Ask yourself: Can I give more? The answer is usually yes. ~Paul Tergat, Kenyan Professional Marathoner
Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. ~Lyndon B. Johnson
Do you know what a “fast finish” is?
It’s a term for saving a wee bit of energy to use to during that last bit of road right before the finish line. It’s exhilarating to end a race sprinting down a chute – spectators screaming for you as you pass by this runner and that one, crossing the finish line just as you expend that last bit of juice. (At least, that’s the goal.)
The tricky thing is timing it just right.
If you start your sprint too soon, you’ll fade and break down before you hit the finish line.
If you start too late, you’ll have left something on the table. You won’t have reached your potential.
The goal is to be able to run full speed through the tape, with nothing left at the end.
It’s a delicate balance.
It’s a balance that we need to strike now, too. We’re almost at the end of a two-year, 24-month marathon. (Some would say 7-year marathon, and I would not quibble with that.)
We started with a bang, and we’ve been logging miles ever since. Sometimes it felt like it was never going to end. Sometimes the miles just flew by. All along the way we’ve met folks, made friends, met goals and made new ones.
But here we are – we can see the finish just up ahead. On the other side of that line is a cool sip of water and a place to rest in the shade. Right now we’re still on hot pavement, overtired and dehydrated, cranky and hungry and damn ready to get off our feet already.
It’s time to start the sprint.
I know that you’re feeling the impact of these many months and miles. You’ve knocked doors and made calls and written postcards and attended marches … and it all feels like so much. How much farther? How can we keep going? Can’t we just stop and rest for a moment? Nobody else is working so hard!
But take a second now, and look behind you. I want you to see something.
Do you see all those miles that you traveled? Do you see all the places where you kept going, even when you thought you couldn’t? When you got bored, and busy, and distracted – but kept going? Do you remember that time when you fell over, and someone helped you up? And that other time when you helped someone else who was falling behind?
Look at all that you’ve accomplished already.
You’ve come so far. So very, very far.
We’re almost there. You can see the finish line. Now is not the time to slow down.
Now is the time to look ahead, to the faces of the people on the other side of the finish line.
The friends and neighbors that you’ve been working for. Your best friend with cancer; your friend’s son with anxiety. Your kids – who at dinner one night proudly described how very quiet they are during active shooter drills.
The grandmother who depends upon medicare and social security. The baby just born that will struggle with the impact of climate change his entire life.
And the baby just born that has fewer rights than her grandmother had.
The people whose voting rights have been curtailed by ridiculous “voter ID” laws. Others whose votes have been diluted by gerrymandering. Others who will have to stand in purposefully long lines to cast their vote.
There is so much riding on us finishing this race – this election – as strong as we possibly can.
There are so many people – real, actual people – whose lives will change (for better or for worse) depending upon whether Democrats hold the House or not. Whether we hold the Senate or not.
And whether we do those things – both of which are in our power to do – is dependent upon our actions in these closing weeks.
There is enough time to kick it into high gear and have a ridiculously fast finish, friend. But only just enough time.
So as we go into these final few weeks, and you’re feeling annoyed and tired, under-resourced and over-stressed… keep this in mind:
You’re not running this race for yourself.
You’re not even running this race for a candidate.
You’re running this race for the people you love. And for people whose lives and future depend upon the outcome on November 8.
They’re cheering you on. I’m cheering you on.
Run through the tape.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of October 4, 2022
Vote Early (And Get Three Friends to Vote Early, Too!)
If you have the option to vote during a designated early vote period (or via a no-excuse absentee period like Missouri just adopted) but hold off because you just love to vote on Election Day, I’d like to encourage you to get out and vote as soon as you can. (In Missouri, that will be the two week-long no-excuse period that begins October 25.)
Here’s why: campaigns spend A LOT of time and resources encouraging you to vote. If you vote early, they no longer have to spend that time and energy on you! Of course, they won’t know how you voted, but will know that you voted. So they don’t have to call/text/knock to turn you out.
So you’re saving them time and money – the two resources that are hardest to come by in a campaign. It’s almost like donating, if you think about it.
You’re also making lines shorter on election day, and making it easier for election administrators to tally the vote timely.
It’s really a huge win for everyone. As an added bonus, it frees up time for you on Election Day to help turn out others.
So make a plan to vote as soon as possible. Pass it on!
Join the Environmental Voter Project This Friday:
From Jessica Craven of Chop Wood, Carry Water: You’ve heard me sing the praises of the Environmental Voter Project repeatedly. Have you ever wanted to learn more about how they target voters, or the messaging they use, or their results? Or maybe you want to introduce EVP to a friend?
This is your opportunity. All are welcome to join their Introduction to the Environmental Voter Project webinar this Friday, Oct. 7th at 12pm ET.
I really, really love this organization. They’re using tried and data-tested techniques to get out a critical and often ignored segment of the electorate. They’re well worth following, volunteering for, and supporting.
Bonus action: sign up for Jessica’s substack! –> https://chopwoodcarrywaterdailyactions.substack.com/p/chop-wood-carry-water-104-a88?r=2ptzp&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
Tonight (Tuesday) Learn How to Intervene, Safely
This is a super interesting event, hosted by Red Wine & Blue. I’ve stepped into situations where a woman was being hounded/harassed by someone in a public space, but was never sure if how I did so was the right approach. (FWIW, I just looked at the woman and said “Oh my gosh! I’m so glad to see you! How have you BEEN!?!” and then pulled her aside like we were old friends. It worked in both instances, and the harasser just walked on by, but I’d love an expert’s take on best practices.) In tonight’s event, Right to Be will give us allies tools and strategies. From the event description:
We all want to be able to interact in public without being harassed or intimated by others. This is true whether we are speaking up at school board meetings or just doing our grocery shopping. Want to learn the steps to take when you see someone being harassed and how they can apply to your own personal safety? Join us to hear from Right To Be, an organization dedicated to fighting street harassment and training on intervention techniques.
Sign up here: https://secure.everyaction.com/L2YXe9riW0-nXFpRI0az3A2?utm_campaign=Event-Build&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social+&utm_content=sweep-salon
Saturday: How to Have Meaningful Conversations With High-Potential Voters (h/t again to Jessica Craven!)
In 2020, 34% of eligible voters didn’t vote. In this training, You and the 34%: How to Have Meaningful Conversations with High-Potential Voters: An interactive virtual zoom presentation, you’ll learn how to make “I don’t vote” the beginning of the conversation, not the end. Dr. Jacqueline Tulsky and Elizabeth Chur share stories of success, and give you tools drawn from Motivational Interviewing to help you draw out “high-potential voters,” elicit their desires for change, and turn them into voters. Whether you’re new to canvassing and phone-banking or have been doing it for years, this interactive training is designed for you.
Please join and bring a friend (or three!). Take it from a recent attendee who raved: “Superb. I have been to a lot of meetings and training in 53 years as an activist, but this might have been the most useful.”
Jacqueline Tulsky, MD, an HIV primary care and addiction medicine specialist and Motivational Interviewing trainer.
Elizabeth Chur, an experienced phone banker and canvasser who trained hundreds of volunteers in 2020 through Swing Left San Francisco. Her workshops have included Phone Bank Training for Introverts and Spanish for Phone Banking.
Saturday, 12-2pm Pacific. (That’s 3-5pm eastern) Sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/defend-democracy/event/519654/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email
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!
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 email! We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.