“Decisions are made by those who show up.” That line is attributed to both Harry Truman and Woody Allen. Bartlet and his press secretary C.J. Cregg both say it on The West Wing, during Season 4. It’s been running through my head a lot lately, mostly because of two things:
a) I’m seeing so much frustration in my various communities, so much despair and such a sense of impotence. A fear that Trump is going to drag our country right over the edge of the cliff, and take much of the world with us, and there won’t be anything we can do about it.
b) I’ve been frankly a little astonished at how few people come to Democratic events here. And of course, I say this as someone who went to her first such event last Wednesday, so I’m certainly not casting stones. But I expected way more people to be in the room, especially after the last election. I am a little startled that I’m probably going to be running against perhaps 6-8 people total for the 4 available slots on library board — I mean, it’s not quite unopposed, obviously, but it’s certainly not a hotly-contested race. And I know, library board sounds like a sleepy kind of thing, but whomever wins will be given oversight of a several million dollar budget, and will have the opportunity to shape the library, one of our great civic institutions. One would think that more people would be fighting for that, would be paying attention.
No conclusions here — just thinking out loud. I was talking to a friend this morning, and they were worried that I was working too hard, taking on too much. And I said that a) library board was a relatively small time commitment, and b) that I’m in my 40s now — entering my professional peak years, and if I’m going to change the world, now is the time to start doing it. And they laughed and said I wasn’t going to change the world, that the world was falling apart and there was nothing we could do about it. And I know the news makes it seem that way, but I think that’s exactly wrong.
The world is, actually, improving radically overall, and has been for several centuries. We have to be careful not to fall off the climate change cliff, and there are a host of other problems to contend with, obviously. These are hard problems, and will take hard work to solve. Progressives have just suffered a major setback, and the whole country is going to suffer as a result. But the answer isn’t to give up. It’s to show up.
At the Democratic meeting yesterday, I said, a bit despairingly, to one of the organizers there, that I was worried that Trump was going to roll back all of Obama’s progress over the last few years. And she touched my arm and said firmly, “We won’t let him.”
All right then. Time to show up.