Bet on the resistance!
Something always stands out to me about the first past the post bipartisanship frame that is imposed on us by both our legal system and the propaganda machine in the United States:
A lot of the people who pay attention to politics talk about it like sports.
I’m not talking about the fierce flag-waving for our teams, which certainly is something that happens. More like the way the punditry goes down. We tend to talk about who can beat who, as if “the Lakers are playing the Cavs and the starting forward for the Cavs is hurt but the Lakers have a worse record and you know how they struggle at home and do they have the size to rebound”, which mirrors very closely “Elizabeth Warren is smart and sharp and has good fundraising but she lost New Hampshire which is right next door to Massachusetts and will she be able to win the debates?”
But there’s a really key difference between the wide world of sports and the politics we 'punditrize' about. (Actually, there are several, but I’m going to pinpoint on one).
In sports, our outcomes are not personal in ways that could hurt us as much as they are personal in ways that can help us. When “we” lose in sports, the team loses. *We*-save for the few best athletes on Earth and the people who actually help them stay fit and get better- don’t actually *do* anything. The fans’ actual winning or losing is a mirage in sports; they sit in the stands. They’re not on the team.
In elections, we’re on the team. You and me. Right now. We’re not nearly the starters, but we make sure they get what they need and we help however we can. We can knock doors and research and birddog and scrape. We can use our education and grit and life lessons to change perception, increase turnout, cut turf. We can boycott and buycott and organize rallies. We can commit civil disobedience or register voters. We play directly in the game.
Morale is important in our game. It seems to me that one important thing to do as a team, if you will, is to believe in ourselves, especially since a lot of people won’t. The pundits are going to have doubts and opinions about our team.
They’ll say our quarterback has a weak arm or won’t prosecute terrorists or something like that.
But we don’t have to be the pundits, or anything like them. We are not them. We are on the team.
And when you’re on a team, your job is not to doubt your chances.
Your job is to believe you can win.
A lot of people will probably take that as a commentary on viability; that’s not how I intend it. My belief in probability is that the most uncomfortable option-agnosticism- is the most commonsense one. We don’t know who can win; we can usually see that someone can’t meet a minimum manufacturing requirement for victory if they, you know, do heroin on the network news. But generally, I don’t think we’, as humans, are good at prediction. We prophesize and look, what, what do you know it, the wind has blown in another direction and what we knew before no longer applies.
What I mean to say, rather, is that if you are on the team… which is to say if you are trying to make social difference of *any* kind in the face of authoritarianism… that betting on *you* is important.
I bet on you. I bet on us. We are a very, very, very strong movement. We are smart. We have people who have crawled through hell, people with advanced degrees, people who are hungry for change because they know everyday institutions aren’t serving them, and they are fighting. They are playing a role in the larger organization of a mass movement, pushing their part forward, coordinating with one another.
*We* are capable of playing selflessly, to carry the analogy, of sharing the ball, of putting in work. Even more, we are capable of scoring victories faster than ever thanks to the technology and fervor of an active generation.
Many of the best people I have met in life, I met after the 2016 Election. As frightening as that can be (and it’s OK to be scared sometimes… I get it), there is something to be said for us. This White House brought out the worst, but many of the best answered.
So if you’re working for an equitable world this year, and you’ve been doing it for a few years or more at this point please remember to take note that you are among the best. You did it. You’re going to keep doing it. We’re going to keep doing it, together, and none of us have to do it all ourselves.
It doesn’t matter as much who our top leader is in a given movement because it’s not about them. It’s about you, about us.
*We* are vital to democracy.
*We* are immeasurably powerful.
And *we* are going to win.
And as we move toward victory, I make this promise to you:
I will never, ever bet against us.