As expected, everybody’s going after Battleground Texas. Republicans, for sure, trying to make us give up. The media, too, who walk the line between wanting to be impartial and objective, but also wanting to sound like experts with the inside track who are the first to say I told you so.
The calls, however, are also coming from inside the house. I’m talking about Democrats jumping on the anti-Battleground bandwagon.
That’s who I’m talking to right now. Some of you have been on it from the start, and some of you waited until the returns started coming in, but I knew that sooner or later, you’d get in on it.
Here’s the deal—I volunteered on a Battleground team. I took part in a weekly phone bank. I helped out with some block-walks. I registered new voters, sometimes even driving to their homes or offices to sign them up or help them update their registration. I did a ton of data entry to support many others who called, block walked, and registered voters.
I also helped organize several fundraisers for the candidates at the top of our ticket, most with low ticket prices so they would be accessible to a wide range of people, and I served on host committees and attended events organized by other people for other candidates. I also organized a couple of coffees where people could learn more about specific issues, like education and women’s health, at my own home. I also took part in some public gatherings that featured speakers on issues ranging from immigration to transportation alternatives. There was no charge for those unless you wanted to buy a drink.
I voted early, which gave me time to drive other people to the polls. And then, on election day, I supported two teams of poll monitors who were the first line of recourse for people who were, for whatever reason, unable to vote.
I didn’t limit my engagement to only Battleground. I worked with other groups as well.
I did all of that, and I noticed something.
I never saw you at the phone bank. And when I called your house, you didn’t answer.
I didn’t see your name on the list at the door at my events, and when I knocked on your door at home, if it wasn’t inaccessible behind a locked gate, you sat silent until I left. When I was asking for help getting people to drive others to the polls, you weren’t available.
A few of you showed up to something every once in a while, but you stood at the back of the room talking to people you already knew, criticizing what others were doing. You didn’t introduce yourself to the new people or offer to help them learn what to do, or how to do it better.
I try very hard not to be the person who stands at the back of the room with my arms crossed and a smirk on my face, rolling my eyes because new people, different people, other people, are doing it wrong, or differently, or for a different audience. I try hard not to be that person because I don’t think it is constructive. Plus, I know there are some of you who’ve already mastered it, and I wouldn’t want to try to elbow in on your corner of the action.
I’m used to hard work that takes a long time and doesn’t necessarily yield wild success from the get-go. I know that kind of work goes better the more people you have doing it.
So the next time I call, pick up the damn phone.
Let’s talk about what we can do to move forward toward 2015 and 2016 and 2028.
Give me your tips for how to build a better phone bank, or voter registration drive, or GOTV program. Let’s pick a few precincts and work them hard in 2015 to see how we can drive turnout higher in 2016 and 2018.
Let’s test out our theories and reinvigorate our base. Let’s analyze the data, but let’s also work to be sure there is enough data to analyze.
Make the drive with me up to Austin some day to register support for a good bill or opposition to a bad one. I’ll pay for the gas and the kolaches at the halfway point.
Or do something else and don’t get me involved until you come to me after the fact to show me the measurable progress you made doing it your way. I want to know how to be successful, and if my way doesn’t work as well as your way, then I want to make your way mine, too.
But if you want to stand there and talk to me about how you knew it wouldn’t work, step off. If you knew it was a train wreck in slow motion, then good for you. Want a cookie? If you want to tear people and programs down instead of working to build them up, please move along. You can go to hell, and I’ll keep working for Texas.