Change is hard. And if you don’t fight for it, you can’t win. But change can happen. ~Elizabeth Warren
Democrats win when we figure out what is right and we get out there and fight for it. I am not afraid, and for Democrats to win, you can’t be afraid either.~Elizabeth Warren
I hung on her every word the day after the 2016 election. Sitting on my couch, straight-backed like a student in her contracts class, I watched with eyes that were red and sore from being soaked in tears all night.
She was on Rachel Maddow, I think.
And she didn’t mince words.
“It’s not good.” She said, matter-of-factly. She didn’t lie. Didn’t try to paper over the gaping portal to hell that election had just opened.
But in her own way, she comforted. She met fear with facts. She met hysteria with firm resolve. She reminded us not to give up, that we have to fight. That she’ll be there right alongside us.
And alongside us she has been. All this time.
When yet another old white man (in a long list of old white men) tried to silence her voice on the Senate floor, she kept going. She refused to be silent.
The response from the old white man? To complain that “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Nevertheless, she persisted became our rallying cry.
It is no secret that I love Elizabeth Warren. For a lot of reasons, frankly. Maybe because I love the fact that she did an interview with Rebecca Traister (amazing writer) while shortening the hem from a cardigan she got at Target. (Can’t you picture it?)
Maybe because she’s felt what it’s like to have an employer show you the door because you’re pregnant.
Or because she knows what it feels like to have to decide whether you can have a career when all of your child care options go “poof”. (Remember this post? https://smalldeedsdone.com/2019/07/30/a-flock-of-butterflies/)
Maybe because I know she’s been overlooked, underappreciated and undervalued – just like so many of us have been.
And she certainly knows what it feels like to be … invisible.
Because even while in third place in the election for the highest office in the land, Warren was erased from media coverage (they literally skipped over her name on the results board in one broadcast I saw) – just as many of us have been erased. Forgotten.
Counted out. Dismissed. Even though we’ve been out here toiling away, doing all of the things nobody thought possible. (Remember when ACA repeal was a foregone conclusion? Or that there was “no way” Democrats would retake the house in 2018?)
Meanwhile she – and we – are standing there, arms raised, pinching ourselves and screaming – can’t you see us?
Can’t you see everything we’ve done? Can’t you see what we’ve made possible? Don’t we have a voice?
Are we invisible?
But folks – perhaps we are invisible, if we can’t even see each other through the fog of our own self-doubt.
I really love her, but I just don’t know if she can win, I heard from one too many women. And that’s why I finally decided to be honest and up front with you about my support of Warren.
Friends, our collective imposter syndrome gets in our way, on occasion. And this is one of those times when our self-doubt becomes self-fulfilling prophesy.
Because Liz embodies everything we’ve been doing since 2016.
And frankly, she’s the embodiment … of us.
Strong, capable, smart and unrelenting.
But soft, thoughtful, considerate and inclusive.
Angry, righteous, powerful and demanding.
But open, supportive, comforting and empowering.
She is … all of us.
So hearing women profess their love for her – while simultaneously questioning whether she could win – was like hearing them count themselves out. To dismiss themselves. To question all of the work and the experience we’ve gained over the last three years.
We – you – are worth more than that.
So I was glad to see her debate-to-end-all-debate performances wake us all up from our self-defeatism. Since then, she’s raised over $15 million and she is surging. She’s now second in the polls. I’ve seen more tweets and facebook shares – liberty green profile photos and personal endorsements.
She’s got a ton of momentum.
And that makes me so happy. Because regardless of how the nomination shakes out, I’ll always associate her with our movement, and with this time in our history. Because from the Women’s March to the current day, she’s been at our side fighting for the country we want to live in.
And because on the night after the 2016 election when it felt like the lights had gone out all over the world, Liz was there. Not lying, or shading the truth. Being honest about the struggle we’d have but honest, too, about our ability.
I didn’t just feel comforted. I felt empowered.
She gave me hope.
We can do this, I thought.
And we have.
And we will.
After four years in the darkness, we need someone who can light the way. Someone with the sharpness and the softness we need.
For me, that’s Liz.
Now, let’s get to work.
Actions for the week of February 25, 2020
Tuesday: Encourage young People to vote
There’s a new book out – called Making Young Voters (written by the guy who put this deck together – CLICK HERE) As it turns out, young people aren’t uninterested in voting. It’s just harder for them to follow through. That message is underscored by Northwestern’s experience – because it has a practice of registering all students and making it easy for them to vote, it has a 64% turnout. (!!) (See the National Consortium on Student Voter Participation study HERE)
That’s why it’s so important to be doing everything we can now to register and educate new voters and turn them out when the election comes.
So check out the Campus Voting Project, (https://www.campusvoteproject.org/about) which empowers students with the information they need to register and vote. It’s got some AMAZING state student voter guides that lay out the registration deadlines, websites, and specific rules about registering at home or on campus (most allow you to register either at home or at school). Share those guides with your network, and encourage folks to share with people of college age. https://www.campusvoteproject.org/state-student-voting-guides
By doing so, you’ll be making it a heckuva lot easier for them to know what they need to do and when they need to do it.
But in the coming months we’ll be talking about very specific things you can do to help register young people. Get your thinking caps on folks! (And please share any actions and ideas with me so we can spread the word.)
Wednesday: Hamilton 2.0!
Nope, it’s not a sequel on Broadway. It’s an amazing tool to help you understand what’s going on in the social media (and media) ecosystem.
Hamilton 2.0 (https://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/hamilton-dashboard/) is a great tool we can use to fight back against disinformation.
Basically, it gives you a real-time summary of what is being promoted by the Russian government and state-funded media on Twitter, YouTube, RT, Facebook, etc.
Today, unsurprisingly, the story with the greatest engagement and shares is about Democrats resurrecting “Russiagate” to hurt both Trump and Sanders.
Using tools like this – and our own media literacy – we can improve our understanding of the spread of Russian government messaging. And folks? Right about now that’s super important.
Thursday: Vote at Home!
Vote At Home is an initiative to increase voter turnout by making it easier for folks to vote absentee. They have GREAT information about what you need in every state to … well … vote at home!
As you’re considering what projects you’re going to undertake this season, consider helping folks absentee vote. This website makes it *really* easy for you to see requirements in your state – and across the country.
Check out their website here: https://www.voteathome.org
Friday: Don’t Forget Vote Forward Letter Campaigns!
We’ve talked about Vote Forward before, but they’ve added a bunch of new projects – including one in Arizona that encourages folks to register to vote – so it’s worth revisiting.
With Vote Forward, you print a form letter – sign it – and send it to the address provided. You supply the stamp, the envelope, your time and your heart. It’s simple – and it’s been proven to be really effective in turning out voters. Go here to sign up for addresses: https://votefwd.org
WHEW! GO TEAM!
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!
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.