I spent Thursday morning and five hours yesterday going from Capitol to Senate to Supreme Court. I took the tunnel from Dirksen to Russell twice and was even admonished for inadvertently finding my way to the Senate subway in some subterranean space. With two friends, I visited the offices of Senators Leahy, Feinstein, Collins, Corker, Murkowski, Flake, Manchin, Cruz, and more. I wrote notes to almost all of them, left a not-in-your-fan club note in Cruz’s guest book, and spoke my mind politely but very firmly in front of a crowd in Manchin’s office. I was interviewed by NPR, Splinter, and Arizona PBS, and the only reason I share any of this is because none of it seems to have mattered. But I still think it does.
For way too long, I and so many of us have taken democracy for granted. It’s what America is, right? No. It’s what America can be if enough of us fight for that. Right now, we’re fast luges on an icy decline to an authoritarian state run by white Christian men (and not a few women) of the GOP. That would NEVER be a country that represents me or my husband or my children or most people I know and love. And, as such, it is unjust and intolerable to me.
Yesterday at the Senate, I heard a rape victim share her story as well as the fact that in doing so earlier that morning, she had been laughed at -laughed at to her face!- by a group wearing Women For Kavanaugh and I’m With Brett shirts. The cruelty in that renders me speechless. I am still speechless.
And today, when I listened to the roll call of senators casting votes for Kavanaugh, I wasn’t surprised but I was crushed.
I know that so many of us feel hopeless. That we should just give up. But to do so is to abdicate our democratic duties. To do so is to prove the naysayers’ point that democracy is but an idealistic figment, a farce.
If all I witnessed yesterday and Thursday and last week and all the days I’ve protested and marched and rallied and called and canvassed is any indication, democracy is tenuous but worth desperately fighting for. There are so many of us out there demanding change. What needs to happen now is that ALL OF US VOTE. Change can happen only if we storm the voting booths and make our voices heard.
Yes to every doubt you’ll likely raise: gerrymandering, voter suppression, cheating, PACs and other dark money, toxic everything, politicians who only care about their own positions of power.
But also: the rising tide of furious women who will not go back to anything except what we choose to; folks like Beto O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams and Jacky Rosen and Jahana Hayes; the people who have already done what everyone said they couldn’t (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example); the people who will (whoever runs against Susan fucking Collins).
We saw in the Senate signs I never thought I’d see (see photos) and met so many staffers who thanked us and thanked us some more for being there. One of my dear friends flew in on the red eye from Portland so she could protest all day Friday. Another dear friend essentially moved onto the Capitol steps last week and may finally return home tonight.
All of us, regardless of what side you’re on, deserve better than what we’re getting. We deserve better than mealy-mouthed cowards (like Jeff Flake whose office door we found locked on Friday) and Lisa Murkowski who talked a big game but pulled her vote today because “Gaines would vote Aye if he were here so our votes would cancel each others out anyway.” We deserve better than old pissy white men like Grassley, Hatch, and Graham, who never bothered to take Dr. Ford or the FBI “investigation” remotely seriously but instead impeded both at every turn and in every way. We deserve better than the two-bit cheating imbecile who is our “president.” And we certainly deserve better than the angry liar who was just given what is arguably the largest honor with the greatest amount of sway in our country: a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
We have FOUR AND A HALF WEEKS until the midterms. How will you spend your time?
If you care at all about our democracy, you will do everything in your power to register and get people to vote. You will make calls, write postcards, knock on doors, and donate what you can. You will talk to neighbors and friends and people in the carpool lines and you will politely beg them to vote. If you’re uncomfortable, do it anyway, or do it quietly or with your checkbook. If you have daughters, do it so they won’t have to be assaulted and then disbelieved. If you have sons, do it because you want to raise men who would NEVER treat women as sub-human toys. If you’re an adult, question the ways you were socialized as children. If you have any hesitation, consider the rest of your life being run by people like these:
Change the narrative, y’all. Demand better. Demand different. Demand more. If you’re angry, stay angry. There’s a fuckload to be angry about, and as so many people have correctly noted, from righteous anger can come enormous growth and change.
We have four and a half weeks. Focus. If the Democrats don’t gain back at least the House, I think America buys itself a second Trump term. I do not think we can afford that in any way. Everything you feel now? Use it.
Host a Flip the House postcard-writing party: Flip the House
Some great candidates to support:
Beto O’Rourke (TX/Sen)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ/Sen)
Jacky Rosen (NV/Sen)
Joe Donnelly (IN/Sen)
Heidi Heitkamp (ND/Sen)
Bill Nelson (FL/Sen)
Andrew Gillum (FL/gov)
Stacey Abrams (GA/gov)
Sean Casten (IL-6/House)
Mike Levin (CA-49/House)
Jahana Hayes (CT-5/House)
Let me know of folks you support, too!