this is not okay and we need something to definitively say so

I didn’t read every last article about what the president did or didn’t do this time and I don’t know every nook, crease, and cranny on how the impeachment process works. Here, I’m taking a step back before diving in and organizing my simplest thoughts on impeachment:

  1. If the president committed an impeachable offense, then impeach.
  2. Impeachment is not a “waste of time” that detracts from the “real issues” because upholding democracy is a real issue. I think this argument against impeachment stems from being far too comfortable in the concept of an “eternal American democracy” and not realizing that decline doesn’t happen overnight.
  3. How impeachment affects Democrats’ election chances in 2020 should not be a factor. I believe Democrats should model what democracy looks like¬†now; we cannot put a pause on the democratic process and then hope to reinstate it later. Model what you hope to achieve – and Congress, what is your job?¬†
  4. It’s a process, not theatrics, so treat it like one. This is a president that will thrive during his impeachment – let him throw his own party. He’s an obstacle in the way of American democracy and we must put that on full display without throwing cake (let the record speak for itself). As for Democratic elect-ability following impeachment proceedings, I believe swing districts will be put in less in jeopardy if Democrats handle the process with a straight face. In doing so, we will avoid a). further rallying a Trump base and b). pushing away any swing voters that are seeking a sense of political and societal stability.
  5. Removal of the president is a vote that will die in the Senate, and if not, removal will still result in Mike Pence. Impeachment here will not be about immediate, tangible results, but the precedent we set for the Democratic process and test of moral courage.

I’m not sure if this impeachment decision will be a reflection of American society’s moral courage or an example set for us by our elected leaders’ moral courage or lack of. For me, the jury is still out on whether or moral courage trickles up or down, but I do hope it comes from somewhere; after all, this is not okay and we need something to definitively say so.

“go high,” not complacent

“When they go low, we go high,” said Michelle Obama to the 2016 Democratic Convention. It was a rallying cry then, but what does this really mean for us now?

What does it really mean to “go high?” It feels like a rush of spirit to hear, but we’re left hanging – there’s no guidelines or pamphlet for what “going high” really entails. An indiscriminate giving of patience, understanding, and compassionate education has not moved the boat. For the millions of dinner table representatives of a progressive America, there’s no playbook what to focus on, what to give energy to, and mostly, how to communicate in a way that fully captures “going high” without “going complacent.”

Democrats will win in 2020 if there’s a plan we can take to our dinner tables, Facebook feeds, etc. We need to define what is not in scope to focus on as much as what is in scope. Educating a historically racist Aunt Jane at Thanksgiving when she’s never shown a single ounce of interest in seeking truth, should be out of scope – or otherwise, not worth finite emotional energy. Crafting a narrowed scope definition is not complacency – it’s strategy.

Why is a communications strategy important for every day progressives and not just those running for office? Because our every day interactions with people we know mean more than anything they watch on TV from a Democratic candidate. How we frame these conversations and the spirit we bring to them (a spirit we must consciously preserve) – over time, creates a ripple effect.

There’s just enough people hovering right on the edge of stepping onto the dance floor. How do we communicate safety, trust, and the emotional embodiment of “going high?” The answer is not to backtrack on progressive policy, but instead to understand people vote on feelings, energy, and spirit, and not policy alone. We need to rise to this understanding and, for the people on the edge, who sincerely want to live as good and just, answer for them “how does a progressive vision make me feel not only secure, but more alive, more human, and more connected to my community and the country?” We need an actionable strategy for what it means to “go high” in this political climate, in our every day lives, and our every day interactions. We need a “go high” communications pamphlet in every progressive’s back pocket.