How many tiny ripples make a wave?

This is Tsu (Tsunami) a big beautiful blue wave created by a local PDX Democracy Club. Every action during the 2018 midterms garnered a sticker, representing a drop in the wave.

Perhaps you’re like me, inspired, excited and charged to make change, and five minutes later, whatever new action you want to take looks too overwhelming. I know a woman who is raising two young boys, works full time as a doctor, writes thousands of postcards to voters, co-hosts a podcast and probably makes her own bread. While I bow at her feet, if I feel like I need to do what she does to effect change, I’m ready to give up before I start.

But that’s not the way this works. As we work to ACE the Election, every action helps. You don’t have to work 24/7 to make a difference. Writing 50 postcards and encouraging 10 people to register to vote is huge. Having a conversation with three friends to make sure they’re going to vote, is epic. I know that seems like I’m giving you a pass to be a slacker rather than a superhero, but you have to remember this:

Hardly any of this great infrastructure existed in 2016.

Indivisible, Swing Left, Postcards to Voters, and Vote Save America, not to mention dozens of other groups, just weren’t around to help Hillary. During the 2018 midterms, we saw how millions of voters were motivated to flip the House and move the needle on local races. The press talked about a Blue Wave, and by the small number of actions from millions, we created a tsunami. It’s simple. We are not working alone, so we don’t have to do everything.

I’m writing 200 postcards to swing state voters. That’s it. Granted, I’ve been working a lot on this ACE project and will do a lot more over the next 100 days, but of all the actions, the only new thing I’m adding (I already listen to the podcasts and read lots of great journalism) is writing. Which brings me to another point.

Go with your skill set.

In other words, do what you enjoy. I’ve worked on a multitude of volunteer projects in my time, and the one thing that leads to a successful project are volunteers who do what they like to do. If you love to talk, have conversations with friends. If you are the de-facto librarian amongst your group, share the resources that excite you. Hate talking to people? Write. Hate any sort of communication, give money. Lost your job and money’s tight? Stick a sign in your yard or bumper sticker on your car. It doesn’t matter if what you do seems small to you, it’s another ripple, and those ripples can make a mighty impressive wave.

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