When a cause that matters to you is having a hard time, what do you do? James Rigdon found his answer.
This past year has been rough on the progressive cause across the nation. But there are steps we can take to make certain that we don’t keep slipping back.
Imagine you’re a prizefighter. You’ve started your career with a bang, scored a couple of big wins and you’re getting attention. But then the fighting became tough- the opponents, more organized. Your last fight was barely won, and due to luck as much as anything otherwise. But you are ready to get back in the ring, have to get back in there…
And you get clobbered.
There’s no remorse to be had from that fight- you were beat in every way. You tried to play the game as best you knew how, but the opponent had it all- the speed, the training, the money behind his efforts. Even if you were able to stay on your feet through a few rounds, there was no way you were going to win.
So what do you do?
Do you throw in the towel, say that it’s just not in the cards for you? Or do you tell yourself it was just bad luck, just wasn’t your night, you’ve done well enough before that, so stick to what you already know and you’ll do fine?
Or do you decide that there’s more to do, more to learn, in order to not be handled that way again?
For progressives, quitting has never been an option. And hoping that the results of this last election were just a one-time fluke means that the best we’ll ever do is maybe get back what we lost.
That’s just not good enough.
In my own state of Nebraska, taking the approach of just staying the course is certainly not enough. Nebraska has been long-viewed as a republican stronghold, a given, and, as such, elections here have, by the national media, been largely written off. Yet look at one particular accomplishment from the past year alone- when republicans were soundly defeating democrats across the nation, Nebraska housed one of only two US House elections where an incumbent republican was defeated by a democrat.
There is a way to win. That’s why I started working with a group called NebraskaROOTS – it is founded on trying to change the way that the public views candidates and campaigns, training these candidates and campaigns to be more engaging, more active, to involve the public further and not let them feel that either there is no hope, nor that there is no purpose in remaining involved, both at the polls and in the political process. This group is one of a few examples, nationwide, where I’ve seen actual involvement at healing these deceptions which keep us from holding our officials accountable, from the public actively being engaged in selecting candidates, from the process being about the public interest.
Take, for example, two of the major gaps in voting. On the whole, elderly voters are counted on more than younger, and women tend to vote more often than men. These are two areas in particular which need to be addressed in future electoral efforts- the public needs to become activated and the best way to do so is to engage all parties! Please note, this is not about one side taking power, nor regaining control, nor having their own issues addressed, but, rather, about having everyone’s issues addressed, going forward. This is not about being separated and afraid- this is about coming together, and working together.
I have taken my step toward further engagement- as the new year dawns, ask yourself, “What can I do to make sure things continue going forward?”
To support the NebraskaROOTS indiegogo campaign, click here.
Editor’s note: Author James Rigdon is a member of NebraskaROOTS.
Photo: Sarah (Rosenau) Korf/Flickr