This OTYCD post originally appeared in August 2018. It’s been slightly edited to remove now-outdated information.
Believe It, You Matter, Part X: We May Not Get Everything We Want. Keep Fighting Anyway.
You might have noticed that people are pissed about the way things are going. You might be one of those pissed-off people. Team Trump and its shitshow of corruption, cruelty, and pro-bully tactics have spurred millions to do more to push back.
A fair number of registered Republicans–including some high-profile ones–have left the party and gone independent. Many folks who were never politically active stepped up after the November 2016 election. They went to protests for the first time in their lives. Same again for phone-banking, knocking on doors, donating to causes and candidates, and calling their members of Congress. A small but heroic number found the courage to run for office.
It is unprecedented. It is organic. It might be unique in the history of America. And it should continue as long as Team Trump keeps crazy-assing and the GOP keeps shirking its duties to check Team Trump’s fucked-up, hateful, hurtful actions.
But! While we are righteous, motivated, and strong, we could still lose.
Take the SCOTUS nomination battle over Kavanaugh. Team Trump and the GOP are determined to ram their choice through before the midterms. We don’t want that. But because Democratic Senators are in the minority, there’s only so much they can do to stop it.
But we could lose this one, and losing this one would be bad. People you love will be hurt by a SCOTUS dominated by hard-right judges. People you love could die as a result of a hard-right SCOTUS decision. You could lose your health insurance. Gerrymandering might get a yellow or green light. Voting rights might be curtailed. Parts of the Constitution that annoy evangelical Christians, greedy corporations, racists, and committed bullies could be muzzled and stomped upon. Democracy could be smothered.
The answer is to keep fighting. [Update: We did lose this one, and we kept fighting.]
The only way to stop the SCOTUS from being perverted by hard-right extremists is to elect Democrats to the Senate and keep electing Democrats to the Senate until there are enough of them to control the chamber. And once they control the chamber, you need to defend them so they can keep control of the chamber and stop hard-right extremists from getting on the court.
If Democrats controlled the Senate now, they could refuse any nominee who’s stupidly hard-right and continue to refuse until Team Trump puts forward an actual moderate. But they don’t, so they can’t. [Hint from 2020: This is why it’s just as important to push Mitch McConnell out of the Senate leadership as it is to defeat Trump.]
But if you curl into a ball and quit when the news of InJustice EvilJerk’s swearing-in breaks, we all lose.
Same again with the 2018 midterms. Things generally look good right now. But we won’t get absolutely everything we want. Simply from a mathematic standpoint, it’s unlikely that every Democrat wins and every Republican loses. There are too many races, at too many levels. There will be losses, and some of those losses might be tough. [2020 hindsight: There were some losses, and those losses sucked, but we did pretty damn well. The blue wave was real.]
Plus, there’s an elephant in the room (or, rather, the polling place). Having successfully messed with the 2016 elections, Russia’s hackers will be keen to try again in November 2018, and Team Trump has yet to order the National Security Agency (NSA) to take the steps needed to defend our country from those attacks.
Again, if you curl into a ball and quit when news breaks of, say, Iowa House Rep Steve King’s reelection, we all lose. [2020 hindsight: King was reelected, but not by much. We might be able to topple him this time around.]
Yes, rest. Yes, unplug. Yes, take time away. You are allowed to have fun. You are allowed to do things that make you happy. Heck, it’s vital. Drafting and sticking with a self-care routine is one of the most important things you can do.
Rest. Recharge. Frolic. Forget for a few hours or days, maybe even weeks. But come back. Always, always come back. We need you.
And hey, getting mad is OK, too. Crying is OK. Despairing is OK. Feeling the force of your emotions is OK! But come back. Always, always come back. We need you.
Trump will go, but you must not.