Seriously; how are you?
I can tell you that I get pretty weary thinking about the work we have ahead of us and the fact that those who oppose us are better financed, more powerful and disturbingly successful. We are up against forces whose public agenda is meant to mislead and sow division and whose private agenda is simply to concentrate wealth in fewer hands and protect that wealth at all costs. It’s an old story repeated in countless places and times throughout history. That can get pretty discouraging!
I have cut my news time drastically; I eventually hear about the important stuff. I’m drinking decaf; I’m making sure to read a novel now and then; I’m savoring moments with the family and I’m connecting with my fellow activists —even if just for a beer. If I’m going to be ready for phone banking and door knocking and conventions in 2020 I can’t have my brain all frazzled. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
We’re not alone. David Corn in Mother Jones writes about how climate scientists deal with frustration and anxiety as they speak about a problem many (a few even on our side) do not want to hear.
Virginia Stark, our local groups coordinator, sent me an article by Emily Johnston entitled “Loving in a Vanishing World” that eloquently reminds us of what we already know; that we do this for a reason and that we have to do it, because it must be done. The article, like David Corn’s, is from an environmental perspective, but her wisdom applies across all our activism.
I’m reminded of how I became active when a young woman, a staffer during the 2004 election, gathered volunteers afterward and said “You’ll all become friends; you’ll learn the ropes; you’ll make connections with the party and with activists organizations; you’ll take on leadership positions and you’ll build a community.” Her enthusiasm was infectious and all 35 of us became leaders. Some now even hold elected office. What binds us together, even today, is that community.
As you look at ways to reduce your stress and train for 2020 remember the values that made you active and that connecting with those who share those values reminds you that you are not alone. Building community builds energy, confidence and support while it builds power. When you are calm and confident and your work comes from your core values others will notice —and maybe they’ll join us.