Category Archives: Politics

Nevertheless, she persisted

One can only imagine that Senator Mitch McConnell had no idea of the sort of reaction he would get when he said of his fellow senator, Elizabeth Warren:

She was warned.
She was given an explanation.
Nevertheless, she persisted.

Warren, as Slate explains, had been “reading aloud from a scathing 1986 letter Coretta Scott King wrote opposing Sessions as a potential federal judge, when McConnell interrupted her mid-sentence to invoke a rule that prevents senators from ascribing ‘unbecoming’ conduct to another senator.”

The vote to silence Warren fell upon party lines, highlighting the fact that while the rule itself may be good, it’s applicability to Warren’s statements is debatable.

And McConnell’s comments afterwards only serves to emphasize the deeper divide: generations of women who have lived their whole lives being silenced and belittled by men hear a ringing truth in his mansplaining poetry:

She was warned.
She was given an explanation.
Nevertheless, she persisted.

I want to write that up and put it on my wall. Right next to my other pseudo-inspirational sign from Camus’ the Myth of Sisyphus:

They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

It’s the kind of statement that inspires the powerless to rebelliousness; that encourages resistance and strengthens resolve. Those with power will do everything they can to punish you, to silence you, to eliminate you – but no matter how many times that boulder rolls down, you keep pushing it back up. Because when you’re on the side of justice, the darkness cannot prevail.

She was warned.
She was given an explanation.
Nevertheless, she persisted.



We Will Not Stop

There have been a lot of theories floating around that some of the most egregious actions of the Trump administration – such as the confusion over whether the executive order banned green card holders – was intended to promote protest fatigue. So by the time all the really horrible stuff started happening, we’d all be too worn out to resist.

It’s reasonable to think that such a Machiavellian tactic would work – after all, the balance of fighting back and continuing life as normal is a precarious one. We still have bills to pay and work to do.

But if that’s the aim of the administration, I think they underestimate the outrage their policies cause; I think they underestimate the American commitment to democracy and pluralism. There may be a white supremacist serving as a senior advisor to the President, but we will not allow his vision for America to become what America is.

We are better than that and we will not stop fighting.

Perhaps I am naive to have such optimism – and goodness knows I am generally not one for optimism – but…today marks the 5 year anniversary of my father’s death. He was a radical, and he taught me to be a radical. I can think of no better way to mark this date than by attending a rally to make Massachusetts a ‘sanctuary state.’

At that rally, they warned of the danger of protest fatigue while the crowd chanted, “we will not stop. We will not stop.”

And, indeed, we won’t. We will not stop; there is so much work to do.


Demanding Dignity and Respect for All My Neighbors

It’s been a dramatic week. President Trump has signed a number of Executive Orders and Memoranda which strike at the very core of what I believe.

I have been particularly disturbed by two orders signed yesterday; the first on “border security” and the other on “public safety” – phrases which are essentially Newspeak for racial bias and immigrant hatred.  “Tens of thousands of removable aliens have been released into communities across the country,” one order claims.

I am ashamed to hear such hateful rhetoric coming from the President of my country.

But I am given hope by the millions of good men and women who don’t accept such false claims; who have worked and who reaffirm their work to supporting and welcoming all members of our community.

In his Order, President Trump claimed that sanctuary cities – those jurisdictions which have refused to enable a Federal witch-hunt for difference, “have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.”

I say that it is these jurisdictions which epitomize the very fabric our Republic. It is these jurisdictions which stand true to American values; who pursue the vision of a land where all people are created equal and endowed with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I am proud to live in a Sanctuary city, and I am proud that my mayor, Joseph Curtatone, has said in no uncertain terms that we will not waiver in this commitment. These are our neighbors.

I am also proud to serve as the vice-Chair of the board for The Welcome Project, a vibrant non-profit which builds the collective power of Somerville immigrants to participate in and shape community decisions.

In response to Wednesday’s reprehensible executive orders, The Welcome Project released the following statement this morning. And by the way, you can donate to The Welcome Project here. ___

President Donald Trump signed executive orders Wednesday attacking America’s status as a nation of immigrants. We at The Welcome Project are saddened but steadfast. We will not waiver in continuing the work our communities have entrusted us to do; building the collective power of immigrants to help shape community decisions and pursuing the American vision of liberty and justice for all.

