By: Vanessa Burnett – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Two things really frustrate me about the moment we’re in, and they’re on this side. One is disempowerment. And spreading it. The second is people telling other people how to fight all of this. Also there is fairy dust at the end of this piece.
None of us know the best way forward, but I know we are (mostly) all trying to figure it out. The struggle with despair and disempowerment is that you need to share it and get support. We’re all tired. This is a tough fight. The bad part is that we’re kind of at the beginning of it getting much rougher. So the tricky part about despair is that when we talk about it because we need to process… others read it and pick up on it. Words do carry energy as words are meant to spread meaning. “Resistance fatigue” is definitely a challenge. But it’s also a challenge to stay empowered. To spread empowerment. That challenge gets more challenging as despair spreads.
I got upset earlier this week when someone was sharing something positive and inspirational, and the first response was to dismiss that news and say it didn’t matter. I was not impressed with that response and said so. I’m still getting pushback. But that commenter was pushing back on someone trying to be positive. It’s one thing to have resistance fatigue yourself. It’s another thing to tear down positive energy just because you are fatigued.
Those of us who are trying to spread positive energy are investing a heck of a lot of energy to do so. It’s not helpful when people try and tear it down because of their own grouchiness. It doesn’t serve to reinforce.
Rather, it makes it more challenging to stay positive. And for what? To create more grouchy people?
I also have people telling me that they are stepping out of the game. Do they want me to endorse them? I’m in here fighting with everything I’ve got. Some people can’t. I’ve made the decision that I’m in. That’s my decision. But don’t expect me to applaud when you tell me you are stepping out. I’ve sworn an oath to this country over and over for different jobs and for a clearance. I meant it. I mean it now. I’m all in.
Which leads me to the second thing. Someone who is not trying to create a national movement in rural America from nothing but heavy research, ideas, and a whole lot of dogged perseverance (but who knows I am) got on my case on a specific issue. She said I wasn’t in the fight and needed to get in it, while at the same time criticizing the fight I’ve put together and am championing. She said I need to be a beacon of light. Actually used those words. There’s a lot more to that story but that’s not the point.
The point is that it doesn’t serve anything – and in fact is counterproductive – to try and tell other activists how to be active.
We all have to find a path that resonates for us. For our skills. For our challenges and constraints. For our assets. For our wherewithal. For our emotional resilience. For our financial resilience. For the other commitments that we have made.
And for the other fights that we may need to fight. It’s a balance. And everyone has to figure it out on their own.
Over and over again I come back to the ending of The LEGO Movie. The key there to overtaking President Business is that every single person has to come up with their own unique thing. The thing only they can do. The thing only they can bring. That is how they will overcome the challenge of big money, big business, and a tyrant on the rise.
This #ShiftTheCountry work I’ve been building and growing is about helping people find ideas that resonate that they can champion, and amplifying those. It’s work that we can all do in the places that we live to engage inactive voters. To connect with people who don’t feel don’t feel connected to. To create community.
We’re fundraising now to get the Shift the Country tools out ASAP to make this kind of shift happen.
It’s work to start creating the community that we keep saying we want to see in America. Like also ASAP.
So, let’s build it. Let’s get these voters fired up so they will vote Democrat in the fall.
It won’t work if we’re in despair, disengaged ourselves, and sniping at each other. Let’s find a way forward.
If that sounds like a bunch of overly idealistic fairy dust, unicorn fluff and rainbows… ha! Maybe it is!
I think we’re going to need some massively positive action to win this fall. That’s what I’m trying to build. In a different way than has been done before. It might take some fairy dust. We could use a magic wand or two also. Or a few million.
Whatever works. We’re going to need all the tools and all the people.
Which is why this post closes with wisdom from former Republican Republican party chairman Michael Steele: to win this fall he says Democrats need to bring their A-Game: their ASYMMETRICAL game.
Let’s do it.
Vanessa Burnett is a disruption coach and consultant at Counterfear.com, helping people and organizations navigate and create disruption. A career in disaster management, resilience-building, infrastructure, and technology innovation informs her current work. Vanessa is also the President of the Shift the Country PAC, working to foster tipping points across the US through connection, community, and resilience to create real world shift.
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