Success is achieved by ordinary people with extraordinary determination. ~Zig Ziglar
One of the most common sources of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. ~Napoleon Hill
Yesterday, I sat in a packed-to-capacity union hall, listening to former Missouri Senator, Claire McCaskill, who lost her seat in 2018 after an incredibly long and hard and expensive campaign.
It was the first crowd of Democrats she’d spoken to since November, and she seemed happy to see us.
But after a quick hello and a thank you, she surprised everyone by launching into a list of statistics, and data points, average donations and door knock numbers. She got deep deep down into the data that gets buried below the fold.
Because she wanted to prove to everyone in that packed union hall that the work we did in 2018 made a difference – even if it didn’t result in seats being flipped (it didn’t), or in her keeping her Senate seat (she didn’t).
Because, as she said, we need to see just how doable winning more elections is.
When all of us join in, think big, and work together.
And if you’re a regular here, you know that’s a recurring theme. The sheer power of our numbers and our passion – the power of all of us rowing in the same direction, from Manhattan to Maine to Missouri to Montana and everywhere in between.
When we all sing in unison we drown out everything else.
But the key, crucial, critical cant-do-it-without-it bit – is for everyone to join in.
And it’s way, way too easy to sit on the sidelines if you think that when you tried your hardest you didn’t make a difference.
We’re so very good at diminishing our influence by underestimating our power.
So to combat our internal self-doubt, Claire rattled off numbers, percentages, estimates and benchmarks. She compared 2018 to 2006, and 2012, and 2016 – rural areas, urban areas, ex-urban areas. The whole shebang.
The mood in the packed union hall lifted.
People nodded. Smiled. There was applause. Murmurs of “Oh, I didn’t know that….” “Hmmm.” “Wow, really?” “Well, how about that…”
She made sure every person in that room knew that the doors they knocked, the calls they made, the postcards they wrote and the texts they sent – they had a real impact.
That we mattered.
There was a passion in her voice, and as she looked out over the crowd she paused, and put one hand over the other and said “This is doable, guys. It really is doable.“
I’ll echo that.
Guys, it’s doable.
What, exactly, is doable?
All of it.
Sure, electing more responsible people is one of the doable things. But I’m talking so much bigger. I’m talking about making our world better, whatever that means to you. Whether it’s lifting up your neighbors, getting kids out of cages, saving the planet, gutting corruption, educating our children, supporting working families, protecting (and improving) access to healthcare, enacting common sense gun laws – doing all of the things that we need to do to save our democracy, our society … and our big, strong, squishy hearts.
It’s all possible.
It’s all doable.
How do I know?
Because I care. Deeply. And I know you care, just as deeply.
And I know literally MILLIONS of other people care just as much as we do.
Don’t forget that between 3 and 5 million people participated in the Women’s Marches across the United States in January 2017. 73.5 million people who voted in 2016 did not vote for Donald Trump. (And we know that some people who did vote for him will not vote for him again.)
Tens of millions of people disagree with what’s going on in this country and want to do something about it.
You are not alone. Not by a long shot.
We have the power of the people + momentum, and the good karma that comes with trying to build other people up. We have an entire world cheering us on!
The only thing that will stop us?
So, friends – quiet that little voice in your head that wonders if calling Congress matters, or if your postcard will be read, or if your little part in the Resistance has made a difference. It does. It will. And it already has.
You’re in good company. Let’s do this together.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of July 9
(Scroll down to the end for a new feature: some good news!)
Tuesday: A Simple Way to Help the Kids
I certainly don’t need to tell you that we have a crisis on the border. The more difficult thing has been to find a way to support all of the different organizations that are doing incredibly difficult, incredibly important work.
ActBlue Charities has set up a fund that splits donations among 14 different groups that are doing critical work at the border, including Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Al Otro Lado, and RAICES. If all of us chip in a little bit, we can help those organizations keep supporting and advocating for kids and families. Check it out here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/kidsattheborder
Wednesday: Want to Register Voters? Send Them a Letter!
Super interesting and exciting new project from Vote Forward, which – like Postcards to Voters – empowers grassroots folks like you and I to send somewhat personalized messages that encourage people to vote. Rather than postcards, however, Vote Forward uses letters that volunteers send.
This new project is incredibly interesting, because it encourages people to register to vote! Volunteers will be sending letters to unregistered folks in key states that include voter registration information. Learn more and sign up to send a few letters at www.votefwd.org
Thursday: Register for the National Network Assembly!
This August, a whole bunch of awesome grassroots organizers and movers and shakers will come together in Iowa for a series of workshops, sessions, and meetings to gain more skills to take home and do good stuff with. Plus, you’ll be able to meet some of the folks that you’ve come to know and love in person! Social media is great, but being social in person is even better. Check it out and register here: https://www.nationalnetworkassembly.org/
Friday: Show a Light for Liberty
There are events and vigils all over the country on Friday for Lights for Liberty. These vigils are visible protests of the inhumane treatment of asylum-seekers at the border. You can find your local event here: https://www.lightsforliberty.org/localevents
Last thing! A New Feature: Some Good Stuff!
I think we all could use a little good news, eh? Here are a few stories I read this week that made me smile. I thought I’d share.
Scientists find that planting a whole bunch of trees can save the planet. (Really!) Go get your shovel!
Police looking to reduce social isolation develop a “chat bench” for residents to sit at when they just want to say howdy. (Do you think your town could use one?)
In 1926, Poland gave the U.S. a “birthday card” signed by 5.5 million Polish residents – about 1/6 of the Polish population at the time. Apparently it came a little after July 4, but I think we can give them a pass on that, don’t you?