We thank Mayor Curtatone, the Board of Aldermen, and the residents of Somerville as they continue to fight for America and support immigrants, community, and Sanctuary City status.  Somerville continues to be a beacon of light and a hope for many. We know that our community only becomes stronger when all people are free to participate in it; that Sanctuary Cities are not about harboring criminals, they are about reducing crime, increasing trust between the police and the community, and offering a better future for our families.

The Welcome Project will continue to work with all members of our community, supporting all immigrants regardless of documentation status. We will stay vigilant in our mission and push for the rights of all. We will work with the immigrant community to ensure their voices are being heard.  We will continue our commitment to justice, equality, and inclusion. We thank all of you for your continued support as we explore the effects these executive orders have on our organization, our constituents, and our city.

Benjamin Echevarria
Executive Director


Perspectives on Protest

Last Saturday’s Women’s March has been widely praised as one of the largest acts of protest in US political history. Attendees talked about the amazing sense of camaraderie, and the inspiration of seeing more people than they could imagine taking to the street.

But, of course, the march isn’t without its disagreements. Now that it’s over, skeptics will ask “but how do we turn this into real action?” And leading up to the march, there were a number of difficult and important questions: who is represented in the women’s march? Who is really represented? What is the role of violence in protest?

There have been a number of great pieces about the racism of the white feminist movement, which has historically, unapologetically, sidelined women of color. In the New York Times, Jenna Wortham reflected on a picture from the Women’s March: Angela Peoples holding a sign that reads, “Don’t Forget: White Women Voted for Trump.” Wortham writes that of all the iconic images to come out of Saturday, this was the one she found most resonant: “It felt indicative of the ways in which the day’s events could be viewed as problematic: the notion that women’s rights were suddenly the most important cause in our nation, or that there haven’t been protests and activist movements worth attending until the election of Donald Trump.”

There have also been interesting discussions about core beliefs required for feminism, as a feminist anti-abortion group was removed from the list of official march partners.

Finally, the march has also raised important questions about the role of violence in protest – and the role of the police in responding to protest. The women’s march was praised for it’s lack of violence – which some have attributed to divergent police response to a largely white protest. That praise also overlooks the work of the Black Bloc – which sought to disrupt the status quo during inauguration and resulted in an infinitely meme-able clip of a neo-Nazi getting punched in the face.

In the Nation, Natasha Lennard argued that while such protests are often greeted with distain by more mainstream activists, their work is essential to to overall goal we seek. Most of us are free riders, benefiting from their actions while distancing ourselves from their tactics. As Lennard writes:

To talk with any romance for the black bloc risks falling into the worst tropes of bombastic revolutionary writing. We don’t don black masks and become instant revolutionary subjects. We don’t necessarily achieve more with property damage than a larger, more subdued rally achieves. In every case, the standard of achievement depends on the aims of the action, and all of us are far from creating the rupture we want to see in the world. One broken window, or a hundred, is not victory. But nor is over half a million people rallying on the National Mall. Both gain potency only if they are perceived as a threat by those in and around power. And neither action will appear threatening unless followed up again and again with unrelenting force, in a multitude of directions. You don’t have to choose between pink hat and black mask; each of us can wear both.

I raise this topics of disagreement around the march, because they are all important questions and they will not go away. Coalitions are hard to build and maintain, and we won’t ever agree on everything – from policy to tactics.

There’s a conventional wisdom that conservative win because they are better at collectively getting on message, while liberals are lost arguing amongst themselves.

But I don’t think that failure and disorganization are a intrinsic part of pluralism. As we continue in the work that comes out of the Women’s March, I don’t want to see us brush these disagreements under the rug – I want to see us embrace them. We need to keep raising these issues, keep having these conversations – and we need to keep working together.

I don’t think those ends are incompatible.


