In the dime stores and bus stationsI've spent the morning reading accounts of yesterday's election, listening to friends break the situation down amongst themselves. But this beautiful Dylan song continues to run through my head today.
People talk of situations
Read books, repeat quotations
Draw conclusions on the wall
Some speak of the future
My love she speaks softly
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all
-Bod Dylan, Love Minus Zero/No Limit
There's a lot to be considered this morning. In the mountains of data at our disposal, there are assumptions to be made and conclusions to be drawn. There are small victories to be cheered, like the turning over of the senate. We have more victories ahead of us in local elections, and a strong base of friends and volunteers.
As working men and women, we've weathered much worse. While I see the economic stability of the middle class slipping away, I think we've got plenty of battles we can win to provide protection. Saul Alinsky always tried, when he was working with a new group, to win small battles first. We did the opposite - we picked a huge fight, against enormous power and gobs of cash. It's not really amazing that we lost. What's amazing is that we even had a chance.
We're so much more powerful today than we were 16 months ago, if only for the simple fact that we know each other. 45% of this state last night committed to a new future for Wisconsin. It's our job to use this muscle everywhere we can. Yes, we need to look at our failure and ask, "how." But we also need to look at the victories here.
We also need to find out how to broaden our appeal. Our key message is economic justice for the working men and women of Wisconsin. We've got a strong coalition of the Farmers Union, teachers, public sector unions, the tribes, and progressives across the state. We can make significant gains for large amounts of people if we work together.
Our job, over the summer, should be to honestly convince one uncommitted person apiece. We need to make the case that getting involved is important, that we're better off standing together against big corporate power, and that we need strength in the movement. We're not there yet, but we're close. We may not win every battle, or every election, but we can maintain our voice as a united group.
I feel such a heartfelt sense of solidarity with all those who put themselves out there on the front lines. The candidates themselves, the callers, and all those who worked so hard to do the bare-knuckle organizing and canvassing for our cause. We all know how important it is to stay engaged. Let's keep moving forward - we've taken a lump today, but we can dust ourselves off and, after a bit of a breather, come out stronger than ever. Wisconsin will be ours!