Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions. ~Albert Einstein
Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and you create what you will. ~George Bernard Shaw
There’s no sugarcoating it: right now, we’re in triage mode.
Every night there’s a new death count. Every afternoon a new terrible awful. Every morning a new tweet. Every hour, a new revelation – another bombshell to process.
For the past four years (or more), we’ve been working our tails off to elect people who are willing to work for constituents instead of catering to whomever can provide the thickest padding for their pockets.
For the past six months (or more), we’ve been trying to keep people healthy in the middle of a pandemic, when the most infectious thing around seems to be the GOP’s misinformation.
Also, we’re trying to actually live our lives, feed our families, and do the work that we’d do if the country wasn’t falling apart at the seams.
It’s a busy time, no?
When you’re already sprinting, it’s easy to get stuck in the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other mode, and not take a moment to step back and think about what we’re working for.
I realized that the other night, when my husband and I were on a walk. He shook his head. “We had eight years of Obama. I really don’t remember much of anything going on then.”
“That’s because the government was, you know, working.” I replied. “I mean, there were some things that were clearly broken, and there were some things I wish they’d done differently, but generally speaking the government hummed along. You don’t remember much because it was pretty quiet.”
He paused for a second. “I miss that.”
I do, too. I bet you feel the same. So after we got back from our walk, I indulged myself in a bit of day-dreaming – dreaming about what our country could be like if … when …
When the people that should be in office… are in office. When we can throw off this dark cloud and finally stand in the sunshine, arm in arm, nodding and saying “Well, look at that. Sonofa[bleep]. We really did it.”
What does that look country like, for you?
For me, it means a country where we can believe what the government says again. Where we know the people in positions of authority are there because they’re capable. Where policy priorities are priorities because they help people – not the President. Where our elected officials have the honor – and the courage – to stand up for people and principles. Where we recognize the original sin of our country, and see the pursuit of racial justice as the truly American concept it is.
Where life is valued. Where someone’s personal inconvenience isn’t considered more important than another person’s life. Where people don’t have to go to GoFundMe to beg for money for lifesaving healthcare. Where people who spend months in a hospital don’t have to curse their survival because now they’ll be penniless. Where people who have children with complex medical issues – or with “simple” ones like diabetes and autism – don’t have to battle insurance companies every month, or pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to get the best care for their child… every single year of their lives.
Where an educational system is truly public, and truly meant for the benefit of all of us, not just for the kids of the most powerful. Where kids are able to get a good, quality, safe education in any neighborhood in any zip code. Where kids of all abilities are able to find the services that they need to be the most productive and best people they can be – in any school district in the country. Where students aren’t so saddled with debt that they can’t even envision their future, let alone muster the energy to go out and grab it.
It means a country where you don’t have to worry that you’ll get shot if you go to the grocery store. Or a concert. Or your kid’s school play. Or your backyard.
It means a country where your retirement years are spent calling grandkids and planning trips, not scrimping and saving and shutting off the heat in March so that you can afford your monthly medications. Where you don’t have to make gut wrenching decisions between health and financial security – do you blow through your savings to get the chemo you need to live a few months longer …. or do you die sooner and leave your family with a roof over their heads?
It means a country that looks out for all of us. Not just some of us.
But for far too long, only “some of us” – the wealthy and powerful – participated in our government. And they slowly and methodically created the system that works for them.
They’ve been eating away at our country from the inside, like hordes of hungry termites – weakening the very foundation we stand on. With every year the damage grew, the rot spread – and our footing weakened. The damage that was once invisible is now obvious, and we’ve come to a breaking point.
Now it’s clear what we need to shore up, and what we need to build anew. But to do the rebuilding, we need vision. We need… imagination.
Can we change the direction things are going in? Yes, almost certainly. But for our vision of what our country could be to become reality, all of us need to participate.
And all of us need to dream.
We’re so used to seeing a broken system hobble along (yes, even during the Obama years), that we just seem to think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s not. It shouldn’t be. It doesn’t have to be.
