Voting is Not Enough

We knew Biden and Harris were going to win days before they did, but when the call came on Saturday morning I found myself without excitement. I didn’t shout “yahoo!” or jump up and down. Short bursts of relief were punctured by the knowledge that it was four years of unnecessary cruelty and an incompetence that seemed so infinite, so uncompromising. It felt somewhat wrong then to celebrate because it’s not over yet and it won’t be until January.

But I wept all the same.

I’m certainly not shaming anyone who felt like celebrating—dear god, please find any moment you can to feel good—but it’s worth noting that ignoring politics can never be an option again. The reason why Democrats lost the Senate in 2012 and lost the White House in 2016 appear to be for the same reason: our side failed to build a political machine to combat the right wing media empire. All that grass roots organizing fell apart after Obama was elected and we took our eyes off the ball.

It’s taken 8 long years to build that organization across the country, state by state. And now we have to build on it.

One thing that shocked me this year is that all my friends got involved; writing letters, sending text messages, making phone calls, getting people out to vote. This is what we need to keep up after January if we want to make forward progress, actual progressive momentum. Voting is not enough.

So this weekend I’m going to be joining a text bank with Fair Fight to help Georgia take back the Senate. It’s not saving the world or anything but I see it as an extremely small way to continue the momentum that we’ve all built up over the last year. Because progress is not made federally every four years, but locally every single day.

And it took me such a long time to see that.