My friend Dan Cohen, one of the most effective and skilled people in progressive politics I have ever met, wrote this on Facebook today. I posted it on my Facebook too (and if you have an account, please like/comment/share so more people will see it), but asked him if I could copy to here for people who don't read Facebook.
- "Everywhere people and organizations are gathering -- to process and plan, or just to continue the work that they have been doing all along -- people are coming out of the woodwork to get involved.
There are two groups in Massachusetts who have annual events that I pretty much always attend: Emerge Massachusetts (which trains women running for office) and Mass Alliance (our main coalition of progressive organizations). These are two of my favorite groups, I frequently do trainings for them, and their events are always fun because I get to see tons of people I know and don't see nearly enough. Generally I know nearly everyone at the events. Of course, as a movement guy, that's not a great thing.
Last night I walked into the Emerge event and I didn't know probably more than half the people there. The number of people applying for the program has gone through the roof. Events I know of all around the country have had to reschedule or move locations because they don't have the capacities for the number of people showing up.
This is a really really good problem to have!
So here is my suggestion for the people showing up to all of these gatherings. I've been involved in progressive politics for about 30 years -- the last almost 17 of which as a professional campaign strategist. And I gotta tell ya, these things take time. A lot of time. We need people showing up to get involved, to run for office, and to have their voices heard. But to really affect change we need people to STAY involved.
Don't expect that we're going to turn things around tomorrow. You don't get instant gratification when you organize for long term power and change. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't happen overnight. Cause generally it doesn't.
But also one thing that DOES help make that long-term investment easier is that people should, as small victories are achieved along the way, talk about them! Post them. Remind each other of the victories that we win together. People need hope in times like these. Hope that we can have a better future, but also hope that "my action" will help get us there.
Lots of people are sharing the daily news items of the most recent horrible thing that Trump is doing. That's fine. I am not saying not to share...I am not saying not to be outraged. But let's also share every small example of what we do together. Every local victory, every sign of light, every action that reminds us we can do it.
For me, today (well last night really), it is that Emerge Massachusetts has hundreds of women saying "I want to run for office now!" If that is not a great sign, I don't know what is!
And if you want to do something right this second to help create a better future, throw Emerge some cash to help them do right by these women. And then announce to the world that you did it, and why, and encourage even more people to do it. Electing more women to office takes time, but creating the capacity to do it, to train them and help them and support them, starts as soon as you decide to do it.
And maybe after I finish this coffee I'll even find a link or something to make it easier. Mmmm... Coffee..."