Our Secrets

“None of is us perfect, and each one of us has their own secrets, no doubt. None of is is flawless…but we are sane fanatics of reality living in a treadmill of good compromises.” That is what Comrade Pánczél tells István Balla Bán to get him to spy on his best friend; to get him to give the government incriminating evidence on his friend in exchange for keeping his own dark secret private. None of us is perfect.

This scene comes from a play I saw last night: Our Secrets, by Hungarian actor, playwright, and director Béla Pintér. It’s about government surveillance and control in Communist Hungary, a topic which seemed particularly timely as our own country – which has been no stranger to mass surveillance efforts – prepares to transfer power to a strongly nationalist leader.

There are shows through the weekend at the Emerson/Paramount Center in Boston’s Theater district. I highly recommend you get tickets and go. Spoilers below.

The story focuses on a group of Hungarian folk-music performers. As the play synopsis describes, “Communist Hungary’s dictatorship labeled the cultural acts and their corresponding community events throughout the country as either ‘banned,’ ‘tolerated,’ or ‘supported.’ The folk music scene was labeled ‘supported’ by the authoritarian government, therefore becoming a supposedly safe space for anti-Communist organizers to operate clandestinely, with little government oversight or interference to disrupt communications.”

The staging of the show fully incorporates the role of music in the era, with a giant reel-to-reel playing in the background and the musicians/cast members playing on the sides of the stage.

The story explores the individual tragedies of its characters and “exposes the hypocrisy and violence of the Communist regime, which infiltrated every corner of society to stamp out any whiff of dissent and by any means necessary.”

István Balla Bán and his friend Imre Tatár are both great folk performers. And while Tatár’s girlfriend is zealously pro-Communist, he secretly works as the editor for the underground, ant-Communist magazine, The Iron Curtain. Balla Bán is a pedophile and when the government finds out they offer him a deal: inform on your friend or go to jail. None of us is perfect.

The whole show is fantastic, but perhaps the most startling moment – though undertoned in it’s drama – is when the government turns Balla Bán. They bring him in and Comrade Pánczél asks him to spy. Balla Bán refuses. Comrade Pánczél excuses himself for a moment.

Then out of nowhere another folk-dancer friend comes in. It’s disorienting at first – what is that person doing here? The friend reveals that he’s been working with the government the whole time; that he placed bugs in people’s apartments and therefore recorded Balla Bán confiding in his therapist. The government knows everything because they already have informers.

It reminded me of that moment in 1984 when heroes Winston Smith and Julia seem like they’re going to escape control of the Thought Police, only to discover that the shop keeper who was helping them was actually a Thought Police agent. The whole world gets turned upside down.

And this, perhaps, is the most insidious thing about this kind of government surveillance; about a regime’s domineering demand for control. It’s not just that the possibility of dissent carries grave punishment. It’s that anyone may be turned against you; even your closest friends.

In part, it is this ability to isolate which gives a regime it’s power: if you can’t trust your neighbors; if you have no one in whom to confide, if at any moment your very thoughts could be used against you – organized resistance becomes impossible.

Yet I can’t help but think of the saying: they tried to bury us; they didn’t know we were seeds.


Five Stages of Grief

As conceived by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Of course, as Kübler-Ross herself has said and as anyone who has ever lost someone knows, those stages aren’t linear or fully distinct. They all kind of jumble up in surprising and unpredictable ways. Grieving is a complicated endeavor.

Interestingly, while Kübler-Ross began her model through working with terminally-ill patients, she later expanded it to encompass any form of loss. Loss of a loved one, loss of a job, even loss of an election.

In some ways, that last seems ridiculous – while the Kübler-Ross model has been used to describe the loss felt by fans of a losing sports team, “election grief” seems like it would most likely fit into this category. You wanted something, you invested time and energy trying to get that thing, and then you didn’t get it. It is sad, you grieve, you move on. There’s always next year.

Or, perhaps, four more years.

But I think election grief – particularly around this election – is different. It feels different. My grief, my sadness, my anger, my bargaining – it’s not because we didn’t win, it’s because of how much we still have left to lose.

The sense of loss isn’t about a candidate and it isn’t about a party – it’s a loss of country, of community, of place.