Case in point – before the ACA, being denied insurance coverage because you had a pre-existing condition was “just the way it is.”
It was “just the way it is” until we changed it.
We can have big dreams. And working together, we can make those dreams reality.
So get out there and dream about the world that you want to create.
And then let’s work together to make those dreams come true.
Our first step? Win the White House, flip the Senate, and keep the House in November 2020.
Big ask? Mmm. Maybe. But I have faith we can do it.
So let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of September 29, 2020
Tuesday: Envoys For Humanity
It’s time to get crafty, folks! Envoys For Humanity “is a supportive community of volunteers and organizations working to effect change through political and issues-based organizing, collaborating and community building.” It has a fantastic postcard opportunity to reach out to people who have been purged from the voter rolls in North Carolina. I signed up to get some postcard names – and after they did a quick profile check (which I appreciated) I heard back (from a real human!) in short order. It’s a great, friendly organization that’s doing wonderful things.
AND they have these kicky fun virtual events! So if postcarding is often a solitary affair for you and you’re getting a little stir crazy, consider their virtual events (https://www.envoysforhumanity.org/virtual-events). They host virtual post carding parties, feature artists that perform during the zoom meeting, present great documentaries… the list goes on. FABULOUS idea and I’m 100% on board.
So head over here and sign up to send some postcards to folks who need to check their registration (and vote!) in NC. Tell them Small Deeds sent you! –> https://www.envoysforhumanity.org/postcarding
Wednesday: Three States: One Mission
This project by Indivisible Chicago focuses on some key midwestern states: Wisconsin and Michigan. While Biden’s lead in those states is steady, we need to keep it where it is. That means keeping up the outreach, and the pressure.
There are phone and text bank events for those states – and also for Iowa, which has just emerged as a new target. (!!) Head over to their website for more information and to sign up for an event: https://www.indivisiblechicago.com/three-states-one-mission
Thursday: Sign Up With Lincoln Project – Postcarding in Arizona
You have most likely heard of The Lincoln Project – a group of Republican strategists and smart thinkers who are focused on turfing Trump out of office. These guys are good, and although I recognize they won’t be playing on Team Democrat after the election, I’m excited about what they’ve built in pretty short order. They’ve got a number of projects, including post carding … In Arizona!
Best part? You can sign up for postcards – and they’ll send you a packet of 50-100 pre-stamped, pre-written postcards. You just write a short note to the recipient, and pop them in the mail. Simple!
Friday: Sign Up to Text Bank For Democratic Senate Nominees!
Wow – what a wonderful resource: a list of every Democratic nominee for Senate’s text banking opportunities. If you’ve been angry about how red state Senators are treating RGB’s death and the Supreme Court fight that’s ensued, use that as fuel to help flip the Senate back to Democrats.
As you know, texting can be done from your couch (or dining room table, or backyard, whatevs). So it’s a simple way to participate and pitch in.
Head over here for that amazing list of text banks: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ids7CXignyhcvfy5UI0tpFs4Xe-AjWGY9T4g_mrezdc/edit?fbclid=IwAR3uhUkpw71GZOtrIlhuQHUI3prGybnC7Ki1GMlHL6cUM4PeEPXzJO7m7-g
Also Friday: Help Educate Voters – As Part of Team Biden!
This is a great initiative by the Biden campaign. You can volunteer on the National Voter Assistance Hotline to help protect the right to vote. As a volunteer you will provide voters with guidance on who, what, where, when and how to vote. Once you sign up, we will follow up to provide a brief training on how to get you involved. Sign up here –> https://go.joebiden.com/page/s/Voter-Protection-National-Hotline?fbclid=IwAR2KO3ztgdeSO7NRe8FcOY5JgyEB4seBhgVW5pXFU0ykLL_H9kPZXpvvTaI
WHEW! GO, TEAM! SUPER PROUD OF YOU!
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.