I didn’t know what to do – So I wrote.
t’s been 10 years since I cast my first vote for Barack Obama. He ran when I was 18-years-old and I felt so lucky, and so energized throughout that campaign. I donated the little money I had, I made calls for his campaign in my tiny dorm room in Denton, TX – and then he won. I remember waking up on November 5, 2008 feeling like joy was radiating out of my body. The sun was shining brighter, hope for the good was coming to the surface and I thought that everything that Martin Luther King Jr, John and Bobby Kennedy, John Lewis and many others had fought for was coming true. And it was. Americans had voted for change. And we did it again in 2012.
In 2016, something happened. And our worst fears unfolded in the next two years. We had a divide; a deep, deep divide that challenged the truth, the good, the right and humanity in not only our country, but our world. Donald Trump’s win set off alarms for all who had held in their darkest thoughts, to speak on them and act on them. We were living in an upside-down version of this great country and then one day I saw a video of Beto O’Rourke on my Facebook feed.
The rest of this blog/letter/confessional/thank you note is dedicated to Beto.
Dear Beto –
I didn’t understand why you started so small. Only going to smaller counties at first, taking donations strictly from individual donors. It’s because we’ve become so jaded on what the power of people can accomplish. It became clear you were traveling to all of these counties to actually meet, talk and understand the constituents in this big, beautiful state. You wanted to go into places that no one had been – and you didn’t let your opponent forget it. You were building your base. You were handing over this election to Texans so we could fight for our values and you became our Whataburger-loving, skate-boarding, heart of gold true-Texan that we all believed in.
You didn’t go negative. Even in the debates when your opponent was at his worst, you held your own and spoke your truth and the truth you wanted to work for on behalf of all Texans. And we believed you. Texas showed up for you. We were volunteering. We were registering voters who had never voted before. We were energized knowing that maybe Texas isn’t a red state – maybe we’re a state that doesn’t know our truest potential for diversity and progress
We didn’t know it until you came along and made us believe that we deserved better.
Through your live streams, your countless social media posts, the attention you garnered from a state that is written off – We saw the light you are. More people voted in counties during early election this year than voted during our past Presidential elections. You were getting us out there, and you were doing it one county, one meaningful connection at a time. You inspired not only those in the Lone Star, but those across our great nation. We were all rooting for you – and we still are.
On November 7th – we’re going to wake up and feel defeated. But we shouldn’t. More importantly, you shouldn’t. You defied odds. You changed the game. You started the fire. We’re going to keep this fire going until 2020 and beyond. Texas may be a little more purple because of you. Politics is forever changed because of your campaign. You even helped get other candidates over the finish line that may not have had a change without your impact to get us out to the polls. There is so much more coming for you.
This door didn’t open, but there are so many doors for people like you. Because you are a star, Beto. Not in the Hollywood way – but in the way that inspired first time voters from 18 to 80. The star that listened to his state. That campaigned and fought for them. And you know what they say about the stars in Texas – They’re big and bright.
You fought hard. You changed us. We love you, Beto.
With hope and a whole lot of gumption,