What is this world around me and why do I suddenly not belong in it? Why is everything upside-down and unpredictable? Why does the future suddenly seem so unclear?

Everything is different now and it won’t ever, ever be the same.

Of course, the current election grief faced by liberals isn’t the first or only grief of this kind to be felt in this country. I imagine that President-elect Trump’s victory was fueled in part by Americans who felt this way before the election.

It is, as Joy James has said, the nature of black life under white supremacy, “being denigrated and victimized by your designated protectors is shocking to the core.”

And this, perhaps, is the most tragic thing. It’s hard to see a way forward when so many of my friends and neighbors are fearful for their very lives.

It’s hard to see a way forward when my way of living and thinking, when my very concept of America, is antithetical to the views held by so many in this country. When their views are so antithetical to mine.

After the election, there was an explosion of thought pieces about how the American experiment has failed. But when I went to look that up, I instead found this piece from 2012:  The real conclusion of the American Experiment is that democracy ultimately undermines liberty and leads to tyranny and oppression by elected leaders and judges, their cronies and unelected bureaucrats. 

Thanks, Obama.

Having alternating halves of the country feel like their way of life is being threatened is no way to run a country.

But part of me also feels like this whole thing is a bit melodramatic. Democracy is hard. Our democracy is always failing. I wonder if really, there was ever a time when democracy just worked great and we all just got along.

It seems unlikely.

But that’s not a reason to give up; that’s not a reason to walk away. That’s not a reason to declare that the great American experiment has failed and there is nothing more to be done.

It’s a reason to fight, a reason to roll up your sleeves and work, a reason to talk with and listen to those who disagree with you. It’s a chance to engage in the hard work of democratic living.

Our democracy isn’t failing; we are continually building it as we go.


How to Resist: An Unhelpful Guide

Some days ago, a good friend suggested I write a ‘how to resist’ article to complement the “super-vague or just wrong” articles he had seen circulating in the wake of the recent presidential election.

I’d put off doing so, because I was wholly uncertain of what to say. How to resist? If there was an easy answer to this question there would be no further need of social movement research, there would be no future debate about what types of action are appropriate and effective. If we knew how to resist, there would only be one question left:

When should we resist?

Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good question.

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently talking about how we must act to save the Republic or warning why we should be concerned about an impending constitutional crisis. I’ve been reminded more times than I can count how good people stood by while fascism rose in pre-war Germany.  The end, it seems, is neigh.

And it’s not that things don’t look and feel dire, but in an era where President Bush lead us into pre-emptive war and initiated a Muslim registry, where President Obama increased deportations and the use of drone strikes – it feels hard to tell what is divergently bad.

It feels, instead, like this is the new normal – or perhaps the old normal that our collective memory is too young to remember. One side wins and the other side loses its mind. Then we repeat this process every four to eight years. Each time it gets a little worse.

So, perhaps there is nothing to resist at all. Perhaps we’re just caught in a particularly brutal ebb of our side’s power and there’s nothing to do but ride it out as best we can. As a Trump supporter once told me: it is their turn.

But, of course, there are no turns, not really. Otherwise Jeb Bush would have been on the ballot and Bernie Sanders would be long forgotten. There are no turns.

More importantly, accepting such comfortable discomfort reminds me of the powerful words Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

Calls not to resist, assurances the President-elect is just one more in a serious of imperfect leaders are surely the calls of the white moderate. And this call makes sense: even a legitimate challenge to the election results threatens to wound our democracy. Secretary Clinton conceded for the election for the good of our democracy; because the peaceful – if distasteful – transfer of power is essential.

But such calls also turn a blind eye to the many people who will suffer under a Trump presidency – who have already suffered under the vile hatred President-elect Trump’s rhetoric has unleashed.

Not everyone has the luxury of waiting for a more convenient season.

Earlier I asked, when should we resist? The answer that comes to me, fueled, perhaps by my upbringing in Oakland, CA, is: always.

