When People Demand to See the Light

In the present circumstances, no one can afford to assume that someone else will solve their problems. Each one of us has a responsibility to help guide our global family in the right direction. Good wishes are not sufficient; we must become actively engaged. ~Dalai Lama

Friends, I know it’s dark right now.

It’s heavy. There’s a lowness – a gnawing “something’s not right” feeling that’s hard to shake. And then there’s the fear, and the rage, and the anxiety that bubble just underneath the surface.

But we humans have a powerful evolutionary tool to use when a cocktail of emotions like that is being hurled at us.

We can just … tune it out. Turn away. Ignore it. Stuff it down, down, down. Put it away, over and under so we can go on with our regular everyday cook-dinner-get-ready-for-work existence.

That makes it easier to survive. It’s a completely brilliant evolution.

But tuning out – checking out – ignoring – isn’t going to help us right now. In fact, it’s the one thing that will hurt us the most.

This past week I’ve seen so many heartfelt and optimistic posts from people – many of whom I respect deeply and love dearly – reminding us that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Reminding us that the American Experiment’s only constant is change, and that change is inevitable and the change for the better is on its way, just wait and see.

Those words are so lovely to hear – like a cool breeze on these hot days. It’s so comforting to think to ourselves, Change is coming – we just have to be patient. We just need to wait.

But, friends, change is not inevitable in the American Experiment. It is only inevitable when the people demand it.

The question isn’t whether there’s a bright light at the end of this long dark tunnel. There is such a light. It’s glorious. The question isn’t how dark the tunnel is (we can see that it’s pretty dark) or how long the road is (we know it’s far).

The question is whether we – whether you and I and her and him – will have the heart and the strength to keep trudging toward the light.

We cannot sit, stranded in the middle of this dark tunnel, and decide to save our energy by idly awaiting our salvation.

We cannot huddle against one another, with our hands shut up against our ears and our eyes tightly closed, imagining blue clouds and sunrises behind our closed eyelids while our feet remain mired in mud.

We cannot, we must not, pretend.

Things are bad.

It’s just a fact. I’m an optimistic realist, and I’m a big fan of the human heart and an even bigger fan of human resilience.

But none of that matters if we just sit in the tunnel.

We cannot escape that tunnel if we don’t constantly slog onward.

So rather than giving into our evolutionary tendency to ignore and wait, we need to act.

And our action items right now – right this very second and for every week from now until November – are crystal clear.

We. Need. To. Mobilize. On this first Tuesday in November, we need every single voter who believes in moving this country forward to go to the polls to take our country back.

There’s so much at stake. If we mobilize and vote, we can take back the House. And if we do that? Well…

If we take back the House, we can shine a light into the deep dark corners of the Trump administration – exposing not just their horrible actions, but the rotten souls within it that are even able to imagine something so inhumane as separating a breastfeeding child from her mother.

If we take back the House, we create our own wall – a firewall of true representatives of We the People – to stand between this administration and its wish list of racist, mysogynist, anti-worker, pro-top-1% laws.

If we take back the House, we send a message to the rest of the world that the American Experiment is not over. That it’s true that change is the only constant – and when the people demand it, our nation responds.

But we won’t take back the House if we sit in our tunnel, waiting for someone to come with the light we’ve been promised is so close at hand.

Change is inevitable – when we demand it.

But only if we demand it. Only if we really want it.

Only if we vote.

Let’s get to work.


Tuesday: Pod Save a Phone Call? (And Check that Registration!)

If you’re a fan of Pod Save America, do I have a great action for you! Host of PSA, Jon Favreau, will be having a teleconference TODAY to discuss ways to get involved between now and November 6. He’ll be joined by Organizing for America senior leadership. Sounds amazing, and a great way to get “plugged in.” Sign up here. 

Second – and especially if you live in Missouri where the registration deadline is tomorrow (Wednesday October 10) – check your registration. My neighbor, who has voted consistently in every election since she moved to Missouri two years ago, checked (because I pestered her) – and the Secretary of State didn’t have record of her registration. I know you’ve checked your registration before. Please, do it again. And this time take a screen shot, save it on your computer so you have it ready in case of election shenanigans.

Wednesday: Swing Into Action

Swing Left has been doing a bang-up job of activating volunteers in districts across the country. They aren’t focusing their efforts on every district – just on those they deem “swingable.” Still, there are quite a few districts on their list (over 80), and the chances that there’s one near you are really high.

You can go here to see what districts near you need help – there are many, many opportunities for canvassing and phone banking. Many of their opportunities are remote – so, for example, you can phone bank for Amy McGrath (candidate in Tennessee) from Missouri!

Thursday: Sign Up for Election Protection

The elections are obviously right around the corner, and that means it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to do (besides voting, of course) on election day. If you’re interested in helping with election protection by working at the polls, that’s great!

There are a variety of organizations (including your local Democratic party and candidates) that will be looking for people to man the polls. Here’s one national resource to help you find opportunities to help in your community: Election Protection (at https://electionprotection.wetheaction.org). It’s a non-partisan group that helps answer questions from voters of all stripes, and works to protect election integrity. It’s got opportunities for both lawyers and non-lawyers. Check it out!

Friday: Phone Bank for the ACLU

The ACLU has set up virtual phone banks for volunteers to call voters in favor of various ballot initiatives that will be on the ballot in November. This is another great way to get voters out to the polls and energized about specific issues, like voting rights. Head here for more information and to sign up. 


P.S.: If you want to help support this work (and help me “keep the lights on,” so to speak) you can do so:

via Patreon at

or via paypal at

My deepest gratitude in advance.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.

If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two.

If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!

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