers. You're gonna hold your nose and vote for people you don't love. But two steps left, while not as good as four steps left, is better than five steps right. The electoral process is pretty busted right now, and I'm gonna probably write a crapload of blog posts about that over the next while, but. Baby steps are better than slamming a baby against a brick wall. 

Some days you're gonna feel like giving up. Some days you're gonna feel like giving in. 

Don't. 

Be strong when you can, and lean on each other when you can't. Look out for each other. Black, white, gay, straight, man, woman...American. We're in this together. 

THERE ARE MORE OF US THAN THEM, AND WE ARE RIGHT. 

The next few years are going to be hard. 

We're going to lose more than we win. 

Don't let them do it without a fight. Don't let them think they've won. 

"From this day to the ending of the world, 
But we in it shall be remembered- 
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers..." 
-Henry V

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