Václav Havel argued that politics “cannot be enshrined in or guaranteed by any law, decree, or declaration. It cannot be hoped that any single, specific political act might bring it about and achieve it. Only the aim of an ideology can be achieved. The aim of this kind of politics, as I understand it, is never completely attainable because this politics is nothing more than a permanent challenge, a never-ending effort that can only in the best possible case leave behind it a certain trace of goodness.”

When John Dewey writes of democracy as a way a living, this is what I imagine: the constant battle to build the Good Society, the permanent challenge to work in solidarity for a more just and equitable tomorrow. This is the work of citizenship – the work of all who live in a place and consider themselves part of that place. To issue a permanent challenge to ourselves, our neighbors, and, of course, even our government.

Perhaps this is why I find the question of how to resist hard to answer. Resistance isn’t a postcard campaign or a call to an office. It isn’t showing up at a rally or donating to an important cause. All of those things are good, they each, in their own way have the capacity to fuel your energy play a part in making change.

But if you really want to know how to resist, the answer is more complicated than that. Resistance is a way of life, it’s a form a citizenship. It’s a commitment to speaking out and, importantly, creating space for others to speak out. It’s a bold declaration that all people are created equal and its an unequivocal call that we will not, cannot, rest until that equality is manifest is our society. Resistance comes in every word you say, every action you take.

Resistance means that this moment matters, that every moment matters. And with that commitment to noble action and equitable interaction, with that permanent challenge to fight for the Good, we’re collectively left with just one more question:

What should we do?


Civic Hospitality

I recently returned from three days at the annual conference of the National Communication Association. I attended a lot of great panels and enjoyed some enriching, thought-provoking conversations.

I was particularly struck by a comment from Debian Marty, who served as respondent for an engaging panel on “Using Dialogue and Deliberation Practice, Research, and Pedagogy to Shape Society and Social Issues.”

Marty argued that hospitality should be championed as a civic virtue.

This idea received some criticism from the room – most notably for the gendered connotation of the word “hospitality.”

To me, that word also implies a certain artificialness which I don’t think Marty was going for. Indeed, it was a little surreal staying at a Philadelphia hotel just days after the election. While nearly everyone I interacted with was generally gloomy and/or angry, the hotel staff – almost entirely people of color – were professionally upbeat and enthusiastic.

They were very hospitable, and their enthusiasm didn’t even feel forced – but their happy-presenting exteriors were a notable contrast to the general climate.

But, semantic details aside, Marty makes a strong argument. Hospitality – “the welcoming of the stranger as a guest,” as she described it – is a worth championing as a civic virtue.

In Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of EducationDanielle Allen advocates for a somewhat similar approach of “political friendship.” We don’t all have to agree in a democratic society. We don’t even have to all like each other. But we do need to respect each other, care for each other, and make personal sacrifices that support the common good.

It’s a fine line that Allen walks – we should pretend to like each other, but in a way that’s not entirely fake and disingenuous. We need to be hospitable.

Now, this sounds all well and good in a perfect world where we can all just put our differences aside and learn to work together across disagreement – but I worry that this line of reasoning does too little to acknowledge the real and persistent sacrifices that some groups of people have been forced to make for too long.

I want to be hospitable, and I want to champion hospitality, but there are some things – hate speech in particular – which I simply cannot abide or respond to warm smile. As a society, we cannot let such behavior stand.

Allen is well aware of this challenge – indeed, she starts her book with the inexcusably treatment of the Little Rock Nine. But the idea of “niceness” of not saying the things that need to be said out of a misplaced since of politeness, still plagues broader conceptions of “friendship” or “hospitality.”

But civic hospitality or political friendship is something much more subtle than this – something much more important. It is welcoming the stranger as a guest; it is listening intently and thoughtfully, and it standing up for what’s right: it necessarily entails calling out injustice and working against hate.

I don’t know the best phrase for this spirit; our language is so diversely burdened with subtle connotations, but I do know that whatever it is – civic hospitality, political friendship – we sure could use more of it. Fast.


Exit, Voice, and Presidential Elections, Part II

Back in February, I wroteIf elections don’t go the way we like, it shouldn’t be cause to flee, but rather a call to action: our voices would be needed more than ever.

