How do we keep going each day, when we work so hard to make a difference in our communities, in our country, and in the world, but we struggle to see measurable difference?
Something that has helped me is remembering that we do as much as we can, and we are capable of. Some days, some weeks we feel stronger, we have more support, we have more resources. Other times, we are drained, and we tag-team out to recharge or to build our strength back up.
Having those kinds of needs to work on ourselves sometimes isn’t wrong, or weak, and it doesn’t diminish the work we do. It’s normal and it’s healthy. Sometimes the things we work on take a long time to accomplish, and we can begin to feel drained or discouraged. During times like this, I like to think of something from Sun Tzu: “If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy float by.”
What this means in the context of a grassroots Progressive movement is that, we are fighting a powerful enemy. We are fighting corporate greed, we are fighting inequality. We work and we work, and we fight, and we resist. It’s important to remember though, that the very foundations of the ideologies we are fighting against are fundamentally flawed. So not only is our enemy fighting us, but they are fighting to normalize what is not normal, they are fighting the natural order that seeks to overturn them, they are fighting for a system that promotes infinite growth in a finite system. They are fighting for the impossible. Eventually it will catch up to them. They are definitely going to lose, NO MATTER WHAT. What we are fighting for, is how many of the rest of us, of our children, families, friends, or total strangers, get taken out with them.
We could wait patiently and the body of our enemy would float by. The system we fight against has sown the seeds of it’s own destruction. However, if we fight for it to end sooner, it means that more people, sooner, will have happier, healthier, safer lives.
So when we need a little break, we don’t need to feel like we’re setting the work back, by taking a day to snuggle up in bed with a book. The system we fight against is still slowly decaying. But on those days when we manage to rally people we know to go to a town hall and hold our elected representatives accountable, we widen those cracks at a faster rate.
We do whatever we are strong enough for, and soon, the body of our enemy will float by.