Our democracy is fragile.
It’s easy to forget that this country, the American project, is really in its adolescence.
When you zoom out and look at how long we’ve been at this in the grander scheme of human history — we’re teenagers, barely. The thousand-year-long empires and monarchies chuckling down at us in the halls of history.
That makes us the lucky ones.
Right now we’re engaged in the beautiful, frightening and important exercise of cradling, nurturing, holding our democracy together for the next set of generations.
This work is necessary because the very core of our democracy is under threat.
My generation of Americans had barely a few years of peace in our own adolescence before the planes struck the towers and shattered what was a period of relative calm and joy.
From the towers to the longest war in American history to a debilitating recession fueled by greed and graft out of which we slowly slogged out of only to be knocked off our feet again by the election of Donald Trump, we’ve been tried and tested for most of our lives at this point.
Now, here we are, at the hoped for end of this chapter: a Supreme Court justice snuck in at the very last possible moment out of fear and partisanship and a pure power play, a pandemic that has killed an unimaginable 200,000 of our brothers and sisters, and that same man refusing a peaceful transfer of power.
America — we are here.
This is the moment the Founders warned about and for which they tried to prepare us.
What’s required of us now is collective effort to tenderly care for our democracy when it needs us most. This exercise doesn’t have to be joyless, fearful, or bitter. We can dance as we gather the kindling. This tending to the fire is exactly what makes a participatory democracy so great and also so delicate.
If we want it, we need to fight for it.
Tens of thousands of people right now, from all walks of life, even in the middle of a pandemic, are phone banking, text banking, and writing letters to other voters to say “hey! wake up! time to be heard again!!” It’s inspiring and encouraging.
I’m seeing all of that happen right before my eyes at Manny’s in the victory booths we’ve built outside for this very purpose — to bring people together to engage in the act of democracy in the precious days before the most consequential election of our lifetimes.
It’s our privilege to be living in a time where we can set our restless and rebellious teenager of a democracy on the right path.
The process of doing that brings together those with less to lose and those with everything at stake. It’s what created the Obama coalition and what’s currently bringing together the richest and poorest Americans, folks of all genders and colors and languages, the queer, the straight, the documented and the undocumented, all picking up the phone, talking to each other from sea to shining sea in order to say, loud, proud, back to the founders and forward to the next generation that our democracy is precious, our future is uncertain, we believe in it, and we need to fight for it.
My question to you is: Will you join us?