Last night I had a dream.
I wish I could say it was as grand as the one where a great man was standing on a mountain top. But alas, I am no great man.
Instead my dream began in the kitchen of my father’s old apartment. My father was showing me how he had learned magic, and was using it to clean his kitchen. If felt a revulsion, and picked up a dish and started cleaning it by hand, telling him “there is a value in doing this.”
I’ve probably lost you at this point. I was confused myself. Maybe some context will help. Maybe.
Every day we have been getting hammered with more and more bad news generated from the office of Trump. Within 3 days, he has literally downgraded our democracy. After spending day after day trying to be functional at my job while trying to figure out how to keep fighting, I go to sleep with a fantasy that this will all be over, and that tomorrow some great hero will have fixed it all.
My dream was telling me that those rescue fantasies are what caused the problem in the first place.
As we keep trying to figure out what went wrong to put us in this mess, the number 43 keeps repeating in my mind. As we keep trying to attack and argue with the 26% of voters that voted for Trump, we have come to ignore the 43% that did not vote at all. I can’t say if this is ignorance or just misdirection, but as a result our focus is on the 26% who we can’t sway, and we are letting the 43% we can stay in indecision.
And this is why they are winning.
That 43% does not only represent the largest failure to vote in 20 years, it signals that we have forgotten that there is a value in participation in our government. We have bought into a magical thinking about democracy. For some, this meant that we just vote for who we like and everything is taken care of. For others, this meant that they really didn’t even have to do that much. We gave up following legislation in favor of following sports teams. We stopped hounding our politicians in favor of pounding our favorite lattes. We forgot the value that comes from speaking loudly in a Democratic Republic.
And this is what we need to reverse.
The Women’s March was a great start. For all its flaws, it got people active again. But we need to do more than march. We need to find those in the 43% and let them know that there is no magic to fall back on, they need to be the power involved. We have to invite them in to letter writing, making phone calls, organizing, fundraising, and other actions to help them to be heard. We need to take them by the hand, walk then through the steps, and teach them to see the value. If just a tenth of those wake up, if just a tenth of them become active, we will have enough in our number to pressure Trump and any administration to listen to the will of the people again.
We need to activate that 43%