Do Not Despair

“The day may dawn when fair play, love for one’s fellow man, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth serene and triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.”

Winston Churchill, in his final address to the House of Commons, 1955
Quoted in Jon Meacham’s podcast, Hope Through History

This morning I read a Facebook post by an acquaintance, and lately I’ve seen a fair number of similar ones on various social media sites. The authors were full of despair, feeling as if their individual efforts didn’t matter and have no impact. I’ve also heard this expressed in conversations with friends, and I feel it’s important to address.

Lately we’re being given a boatload of opportunities to feel depressed about the current situation in our country. I’ll address the cultural and ecological ones elsewhere. Today I want to focus on the political ones.

Propaganda, distractions by, and behavior of the thugs in power along with those they condone and encourage all to engender powerlessness and feelings of despair. THIS IS BY DESIGN.

Decline their invitations.

I’m not naïve but I refuse to be manipulated by spin and fear mongering from political operatives, media outlets, and social media of who-knows-what-origin, left, right or in-between.

For me this requires good self-care (healthy food, exercise, enough sleep, etc.) and actively working for the changes I want to see. There are as many ways to do this as there are people, some as simple as asking a store clerk if they’re registered to vote and have a voting plan, or educating people about recent changes in voting. (This information is readily available online.) Being kind helps.

It could be writing postcards to voters, text and phone banks, connecting with local organizations like Turn PA Blue and hundreds, if not thousands of grassroots groups across the country actively working on a wide variety of election issues. Some folks I know work through prayer. I don’t think an individual’s preference of method matters. There’s room— and the need— for everyone who’s willing to participate.

Teaming up with like-minded folks working actively and strategically can help maintain clarity of spirit. I personally like the Poor People’s Campaign and Dr. Rev. Wm. Barber’s clear-eyed take on things as I wrote in my 2020 calendar, but there are many people doing the good and hard work that needs to be done.

We got energized in 2018 and look what we accomplished! Far more women, more women and men of color, and more progressives elected up and down the ballot. I think we’ve learned how much local elections matter, and we may not have had as deep an understanding of that before.

We’ve been warned by many, including Mary L. Trump, Michael Cohen, scores of investigative journalists and former members of this administration, that things will get worse and worse between now and January 21st,2021 including the horrifying spread of COVID-19. We’re witnessing a very frightened and cornered animal who above all does not want to go to jail and doesn’t care what he does to avoid it. He’s ably assisted by his cohort of looters who fought to win the presidency in 2016 so they could stack the courts and have a say over our laws for generations (among other things.)

I also read this today: “Above all else, DO SOMETHING. We have power in this moment. What we do matters. And we have a limited time in which to do it.

We have a lot of work to do right now, and will have more to do after the election, so be diligent about your physical and mental health and the condition of your spirit.

I’ve never seen an election like this in my lifetime of voting. I doubt anyone has, and this one will take as many of us as are able to bring about a landslide that no one can deny.

Take heart, take really good care of yourself, wear a mask, and wash your hands. Again.

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