What’s an activist to do….

It was such a relief to vote Trump out, and to anticipate a return to rational democracy. Recent Republican attacks on our voting rights, the bedrock of our democracy, and the harm that they would do, have us reeling. I try to understand their actions from their different political perspectives, but it’s hard to come up with a motivation beyond greed or outright cruelty.

And then the goal post keeps shifting. First we heard that S1 was a “must pass by the end of August!”. “Failure is not an option!” But here we are at the end of October and the negotiations
within the Democratic party–over bills for infrastructure as well as voting rights–appear fractious and interminable.

But here’s the thing–if your political perspective values most maintaining power, and believes that the way to prosperity is to preserve and enhance the wealthiest among us, who will then create opportunities for the rest of us, then your path forward is clear. Your job is to protect the wealthy and powerful and create the circumstances for their continued growth. This is the mantra of the Republican party, as measured by their actions.

A Democratic Senate caucus that includes Senators with views as disparate as Joe Manchin, say, and Bernie Sanders (just to choose a couple, think Sinema/Warren and Tester/Markey, etc.) does not have the luxury of unanimity. In the House, similarly, the Democratic caucus ranges from Rep. Jaime Raskin to Jason Crow, from AOC to Connor Lamb. Theirs are not easily reconciled perspectives, which translates into fiercely debated priorities and policies.

This is messy, at turns infuriating and terrifying for those of us watching, working and worrying. But this is, as we know, how democracy works. If the Democratic Party truly does embrace the broad diversity of The People and their priorities, it really can’t work any other way than through the differences, opinions and quarrels.

So….what do we do? How do we maintain our confidence and motivation? I believe that we hold firm to our belief in our goals; for me, that means that voting should be accessible to all, that all people in this country deserve safety, security and the means to a healthy and productive life. These are desirable and attainable goals! As Stacey Abrams says, “I am not optimistic or pessimistic, I am determined.”

Be kind to yourselves–do things you enjoy! Maybe it’s getting out in nature, time with friends, exercising, taking a break, indulging in a guilty pleasure or a good book, or your own source of solace. And be kind to each other. This is not a sprint; it’s a marathon!

— Marta Lev