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, we’re living in a dark swirling tornado 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-go-to-work existence (if there is such a thing these days).
I used to call it “changing the channel.”
Just “changing the channel” and not thinking about … oh, the pandemic, the economy, the current POTUS, the election, the SCOTUS, the GOP’s attempts to suppress the vote … it 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 very thing that will hurt us the most.
But it is tempting, isn’t it? This past week I’ve seen so many heartfelt and optimistic posts from people – many of whom I love dearly: There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel! Think positive! Good vibes only! It could be worse!
There’s a term for that. Toxic Positivity.
Toxic positivity is when positivity and happiness are compulsively pushed, and authentic human emotional experiences (like anxiety, dread, anger, and rage) are denied, minimized, or invalidated.
Toxic positivity is always annoying, and it’s always harmful to your mental health – but right now, it’s also dangerous. Because it inspires inaction.
You know that quote – “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice?” Yeah – I hate to tell you, but that arc does not bend on its own. Improvement is not inevitable in the American Experiment. It is only inevitable when the people demand it.
The question isn’t whether there can be 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 been far, and we have a long way to go).
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 glittery eyelids … while our feet remain mired in mud.
We cannot, we must not, pretend.
Things. Are. Bad.
They are. 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. I firmly believe that you are the most powerful force in your life, and you’ve got so much more potential than you realize.
But none of that matters if you and I just sit in the tunnel.
Because 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 moment we have from now until November 3 – are crystal clear.
You know what we need to do. We need to vote. We need to protect other people who need to vote. We need to encourage despondent friends to vote, help people register to vote, educate people about voting. We need to preach democracy from the rooftops, constantly. Daily.
Because we won’t move forward if we sit in our tunnel, feet in the mud and head in the clouds, 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.
Actions for the Week of October 13, 2020
Tuesday: Say No To Barret
This week, rather than focusing attention on a global pandemic and the pain it – and the Trump administration’s mishandling of it – has wrought upon our country, Senate Republicans have teed up a vote to confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court.
Of course, you already know this.
This week we’ll hear from the GOP that she’s qualified and lovely, and that presuming that she’ll vote one way or another is speculation. Poppycock. We don’t need to even pretend to fall for this.
We know what they’re after, because they’ve been clear about it all along. Her confirmation is a serious threat to women’s autonomy and control over our bodies, and a whole host of other issues.
PUSH hard this week, folks. That does not mean we simmer down – it means we speak up. And with an election just a few weeks away, let this anger fuel you over the coming weeks.
Indivisible has a great series of actions you can take (calling, texting, and learning more). Go here to check it out –>https://savescotus.indivisible.org
Wednesday: Phone Bank a Super State!
Swing Left has started their final three weeks of action with virtual phone banks to “super states” – like Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin, but others too – like Maine and Iowa. You can join from anywhere, and help turn out voters in states with key races.
The election ENDS in three weeks, folks. Let’s do everything we can to GOTV in these key areas.
Head over to Swing Left here and choose your Super State: https://swingleft.org/p/super-states. You’ll find actions you can take from the comfort of your couch.
Thursday: Can You Spot The Troll?
Serious hat tip to Susan Rogan at http://www.roganslist.blogspot.com for including this in one of their daily actions. It’s a quiz you take where you try to determine if an account is real – or a fake troll account.
Guys, it’s actually pretty hard!
But the good news is that they point out how you can identify a fake. With all of the misinformation out there, it’s important for all of us to be media-aware. Check it out here, and share with your networks: https://spotthetroll.org/start
Friday: Get Out Those Marching Shoes!
Hard to believe it was almost four years ago, isn’t it? Yeah – time flies when you’re putting out fires…
This weekend, the Women’s March organizers are holding “socially distant actions across the country to send an unmistakable message about the fierce opposition to Trump and his agenda, including his attempt to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.”
Go here for a map of events. Note that some take place on Friday, so check before Friday morning! https://map.womensmarch.com/?eventType=oct-17-march
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!
P.P.S.: If you want to help support this work you can do so via Patreon at
https://www.patreon.com/smalldeedsdone or via paypal at https://www.paypal.me/smalldeeds
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.