Exhale

There was always just enough virtue in this republic to save it; sometimes none to spare, but still enough to meet the emergency. ~President Abraham Lincoln, quoting his Secretary of State William Seward


I ugly cried on the beach on Friday.

The kind of heaving sobs that just roll out so quickly you can’t catch your breath and certainly can’t stop. And I didn’t stop – not for a good long while.

It was totally unexpected. As the days melded into one another after the election, it had become fairly clear that Biden would win (at least, it had become clear to me). So I was not terribly surprised to see the notice come across my phone that Biden was the projected winner.

But I was surprised to see, feel, and experience my reaction so physically.

Four years of anxiety, anger, fear, and rage bubbled up to the surface and overflowed in tears and sobs and hiccups. I stumbled to a chair on the deck of the lake house we took refuge in after the election, and I just put my head in my hands and let it all go.

The election, for all intents and purposes, was over.

I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, I said to my husband, who looked legitimately worried at my reaction. It’s been so long. (And then I cried some more.)

My phone lit up with elated texts from people I’m currently connected with and from others who had moved on (literally and figuratively) from the movement. It was a digital reunion that brought so many of us together again – celebrating a victory that was hard-fought and, as we can clearly see through our divided country, not complete.

Is this … joy? said one text. Others echoed. I can’t believe it’s almost over, said another.

I scrolled through my newsfeed to see videos of spontaneous dance parties in front of gas stations, in streets, in front of houses. I saw reports of church bells ringing in Paris and London, front page headlines in foreign newspapers reading “America Is Great Again,” and news clips from other countries welcoming Joe Biden warmly, calmly – even lovingly.

It’s as though the entire world exhaled.

I am proud to have been there when it happened, and to have played even a small role in the event. I hope you feel the same.

Of course I knew when I got the news that there would be work still left to do. I said as much, between sobs and snorts and sniffles.

And as I write this, I recognize that I personally waffle between elation and terror. Trump is predictably not accepting the results of the election and has the buy-in of Mitch McConnell, who would gleefully burn us all up to save his own power. Trump is also predictably selling off US assets to the highest bidders and firing anyone who gets in his way. As Sarah Kendzior aptly puts it, he’s the head of a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government – and is behaving as much.

Frankly, it’s beginning to feel as if we’re in the eye of the hurricane.

Even so, please. Bask in it. Take a victory lap. By God, you’ve earned it.

You’ve earned the joy, the peace, the pride, and the glory. The whole world is thanking you for what you have accomplished.

And if your elation and peace is tempered by knowing that two difficult months await us, you’ll be in good company. But we made it this far when pretty much everyone counted us out.

We won back the House in 2018 when “all the experts” said it was impossible.

We won back the White House despite massive voter suppression, Russian-style disinformation pushed by our own government, and a historic pandemic that we actually took seriously.

That’s no small feat.

Getting through the next two months might not be easy. But we’ll get through them the same way we got through the last four years.

Together.

Let’s join hands, and let’s get to work.

Actions for the Week of November 10, 2020

Tuesday: All Eyes On Georgia

On January 5, 2021, there will be two US Senate runoff elections in Georgia. Their outcome will determine whether Mitch McConnell retains his majority. To say they are “bet the country” elections is not an understatement.

There are many ways to plug in, and we’ll highlight more of those in the coming weeks. But first, if you are looking for a way to contribute financially to the campaigns, use our It Starts Today effort, which gets MORE funding directly to the campaigns:

www.itstarts.today/georgia-runoff

A few things about it. First, It Starts Today takes NO cut of the funds. Nada. Zip. Second, It Starts Today surcharges the processing fees, unlike others like ActBlue. That means MORE of your donation actually goes where you want it to go. Pretty important. Third, it goes directly to the candidates on a weekly basis.

We’ve already raised tens of thousands of dollars – but I want that to be hundreds of thousands. God know’s they’ll need it.

So join today! www.itstarts.today/georgia-runoff

Wednesday: Thinking Ahead to Your Action Plan

We’ve just gone through an election, and after such a massive effort it’s important to take some time to reflect. That might sound mushy and boring and all about feel-feels. It’s not. It’s an incredibly important part of improving upon tactics and creating more effective future plans.

So, this week take some real time to ask yourself the following questions. Please also do yourself a favor and write the answers down. You could either write yourself an email, or you could draft a 1-2 page summary document. Keep it short so it’s actionable and something you can refer to. The goal here is to document the things that are fresh in your mind now – and get your creative juices flowing for how to make the next cycle even better.

  • What worked really well?
  • What did not work that we expected to work?
  • What did we need more of on or around election day?
  • What did we say we wished we would have started earlier or amplified?
  • What was the biggest win? What was the biggest disappointment?
  • What volunteers or coworkers really impressed us? How can we work with them or help them in the future? (You can also ask yourself the inverse…)
  • What partnerships were particularly helpful? Why?
  • What partnerships did you wish you had created – or started earlier? How can you start those conversations now?
  • Where do you see yourself in two years? Where do you WANT to be in two years?
    • What needs to happen NEXT year for you to get where you want to be in two years?
    • What can you do in the next SIX MONTHS to further that goal?
    • What challenges do you foresee?
  • What goals do you have for your organization in the next two years?
    • What needs to happen NEXT year for your organization to get where it needs to be in two years?
    • What can you do in the next SIX MONTHS to further that goal?
    • What challenges do you foresee?
  • What electoral goals do you have for your community/region/state/country in the next two years?
    • What needs to happen NEXT year to make those goals realistic?
    • What can you do now, and in the next SIX MONTHS to facilitate those changes?
    • What challenges do you foresee?

I like to think of this as a mission statement or business plan for your next two years. If you sit down and really think through all of these questions, you’ll already have a good sense for what you can improve on in the next cycle, and a good blueprint for how and when to do the work.

That’s a lot to do, so we’ll leave the actions there for this week. Let me know how it goes! I’d love to see your ideas.

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.

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