Happy Blue Year! Happy BLUE Year? I feel it. Do you? I also know it is going to take a lot of energy and work to create the blue wave we are all hoping for in 2018.
And we have a chance to start the work with one day of training for Democratic candidates and activists this Saturday. Don’t be intimidated if you have never worked on a campaign or helped behind the scenes with the Democratic Party before. We all have a “first” and there is no better time to start than now. Register today! (And if you want to know why I think this training is so important, read on.)
2017 was a tough year for me and my friends. It was also a great teacher. I learned that if I want my country, my state, my community to reflect my values, I must get out from behind the screen and work. Like many people I consider good patriotic Americans, I had fallen into some very bad habits over the last eight years. I watched Democracy clicking along and saw so many advances, so many protections put in place. I became lulled into believing that progress was largely linear and that our country would continue to move in the right direction. So, during those years, I wrote some checks, I contributed to some good campaigns and causes, I occasionally phone banked or canvassed for GOTV, I voted the right way and I assumed we would keep moving forward. I took Democracy for granted. I forgot that citizenship is not just a privilege, but also a responsibility.
Let me confess what I did NOT do during those years. I did NOT work to make sure our local and state Democratic Party had the resources they needed, or that they understood what all our communities and citizens needed from the Party. I did NOT stay in touch with my elected officials and remind them what I expected from them as my representatives. I did NOT hold them accountable to the people. I did NOT devote my time and energy to personally working to see people with sound progressive ideas and values elected to offices at the local, state and national level. I did NOT take my responsibility as a citizen seriously.
So, in 2017, along with so many of you, I got busy. I called and met with my Senators and Congressman and local officials. I planned and attended marches and rallies and demonstrations. I showed up with one million of my closest friends in DC last January to let the incoming president know that women are awake, and we are watching. With you at my side, I fought back against efforts to ban Muslims from our country, to let racism divide us and to strip Americans of healthcare. I worked for full inclusion of all, including LGBTQ citizens, at the local level. I helped build groups of activists and reveled in the fact that a new grassroots network has grown across West Virginia. And all the while, I realized that my work, our work is just starting.
I know that it is vitally important that we stand as citizens and fight back against the current federal administration. We must take our signs and our voices to public spaces and force the world to acknowledge we are fighting back against oppression. We must keep the pressure on our elected officials. We are fighting for our Democracy. But we must also take our power to the polls. We must take political offices across the country back and turn them blue!
And to have real power in the voting booth, we must have good candidates to vote for and we must work hard to get them elected. I am asking you to join with me in 2018 to ensure that we recruit and support good candidates. I feel that the future of our country depends upon taking every possible office blue in 2018. And it requires every single one of us working together to accomplish that goal. If that seems hyperbolic, just look at what the 2016 elections brought us. And I really believe that each of us has a role to play in this. Like me, you may need a push in the right direction or information on exactly how to get involved, but each of us has a place.
Each of us who cares about the direction of our community, our state and our country can help in some way in 2018. I am asking that you help me wear out some sneakers canvassing our community for these candidates, make calls until we are hoarse, help staff the party headquarters and organize the campaigns, canvasses and events that will get good people elected. The elections are just around the corner and we need to start now. So, let’s do this!
I am asking that you attend just one day of training this coming Saturday as we learn together how to win in 2018. If you have never been involved in campaigning or party work before, this is the perfect time to start. Lots of us are new or “newish” to the work. Please come out and learn along with us. Register today!