Let us not pretend everything is okay.
Let us not give up hope.
Let us not minimize the problems before us.
Let us not mythologize the past.
Let us not embrace cynicism.
Let us not deny reality.
Let us not demonize one another.
Let us not paper over injustice.
We are living in a time of great turmoil. Our democracy is being undermined at its core, from within. Our constitutional order is being threatened by politicians who betray their oath to support and defend it. Meanwhile, our planet's livability for our species is being jeopardized by our actions. We have long understood what needs to be done, and we’re not doing it nearly fast enough.
We know that you in the Steady community are aware of the existential perils we face. Our wonderful discussion forums are full of your thoughtful and thought-provoking opinions, beliefs, and ruminations. We hear in your words our collective fears, our challenges, and also our avenues for action.
We worry. We wonder. We wrestle with what we can do to help, to fix, to heal.
How does one remain focused amid swirling eddies?
How do we find balance in a world out off kilter?
How can we be steady in the chaos of the moment?
Steadiness is not weakness.
Over the course of my career, I have found that many of the fiercest fighters for truth and justice have been the steadiest. Dr. Martin Luther King was steady. Nelson Mandela was steady. So was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I have seen steadiness save lives — from soldiers regrouping in the chaos of war, from first responders administering aid in the panic of disasters, from teachers exuding patience with struggling students.
Steadiness is not passivity.
As we look at the wide scope of history, we can see that making steady headway requires times for agitation. For anger. For energy. For mass mobilizations. For new thinking. Steadiness is built on action.
Finally, steadiness is certainly not capitulation.
We should recognize that one of the most effective weapons autocrats can deploy is the power of exhaustion. They bet that by wearing down opposition through an escalation of outrage they can instill widespread hopelessness. And that this hopelessness will spread and become endemic. They want you to believe that the system is inexorably rigged. That nothing you can do matters. That as you zoom out in your mind and try to wrap it around a bigger picture, you will come to a realization of your own futility.
But that is not what the bigger picture teaches. Steady drumbeats of progress can propel us forward. We have seen that in the fight for justice in America. Consider what our country was at its founding, and what we are now — despite all our faults. This progress came at immense cost and through moments of great energy, activity, and tragedy. It required a bloody civil war. It survived the violent steps backward of Jim Crow. It emerged from women who marched for the vote. It was spurred at Stonewall.
The fight for a better world will never be over, because we will always face new challenges, including ones we cannot predict at this time. We will also always find more that needs mending. There will always be people struggling to be free. But there will also be a will to struggle for freedom. We can find hope in the courage of Ukraine and the protesters in Iran, particularly women and girls.
We are facing a midterm election in which everything feels like it is at stake. And indeed it is. It is why now should be a time to get out the vote. To remind each other of the starkness of the choices we face.
At the same time, we should remember that the search for a more perfect nation, like the journey for a healthier world, is not measured only in election seasons. It is an accumulation of all the choices we make and the roles we seek.
Steadiness is recognizing that the struggle will always continue, but it should also always be accompanied by hope.
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Yesterday I took my completed and signed ballot to my board of elections office and slipped it into the box knowing that the post office wouldn’t screw up the delivery. While completing it, I googled the names of judges I didn’t know and noted what Florida governor appointed them. In case you haven’t heard, Florida has some problems with the current governor and his immediate predecessor. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t voting for a judge beholden to the politicians who were trying to destroy our democracy. I feel that I did what I could to be I formed and it didn’t take very long, but the half hour I spent I think made a difference and made me feel as if I had accomplished something. My vote counts and if you don’t vote because you think yours doesn’t, you are part of the problem instead of the potential solution. Dan was absolutely right when he wrote that they are trying to wear you down and demoralize you. Don’t let them!
I like your sentiment. I will try to remain true to it but it’s getting harder.