On the Hard Way

Hello progressive, human rights loving people.

If that doesn’t describe you, you probably don’t like a great deal of what I have to say. As a further note, if you don’t like what I have to say, you may be having problems being a progressive, human rights loving person.

Which I say because I am about to dive into the Hard Way, once more. And I get really annoyed when people keep bitching about the parties being “basically the same thing”.

Factually that’s pure horseshit.  That is, precisely, what the fascists want you to think if you don’t agree with them. IT used to be a part of the Republican Party operative playbook — a standard truth that was well known: independents don’t vote in large numbers, and if you can piss people off at the Dems, even if they don’t like Reps, then Reps win.

It works, too — and has for years.

In my last series of posts a bit back, I noted some history.  Here’s the short version: on the Conservative side, groups which have, for the most part, thought they were being ignored and mistreated by politics in general got together and got involved in the party.

This is how the Religious Right did it.  This is how the Tea Party did it. This is how the alt-right did it.

You know why they did it that way, each time?  Do you, by chance, think that the racist shitbirds of the alt-right didn’t try to get power another way? I mean these are the same folks who created the value of the Southern Strategy, after all.

They did it that way because that is what works. Always and every time.  You know how the Civil Rights efforts of the 1960’s forced a shift from hostile to supporting in a party of Democrats? They got involved in the party.

Do you know how Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter got into office? They got involved in the party.

It is slow, it is hard, it takes time and energy and effort, and so, let me ask you a serious question — even more important if you are not a democrat, and you think the two parties are basically the same.

When was the last time you went to your Precinct meeting?

A lot of the Left spends its times complaining about how too much of the politics is done by top down, and how it all needs to be done from the bottom up.

Yet they never, ever, get involved in the local stuff on any measurable level.

There is this idea that these things are a waste of time and that nothig gets done in them.  Hell — you know, I adore going to creating change conferences because of that spirit of “hey, we are gonna get some good stuff done and have fun and talk stuff.

A lot of the very people who bitch the most about being “outside” the decision making process and the efforts to make change never go to such things; they call them a waste of time and a bad idea.  They never attend lobby days — “they don’t listen to us anyway”.

These people will sign all the petitions and send all the emails in the universe and even march in the street with heavy ass signs that they spend hours creating.

But they never do the work that makes those marches and protests and petitions meaningful.

When was the last time you actually sacrificed your time in a meaningful way to make a party something you can get behind?

I will tell you, straight up, I haven’t been to a meeting since my husband got sick.  I did attend a couple of meetings with the mayor that I had set up, but as he got worse, I stepped back from more and more of the stuff I had been doing.

So for me, that’s been about three years. At the time he was ill, I wasn’t a big shot or anything, but I did run the largest trans org in Arizona, and I was constantly busy doing a bunch of different things from homelessness to convention planning to event staging to substance abuse to domestic violence to better education opportunities for the kids that were at risk of falling between the cracks but that couldn’t get what they needed from a local LGBT high school. To name a few things.

I was tired, too. I also attended my Precinct meetings.

Long ago and far away, in a century that has come and gone, I went to Precinct meetings constantly.  Special meetings for the party, too.  I did consulting work and helped campaign and that was when I was a Republican.

Which I was. Odd thing there: my beliefs have changed a little bit, but not that much. Most of what has changed has been the result of me learning more about the basis of everything I believe in: human rights, and making the world a better place than it was when I got here. As I learned that stuff, the Regressive party I had been a member of failed at that.

The Party — and Politics in general — shifted around me.  Imagine my surprise to find that had once been a moderate position is now on the very left side of things.

I changed to independent.  I didn’t become a Democrat until Hillary ran and lost the primary to a rather nifty black guy.

So yeah, while I’ve been a Democrat longer than Sanders, it isn’t *that* much longer.

The party meetings were not at all different, and I was working in them, as well.  I will be going back to my Precinct meetings, as well — and this time, I have a different precinct. One that isn’t quite as white as my last one.

But as a result, I knew a lot about the way that people in the party were thinking.  And I was able to let people see that hey, trans people who are people of color and bisexual are involved and present and, well, as you can all likely guess given me, not all that interested in hearing people’s bullshit about why they can’t do something when all the reasons why they should are better.

It is that kind of a thing. Now I should tell you that going to these meetings is done for one reason and one reason only: to shift the conversation. To think more effectively and more broadly about what the party is about, and to challenge the people in charge to stop being fucking twits and grow a fucking spine.

When they are not challenged to to do those things, they do not stop being twits and they do not grow a spine and the message never gets sent up the food chain of the folks who handle the money that gets attention faster than anything else.

So, again, I ask you: when was the last Precinct meeting you went to?

I don’t care what party.

The folks in Washington DC who have worked their butt off to get their bosses to hear the problems of every day people are staffers.  They are campaign workers and interns, college kids and true believers and the folks who want to run for office some day and the folks like me who believe in the USA.

