Coming to Terms With Change

We’re having a hard time coming to terms with what we’re dealing with here. This is a great power conflict, the third great power conflict in the European space in a little over a century. It’s the end of the existing world order. Our world is not going to be the same as it was before. ~Fiona Hill

We’re coming close to another New Year, so I spent a little time looking through the posts of the last few weeks, mentally cataloging what we’ve talked about lately.

I went back through the fall. Then the summer. Then the spring. And then Before.

That simple review crystallized for me the changes that we’ve experienced over the last year(s).

There is a certain … shift that’s happening.

It’s similar to the shift I felt after 9/11, although that shift happened catastrophically. It was obvious, because it was so sudden. Abrupt. One beautiful early fall morning life as you knew it ended. At breakfast you were in the Before.

By lunch you were in the After.

Life was never the same.

Other shifts we’ve lived through are less sudden, but no less obvious in hindsight.

The Trumpian/MAGA era – which began with a ride down a golden escalator – started in 2015 but is ongoing, although some claim that Trump’s stranglehold is loosening. Our politics will never be the same, though we often act as though it will be “if only we…”

The pandemic – which began with confused reports in China, then frantic news in Seattle and NYC, then solidarity and humanity, and now callousness and denial. It is ongoing, despite the collective cognitive dissonance to the contrary. Our daily lives will never be the same.

The war in Ukraine – which began with dismissal of Ukraine’s ability and overestimation of Putin’s might, then admiration of Ukrainian resolve, then horror over Russia’s war crimes, then open questioning of whether the US should protect an ally of ours against our most vile adversary. Now, there’s denial of the worldwide implications. As Fiona Hill recently explained, it’s the “end of the existing world order. Our world is not going to be the same as it was before.”

But you don’t hear that, do you?

Each of these “events” has changed the country we live in, the world that surrounds us, and how we live our lives.

So their similarity to 9/11 isn’t lost on me. I remember the morning of 9/11 well, with its robin’s egg-blue sky. I remember the feeling of the world slipping away just as I was gaining a toehold in it.

Generations after 9/11 look at the reactions to the 9/11 attacks with dismay. Shock.

It’s hard to understand if you didn’t live in the Before.

There wasn’t a generalized fear of your neighbor’s shoes on a plane. Frankly, there wasn’t the Generalized Fear that has become the background noise of society.

And immediately after 9/11 there was an urgent need to recover a feeling of normality. We went to kinetic war with *waves hands generally* in a desperate effort to go back to Before. Or at least try to.

That’s not much different than how people behave now. Folks walk around maskless pretending there’s not a pandemic because we so desperately want to go back to Before. People even refer to “the pandemic” in the past-tense.

(Friend, there is nothing about this pandemic that is past-tense.)

People urgently need to feel like Trump’s rise and the MAGA movement aren’t catastrophic for the country – even though they led to a literal insurrection. That urge is so strong that when Trump called to overthrow the Constitution over the weekend, it wasn’t considered “Breaking News.”

And when Republican Congresspeople refused to condemn Trump’s statement, news anchors didn’t immediately think to follow that up with “And tell me – how does that square with your vow to protect and defend the Constitution?”.

As for Ukraine and Putin, the media coverage of the war and its implications for global security, food access, and energy is meager at best. There’s been no serious discussion of how the world order is shifting. It feels like global denial.

Human beings will twist their brains in many directions to make life more palatable – or at least make it make sense. And sometimes that just means averting our eyes.

But you’re reading this, so I’m betting that you’re not looking away. That’s brave. Living through history is terrifying and fascinating and confusing, all at once, and in equal measures.

And, just as we can’t go back to 9/10, we can’t go back to pre-escalator 2015, or pre-pandemic 2019, or last January before Putin decided to invade.

But going forward – truly going forward (not sideways or diagonally) – requires accepting the change that’s happening around us. Accepting a new starting point, I suppose.

After all, you can’t really move forward from a place you’re pretending to be.

