Small d inspiration
These are very tough times and I am starting to see a lot of depression and fatalism and anger from people everywhere. I don't think I've ever seen the left so despondent -- and nights like last night in Wisconsin, although heartening in some respects, often make us feel worse because it takes so much energy just to move an inch. But I have to remind myself that it's about more than just achieving the goal --- it's the process itself that makes you strong.
Here's a note I got from reader Don P, who sent me the Stagecoach quote last week:
I know we are in dark times and the nature of the quote was not bright, however seeing that happen was very satisfying and put a bounce in my step. Saturday, when the item appeared in Krugman's column my union voted to approve a contract with Santa Clara County.
I was one of the negotiators and though contract contains cuts to the workers, I feel proud of what the negotiators accomplished. We negotiated from April 29th until 6:30 AM on August 3rd. It was grueling but we kept the worst pain from the lowest paid employees and tried to make the cuts as temporary as we could. We also avoided impasse and a strike.
I felt so incredibly proud that day of both achievements (contributing to your BLOG and successfully settling).
I also wish more people understood how democratic, ethical and downright American union work can be. We worked so hard to get all the voices heard, to discuss all the angles and represent the stated interests of the workers. The negotiation team practically tore itself apart but the sum of all this messy, difficult process was a contract that was as fair as possible under the circumstance. It felt like democracy in action and it gives me hope even in this dark time.
I want to galvanize people and get them involved civically with the kind of passion that the Tea Party has but oriented towards working on constructive solutions to the problems we face.
As long as people like Don are out there doing what they can for average working people, I figure I can't succumb to the malaise that threatens to drag me under. I imagine there was some disappointment in Wisconsin last night that they didn't take back the Senate. But they won two races --- a very difficult task --- and I doubt even one of the people who worked so hard to make that happen would give up having had the experience. As Don says, it's difficult and exhausting, but the real fulfillment is in the doing of it. (And, by the way, practice makes perfect.)