An Unholy Anniversary, Part III

A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Individually, we sparkle. Together, we light the way. ~Me

November 8, 2016 will forever be etched in my brain.

I remember being surprised that I was so emotional about casting my vote for who I thought would be the first female president. I remember a big fat tear falling off of my eyelash as I filled in the little circle. I remember hugging a woman outside my polling place (much to her surprise) and saying “I can’t believe it! Can you believe it?” I remember her laughing, and nodding – two complete strangers sharing a moment celebrating a dream that would not come true.

And staying up that night watching the returns, I did a puzzle to keep myself occupied. “It’s going to be a quick night,” I told my husband. “She’ll probably win it in the first hour or two.”

The puzzle still sits, unfinished, in the cupboard it landed in that night. I still can’t look at it.

November 8 was gut wrenching, but November 9 hurt in an other-worldly way.

I woke (or rather, barely slept) in a fog. I couldn’t watch HRC in a purple suit talking to all the little girls.

My husband told me I should watch. I couldn’t. I just silently cried in my car as I tried to tell myself it wasn’t as bad as I knew it would be.

The months that followed were a cyclone of activity fueled by a cocktail of anxiety and disbelief. Pussy hats, protests in airports, jamming congressional phone lines, endless webinars and phone calls and popup groups.

Of course, that’s when I met you. And when many of you met me. And when many of you met each other.

And perhaps met a new part of yourself.

And just like any other birthday or anniversary, November 8 gives us a place to mark the year and assess our accomplishments and growth. It’s a good time for reflection – to look back, and look forward.

May I just say … wow.

We have come so very far.

As the fabric of our democracy has been stretched, so have we. We’ve met challenges with fortitude; we’ve taken our lumps – but kept going. It’s not been rosy. We knew it wouldn’t be.

But we have had more successes than anyone imagined. People scoffed when we said we could take back the House in 2018. (They aren’t laughing anymore.) We rewrote a lot of the rules about citizen engagement.

But now here we are. One year out from the most important election of our lives. Just think – one year from today, you’ll know who will live in the White House in 2021. You’ll either be celebrating, or you’ll be meeting me here for another pep talk. Those will be hard, dark, fearsome days, if they come.

And, sit down, friend. I need to remind you of something.

Those days might come.

I saw a poll a few days ago that showed a majority of registered voters – 56% – think Trump will be re-elected. 85% of Republicans, 51% of Independents – but just 35% of Democrats.

Just 35% of us see what a majority of the rest of the country sees – that a second Trump term is not out of the question. His defeat is not a foregone conclusion, no matter how many cruel policies he’s implemented, or lies he’s told, or corrupt actions he’s taken.

On the night of November 8, we all saw our foregone conclusion disintegrate in front of our eyes. The “early win” we expected for HRC devolved into a now three-year struggle.

Our collective mistake was in assuming that everyone else saw what we saw so clearly.

We simply cannot afford to make the same mistake twice.

So as we look at this benchmark – as we mark the year and celebrate our accomplishments and successes and all the electoral victories we’re having, let’s not get complacent.

Let’s not forget the night we sat, speechless, with a half-finished puzzle on the floor, hearing state after state being called for Donald Trump.

Let’s not forget our heaving sobs, the nights we woke with a start, the tearful explanations to children who asked why the bad man won.

We’ve worked too hard over the past three years to let this slip through our hands. We’re already 3/4 the way there.

Don’t stop now.

Let’s get to work.

Actions for the week of november 12, 2019

Tuesday: National Run for Office Day!

Has anyone asked you to run for office? You should! Today is National Run for Office Day – which is a completely made up holiday where you consider running for office and eat cupcakes.


Go check out the great resources that Run for Something puts together for this awesome holiday!

Wednesday: Join the Citizens Climate Lobby

Citizens Climate Lobby is a grassroots group that, as the name suggests, lobbies congress about climate issues. You can join their weekly introductory call any Wednesday at 8pm eastern (or you can hear a live webinar afterwards).

They’ve been working hard to lobby Congress to pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It’s not the Green New Deal, but it’s gotten a lot of traction – is bipartisan! – and would do a number of things to combat climate change. See if your Congressperson is a co-sponsor by clicking HERE.

Columbia University recently published a study about the EICDA (November 6) that shows a number of benefits. Check that out here:

Let’s open the conversation with our congresspeople to see why they’re supporting it, and if not, why not. What we need here is consistent pressure for them to work on climate change.

Thursday: Join Field Team 6 And Register Voters!

I’m always looking for super concrete actions for folks to take – and registering voters is one of my favorites. The more people we can encourage to go to the polls, the more people participate in our democracy.

If you’re ready to start registering voters, check out Field Team 6 (website HERE). They’ve been doing some super interesting work in specific flippable states (Maine, Pennsylvania and Arizona) but their tactics are useful everywhere. If you live in/near any of those states – or if you have friends there – check out Field Team 6’s events HERE.

Friday: Election Security – State Specific Priorities

Two great resources. While Mitch McConnell has been delaying any discussion of the federal election security measures, we can be working on our state and local election authorities to make our elections as secure as possible (even if we don’t have federal help).

Secure Our Vote ( is a group dedicated to election security, and they’ve got a super helpful map of election security priorities by state. You should look at it here:

But while the Secure Our Vote map is colorful and helpful to see where they think the priority should be, Defending Digital Democracy has published a series of three guidebooks for local and state election officials. It’s a best practices manual, from a bi-partisan group of election experts. You can read them HERE.

Read and share their playbooks with your local election authority. Find out what – if any – of the suggestions have already been implemented. And find out what you can do to help.


P.S.: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.

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!

P.P.S.: If you want to help support this work 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. Don’t you forget it.

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