tired but hopeful

I’ve been quiet on the blog front lately, due to my extreme stress at work. I have to say that I’ve done a lot of really complicated campaigns in my life, but I’ve never felt so inadequate on a daily basis as I do working on this year’s election. On the one hand, there are a ton of important elections where victory is in reach. On the other, there’s me and my poor brain, trying to juggle six conference calls a day, keeping the mail program on track, training the staff, making sure that volunteers are recruited, the events are organized, and that everything is done legally.

I’ve probably spent more time talking to election lawyers in the last six weeks than I have talking to my husband. No, strike that, I definitely have.

I’m not one to be overly hopeful three weeks out from an election, but I have to say that I’m feeling extremely positive this year. I haven’t felt this good about an election since 1992, and part of my anxiety is directly related to the ’92 election.

In ’92, the group that I was working for endorsed a number of women Congressional candidates. I walked precincts for Anna Eshoo, Lynne Woolsey, and Barbara Boxer, among others. I remember driving up Rte. 101 from Palo Alto to San Francisco on election night with a couple of my coworkers. When George H.W. got on the radio to concede the election to Clinton, one of my coworkers stuck his head out the window, screaming with joy. It was the Year of the Woman, and many of us, in our estrogen-fueled way, decided to get some of our own back against the Senate, after the wretched Clarence Thomas affair.

After the election though, there was a huge lull in progressive organizing. Many people that I talked to thought Clinton would be winning us universal health care, keeping us out of wars, and letting gays in the military as soon as he took office. I was among a small minority (it seemed to me) who said, “hey, we’re glad this guy won, but he’s not our guy–let’s keep pushing him.”

I’m worried that after this year’s election, the same thing may happen. There is this tendency to assume that winning an election is the end game, but it’s really just the beginning. If we don’t have a plan to turn that election victory into actual victories on issues–things like raising the minimum wage, real health care reform, and a sane foreign policy, it’s going to feel pretty hollow.

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October 18, 2006. politically motivated.

7 Comments

  1. Leggy replied:

    Maybe are you more idealistic than me, but I just am hoping to actually see people I like elected. At least they can stop creating so much damage, even if it takes a while to undo what’s already been done.

  2. jen replied:

    terrific work you do – and i agree, i feel positive too, but i dare admit it….a lot is riding on this election, and we need to make sure we start (yes, start) off on the right foot – a lot of repair work is needed. cheers.

  3. Michelle replied:

    My brother is a campaign manager out in Utah and just let to go to law school out in DC. I love hearing his stories about his job, it seems so interesting.

  4. Anjali replied:

    I’m not too superstitious, but, oh, my fingers are crossed and knocking on wood at the same time.

  5. Library Lady replied:

    What really worries me is what if we (!) do get in, and the results are so disastrous that we end up losing the 2008 election?

    But I pray (in my agnostic way) that we do get in. Making Bush-Baby a TRUE lame duck president would make me sleep a lot sounder at night!

  6. Jessica replied:

    I, too, haven’t been blogging much due to stress (school and work related) – it sounds like you have a lot on your plate but it also sounds like you are doing very important work.

  7. Comfort Addict replied:

    II am hopeful but not certain that progressive candidates will do well this year. However, I am somewhat cynical that their success will bring any substantial change. As the old Buddhist joke goes, change must come from within. For that, we must change hearts and minds. Thanks to the work you do, we have a chance at that.

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