I truly wish we could have more certainty. With so much change, it’s hard to feel solid. And that makes it harder to come to terms with the implications of shifting ground.

But I am certain about one thing. We’re still standing side-by-side, just as we have been for years. Pushing, pulling, advocating, resisting.

I’m still here. You’re still here.

That’s remarkable.

And while I’d like to have more, that’s enough certainty for me right now. Thanks for keeping on.

Let’s get to work.

Actions for the Week of December 6, 2022

Last Chance Warnock GOTV Push!

It’s Election Day in GA, and the last day to help GOTV! Worried about the outcome? Believe it’s a BAD IDEA to elect someone who thoughtfully considers whether it’s better to be a werewolf or a vampire? (Oh dear….)

Take that energy and put it into action.

Here are some phone banks for Warnock that are happening RIGHT NOW:

Phone banks:

With Georgia Votes: https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/488467/

With Fair Fight: https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/543401/

With the DNC: https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/543693/

With Field Team 6: https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/543428/

Thursday: Join Me, David Pepper, and Luke Warford for a Blue Texas!

On Thursday at 7cst/8est I’ll be joining David Pepper (author of Laboratories of Autocracy and legendary twitter whiteboarder), Luke Warford (who ran for Texas Railroad Commissioner under the promise to Unf*ck the Grid), and Kim Allen – founder of Power the Vote – to launch Blue Texas.

Texas Republicans have been using a one-two punch of voter suppression and gerrymandering to get a stranglehold on the state legislature.

Blue Texas is our counterpunch.

It’s the expansion of our Every State Blue model – which uses the power of community to fund state legislative nominees using a “bathtub” model that gets funding first to the nominees who have the least. Doing so ensures that every race has some base level of support.

The goal is to make sure there’s a supported Democrat running in every state legislative race in the state.

We’re already running in Missouri and Ohio (www.BlueOhio.org) and have had huge success – with nominees telling us they were able to afford yard signs, postcards, and gas to reach voters because of our community.

But Blue Texas is a little different from our MO and OH projects.

Texas is the #1 toughest state to vote in the country. So, unlike our other projects where 100% of the funds go to the Democratic state legislative nominees after the primary, in Texas we’ve partnered with Power the Vote so that 1/2 of the funds go directly to voter protection immediately while the other 1/2 go to state legislative nominees after the primary.

Join our launch on Thursday at 7pm central, 8pm eastern. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEldOurrj8uGd1XS1KanOru5JeuxmqTGM0x

And please spread the word!

Not able to join? No worries. Register for the zoom, and you’ll get a copy of the recording.

And whether you can attend or not, I hope you’ll check out www.BlueTexas.org!

Tuesday: With Democrats Things Get Better

If you follow Simon Rosenberg on Twitter (@SimonWDC), you may have already seen his With Democrats Things Get Better presentation. (Actually, you may have seen it already even if you’re not a Twitter user.)

It’s an excellent deep dive into why – historically and in the present moment – Democrats drive opportunity and expansion when we’re in office. A great counter to the Republican false narrative that they’re better for business. They’re not.

Tuesday at noon central, 1pm eastern, Simon is going to give his WDTGB presentation, but with updates from the election. Sign up here to attend. In the past he has provided recordings – and I imagine he will do the same here. https://www.ndn.org/with-dems-things-dec%206-22

Represented by Republicans? Give them a call …

Over the weekend, Donald Trump called for an overthrow of the Constitution and installation of him as the president. Yes, we all expect egregious statements from him. But considering his history of inciting an insurrection, this is a pretty big deal.

But by and large, Republicans have failed to call him out on it. There are a few notable exceptions, but in general they shrug and say they will dutifully follow whomever is their Republican nominee.

Leaders, they are not.

So, it’s time to give any Republicans that represent you a call. Simple script this time, because it’s one question:

Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. Does Representative/Senator support Donald Trump, or the Constitution? After this weekend, it can’t be both. Donald Trump’s anti-American statements this weekend call for a response from every member of the Republican caucus. What is the Senator/Congress(wo)mans?

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.

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