I feel its important to repeat this as comments about leaving the country become more common. Indeed, the Canadian immigration website crashed as election results came in Tuesday night.

Albert O. Hirschman argues that in any interaction, an individual has there options: exit, voice, or loyalty.

Given the rhetoric which came out of the Trump campaign, there are many with good reason to fear for their safety and who may view exit as the only reasonable option. But for a lot of people – for me, for example – I am relatively privileged enough that in practical terms a Trump presidency will mean little more than a few years of disgust coupled with good Alec Baldwin bits.

For me, I think, exit is not a reasonable option – I have a civic duty to stay and fight, to exercise voice in shaping the future of American.

Of course, how one should exercise voice is a different conversation all together.

Should we try for unity or resist from the beginning? Should we wait until there are specific egregious actions we need to oppose, or should we fight now, chanting ‘not my president’ and urging the electoral college to vote differently?

Personally, the later approaches make me uncomfortable – I was distraught by anti-Obama protests which questioned the legitimacy of his presidency and it feels hypocritical to express similar sentiments for someone else. But I’m glad to see these questions being asked and to hear these conversations taking place within the progressive community as we all try to make sense of the world we have found ourselves in.

I have also been thinking a lot about how to be a better ally in the years ahead.  I write a lot about building bridges across our differences and listening to – and trying to understand – people with different perspective from us.

I do think that work is critically important, but it can’t be overlooked that there are fundamental inequities in those opportunities: it’s hard to have a conversation across difference when the person you’re talking to espouses hate for everything you are.

I’ve heard a lot of people saying that they feel like they woke up yesterday as strangers in their own country. It’s a feeling that many of us remember from the election of 2000. And it’s a feeling I heard echoed by conservatives in 2008.

But it’s also a feeling I heard from many people of color when Mike Brown was murdered, or when the Baltimore police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray were acquitted, or following any of the many, many incident which seemed to say clearly: your life doesn’t matter and this country is not built for you.

And that’s just an insane reality to live in. The idea that at any given time large portions of the country feel disempowered, discounted, and disenfranchised; that some large group of people will always feel like strangers in their own land.

Months ago, a Trump supporter told me that she was miserable under Obama and that it was the Republican party’s “turn.” I may want to find that a questionable sentiment, but I also can’t deny I felt something similar after the George W. Bush presidency. Republicans had a go, and now it was our turn.

In the moment, these emotions and perspectives are reasonable and valid…but this is no way to run a country. There are no “turns.” We can’t just continue to tug-o-war the country, growing more and more polarized as we go.

We need to find ways to work together.


The Road From Here

I think and write a lot about the public work we all must engage in to collaboratively co-create the world around us. I often like to end those posts with a simple maxim: there is so much work to be done.

Never has that call felt more urgent.

Politics isn’t just about elections; it’s about living every day in a pluralistic society full of people with different values, needs, and experiences and it’s about engaging every day in the hard work of equitably creating that society together.

John Dewey argued that democracy is a way of life, that it’s a way of living in the world.

The work goes on.

I cannot pretend that I am not personally devastated by the results of last night’s election; that my heart does not break for all those who wake up with very real reasons to fear for the safety and security of their future. I am sad and scared and confused.

But more than ever I feel the gaping divide between Americans. I feel the growing partisan rift across which we fundamentally can’t seem to communicate.

On Monday, when the polls pointed to a Clinton victory, I wrote that regardless of who won the divisiveness of this election indicated that we all needed to learn to show a little more love; that we needed to find ways to listen.

I stand by that sentiment and I hope people across the political spectrum will join me in expressing it.

For many of us today, the world seems dark. This reality seems untenable. But I still firmly believe that love trumps hate; that the arc of the moral universe – while long – bends towards justice.

All across this great country we disagree deeply on many things. But together we stand by those most fundamental of American values: that all people are created equal and endowed with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Regardless of political party, regardless of who you voted for, we must find room in our hearts for each other. We must find ways of living together and working together to build a just world we all want to live in.

This is not a small task and it is not an easy task, but this is the noble, hard, everyday work of democracy.

And there is so much work to be done.