A lot of them studied or study Political Science. Not all, though — like a damn fool I turned down an offer from one Congressman in 2007 or 2008. I was working and didn’t have anyone to replace me. (I do that. Not very smart that way.)

So yeah, even a loud, obnoxious, too smart for her own good girl can be one.

But the point here is that a bunch of them who are, well, progressive, human rights loving people got together and took what they know works already and what the tea party did (and, also, what the alt-right did to get the current problem going) and they wrote it all out in terms for us to use.

At the federal level.  But…

It works just as well at the local level. Which is where the lasting groups that have done this in the past started — and why they have so much power now.

So much power that they will do anything to hold onto that power, and making it even more important that we, the progressive, human rights loving people, get off our fucking asses and stop bitching about how shitty the parties are and either make a new fucking party (which will cost a lot of money) or TAKE OVER AN EXISTING ONE.

Sorry for shouting, but I want to make it clear.

It’s easy enough to do.  I just noted that the Republican Party went through three successive waves of it. Each wave forced out more and more of the moderate types.

You know where they went?  The Democratic party. Just like I did.

Those of you thinking this is why the parties are so much alike are still full of fucking shit.  Because it takes all of fifteen fucking minutes to compare the Regressive party platform an the Democratic party platform and realize the parties are fucking hellnight and blessed day.

But that may take too much effort from you.  I understand.  Work, play, family, dating — spending 20 hours a month to make sure you have rights, that you don’t have to put up with shitty fucking candidates, and you can find other people who love human rights and progressive effort who care as well is a LOT to ask.

I mean, that’s like asking you to not watch 5 tv shows meant to distract you from how shitty things are a week.

But keep in mind, petitions are only useful if they are listened to.  Under this new white supremacist, fascist government, no one will give a rats ass unless it benefits them in a way they can see.

Human rights do not benefit them.

Emails are no different — and, indeed because of all the trouble with them that has been going on the last 20 years, no one trusts them anymore.  So no one gives them any serious attention.

Phone calls count — but only if you are a constituent.  And if you aren’t, you make it worse.

Visiting the offices count the most — especially if they are hostile to your group, but that means going there all the time and playing nice so you can get to know the and they can get to know you.

But you don’t have time for that.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was, like, a group of people who know you a little, who you have spent a bit of time with and made your ideas and had good talks and yawned about stupid things with who could, I don’t know, sorta help to guide these folks?

Hello, that’s a political party. Or a political movement that is taking over a political party.

Did you know these same things happened to the Dems — the moving in and taking over thing?

You know, here, in Phoenix, over 20k people marched for women’s rights in protest. If those same people were to attend the precinct meetings, every time for the next couple years and made those same sentiments heard, Phoenix would field better candidates and Arizona would get bluer, and we might get a legislature that stops trying to fuck us and trying to help us.

Scratch all the mights and maybes. We outnumber them 3 to 1.  But Liberals are intrinsically lazy.

liberals are seriously lazy, because it means having to stop being dicks to other liberals.

Hell, you think I am mean now, you should see what happens when you start actually listening for a change.  I become sweetness and light and I move on to other problems.

But this time…

I am thinking of selling my home and moving to an apartment so I can run for office for state legislature. In a district that hasn’t seen a dem candidate in ages — because o one there goes to the precinct meetings, which is where you get your first signatures to run for office and where you can find the basics for financial support and where you can hear the people you want to represent.

IN short, the system isn’t awesome and it isn’t easy.

But it does work.  THe other side knows that, and they want to break it all down and start a purge of people like me.

I will go to war against that, but war is the last thing to try — and we are not even close to having tried everything.

So, let me try asking you something else:

Are you willing to do the hard work, the real, ugly, sad, boring work of making a change in this nation, or do you just want to keep doing the exciting, stuff that is going to end up less effective without people doing the hard work?

The people in power right now will not hear you in the street. They see you as undesirables and dangers and menaces to social order.  They see you as the people to send the cops after.

Can’t do that as easily if we start in the smoke filled back rooms.

There used to be these massive Democratic Machines. Roosevelt was a product of one. Truman was, as well.  It is how they got elected.

The iDJiT is one as well — only this machine was the alt-right, a tiny fragment of the Regressive party that took what the tea party learned and built on it fast, furious, and wickedly.

It might seem to you that I am angry.

I am.

I am very angry.

I am angry that people do not want to do the hard work, do not want to put in the effort on the hard way to make change that lasts, and would rather bitch about their individual segments and increments of Human Rights instead of saying fuck it, let’s do it all at once and get it done.

I am pissed that people forget that human rights isn’t a drip or a drop at a time, and that people haven’t realized that with all the damage this orange fuck is going to do, we can actually get it done for *everyone* if we fight, if we do the hard stuff, and if we do it together.

So yeah, I am angry.

Because we should all be angry.  We should all be ready and willing to do it the hard way.

Because that hard way is nothing compared to the hard way that is in store for us if we don’t.