If you are like me, you are feeling extremely anxious right now. Will voters be safe Tuesday? Are we going to win? When will we know? If we do win, how are Trump and his followers going to react?
As we fasten our seat belts for this wild ride, remember that we are all in this together. Take a moment to ponder with me your answer to one very important question —
What if we win? What if we take the Presidency, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House?
We must not think our work is finished. We must prepare to work even harder to bring about the change our country so desperately needs.
We’ve built an incredible network of grassroots advocates over the last four years, but we need to keep our eye on the prize.
We didn’t build our network to defeat Trump, and we didn’t build it to elect Democrats.
We built it to ensure everyone has healthcare and quality public education, from cradle to career.
We built it to enact environmental policies that reverse global warming and save our earth from harm.
We built it to pass gun safety laws, to close the income equality gap, and to bring about racial justice.
Don’t expect policy changes to happen quickly just because we elected candidates with “D”s after their names. We, the People – the ones who put our leaders in power – must lead our communities to progress.
And if we are loud enough, the leaders we elected will follow us.
We must push our leaders to act decisively and boldly. We have so much damage to our nation, our processes, and our people to repair.
First, we must communicate with our elected officials that now is not the time for status-quo. The Republican party has taken a chainsaw to our government, and we cannot allow them any further opportunities to destroy our democracy. We will not turn a blind eye nor compromise on issues critical to our survival.
Second, we must insist that our elected officials respond first to us, rather than the powerful corporate lobbyists who hang out in the halls of our Capitol.
Many pundits are estimating that we’ll only have a narrow window of two years to get our most important work done. History has shown that two years into a new administration, the House can shift back. The first year, we must restore trust, get the virus under control, and a vaccine rolled out. And to demonstrate the government can work for the People, we also must enact progressive economic policies to deal with the economic impact of the virus, like enacting a minimum living wage, no-interest small business loans for entrepreneurs, especially entrepreneurs of color who have been hit hard by the pandemic. We need bailouts for daycares, and subsidies for childcare for working parents and all caretakers, to allow everyone to get back to business. We need paid leave so workers can stay home when they are sick, or need to care for sick family members. And we need healthcare for everyone.
If We the People remain focused and active in civic life, we can help make sure our politicians do the work we need them to do now, and this will in turn help them get reelected. It will help us heal the rifts in our communities.
We know that some Trump supporters, who have believed every lie they have been told, will continue to feel fear, hatred, and anger if we win.
We cannot and will not tolerate hateful actions, threats, and violence.
We must also ignore the far right’s attempts to bait us. This may mean we walk past former friends, family members, and colleagues with whom we disagree vehemently, or who we feel have hurt us through their support for Trump.
We will have a job to do: we must work even harder than we did to win these elections. We must double down to promote and protect human rights, justice, and equality for everyone in our communities.
We will make sure our voices are louder than conspiracy theories, hate, and corporate interests. We will make sure our democracy stays a democracy that reflects the will of the People.
So first, make sure you and all your friends vote so that we have a chance at winning. Then, think about what you will do next to help us move forward if we win.