Recently, I’ve been experiencing a strange emotion. It’s hauntingly familiar, but distant, kind of like remembering an old recurring dream. It’s almost like deja vu, or a fond memory of an old lover.
I think it may be…hope.
It started a few weeks ago, when I arrived at a bar in my neighborhood that was hosting a fundraiser for Vote Riders and found it PACKED TO THE GILLS. At the event, one of my fellow local Democratic party volunteers (young, female) announced that she’s running for local office, and I was proud to be the first person to sign her petition to get on the ballot. And there it was, like that first little green sprout of a crocus through the snow.
Immediately after that, Democratic turnout in the Texas primary surged, and Connor Lamb won the PA-18 special election. Is that the first little purple flower I see?
The kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school are giving me hope. They’re not backing down, they’re not getting tired, they’re not allowing themselves to be bullied or intimated (n.b. to every gun-fellating adult trying to take them on in social media: YOU ARE UTTERLY OVERMATCHED. SURRENDER NOW.). If anything, they’re ramping it up, as seen in today’s #NationalWalkoutDay. And they’re using their platform to draw attention to related issues like police violence against communities of color and the over-punishment of students of color.
In Washington, DC, the city council is considering lowering the voting age to 16. That gives me hope. This generation just coming up seems far more politically involved than their Millennial and GenX elders. Registering kids in high school – hell, their schools are often the polling places – and helping them engage seriously with the issues at stake in elections is a far better civics education than sitting around debating the electoral college for two weeks (I’ll cut to the chase: it needs to be abolished, like, YESTERDAY).
Democrats have flipped 39 seats and counting. Sure, we’re all still smarting about Joel Ossoff and Archie Parnell, but for the past nearly a year it’s been a string of almost uninterrupted wins. And Hiral Tipirneni stands a good chance of flipping AZ-8, which so-called (for now) President Trump won by 21 points. Beto O’Rourke’s race against human-shaped bag of feces Ted Cruz is within the margin of error (remember the immortal words of Lindsey Graham: “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you”). We need to continue to campaign and fundraise and phone bank and canvas and write postcards like we’re 20 points behind. But the Blue Tsunami is coming, and that gives me hope.
In the midst of all this hope, of course, we’re still getting the same tired “Dems in disarray!” message from a certain segment of the left.
And I get it. White dudes are used to running everything. In the past two years, women of all colors, men of color, young people, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities have said, “Nah – we’re tired of white dudes being in charge. Y’all have had millennia, and you’ve done nothing but fuck everything up. We’ll take it from here.” And they’re having a hard time adjusting.
The Democrats aren’t in disarray. We aren’t a mess. We just aren’t centering you any more, white dudes. We have a message. It’s just not your – and only your – message anymore.
“When you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
Sit down, take a few deep breaths, have a drink (or a toke – it IS 4/20). You’ll be all right.
I’ll close with the words of at least one white dude who gets it:
What’s giving you hope today?
Lovely image above found here (obviously, since it’s watermarked), by Sharon Talson
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