Right after the 2016 election, Sarah and I went to a meeting of Stand Up for Racial Justice. It’s a good group that, as I understand it, is about amplifying the work of other groups. That makes sense to me as a goal.
But what I really took away from that meeting was a phrase from one of the speakers, “Pick a lane and fill it.”
If you start to pay attention to politics in your country you’ll quickly realize that there is a lot that’s in need of fixing. And so it’s tempting to try to follow all of it, fix all of it, and, in doing that, lose yourself and accomplish nothing.
It’s not that you are on Twitter virtue signaling. That’s a bullshit pejorative. It’s that are on Twitter spreading yourself so thin that you don’t have time to do anything meaningful.
And, what this speaker at the meeting stressed is that you do have the power to make change if you focus. Pick a lane and fill it. Make that your mission. Change minds. Raise money. Volunteer your time.
And what I got right away is that if you focused there would be a secondary benefit to your mental health.
After you pick a lane you’ll get better at explaining it. There’s a blindspot in the way people talk about politics that makes it seem like you only have to convince the other side. But the reality is that the other side is very difficult to convince and that there’s a lot of value in just being able to educate people on your side that haven’t had time to educate themselves.
How I’ve been practicing this is that a week ago I only cared about GOTV. Then Tuesday I only cared about counting all the votes. You can switch lanes, btw, once the goal you’re shooting for has been accomplished.
Now I’m reasonably certain that the election results will be respected, I’m starting to think about a special election for Georgia Senators. I’ve lost faith in Republicans doing anything collaborative in this country and so it would be better if Democrats won both of these special elections.
The thing I can do is to help fundraise. It’s minor, but we matched $500 the other day and I expect we’ll end up matching a lot more. It’s all going to Stacey Abram’s Fair Fight group. If you donate, please leave a private note for me here. She did a really good job in Georgia, obviously, and I think she’s a good bet.
And then once this election is over, I’ll have a choice. It’s the choosing that is actually the hardest. In general, I gravitate toward working to support decarceration, which I’ve also done a lot of work for. But I know I’ll be tempted by voting rights. But someone else can pick that lane.