The New Faces of Congress (+ a closer look at the numbers)

After five days of textbanking-icing-heating-bedrest, I woke up today and my back pain was gone. POOF! People keep asking me what I did to hurt it in the first place, and maybe it’s all the texts sent from the couch, at the kitchen counter, crunched up in bed. Maybe it’s gone because I can breathe again.

Or maybe it’s this. Yesterday I posted a sample of the return texts I received from registered voters around the country, and I left out the worst stuff because it felt like an assault. After a lifetime of trauma, sugar-coating has been my default survival strategy. I’m working on giving that up.

Out of 12,000 texts:

  • 80+ times I was told “f**k you” or *f**k off” or “go the f**k away” or “shut the f**k up.”
  • 40+ times I was called a b*tch.
  • 20+ times I was called a c***t or a f***ing c**t or a stupid f***ing c***t . (One guy even took the time to record it in a screaming voice memo.)
  • 10+ people called me an assh*le.
  • 4 women sent me Schwarzenegger-like six pack memes with Donald’s head attached. One woman added “I’m voting for this handsome guy.” (I politely reminded her that the GOP-in-Chief isn’t up for reelection for another 2 years, and suggested some Congressional candidates instead.)
  • 3 people called me a “demtard.”
  • 2 people called me an asshat.
  • 1 guy offered to p**s in my mouth and sh*t down my throat “like all you Democrats deserve.”

I am recording it because this is what people say when they don’t have to look you in the eye. Some people say it when they do. This is why people vote the way they do. This why I kept texting.

Last night’s victories are incredible: according to most reports, there will now be more than 100 women in the House in 2019 for the first time in history. In fact, women made up 52% of the overall electorate. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest person ever to be elected to Congress at 29, won easily in NY. Sharice Davids and Lauren Haaland, both Native American women, were elected to Congress. Somali-American Ilhan Omar is the first Muslim woman elected to the House of Representatives – she came to the US twenty years ago as a refugee. My local hero, first-time candidate Katie Muth, won a State Senate seat! Former registered nurse Lauren Underwood is now Congresswoman Underwood.

No, it’s not all good news. Beto.McGrath. Gillum. Heitcamp. Cordray. I swear, after I hit publish on this post I’m going to build an altar for Stacey Abrams, Andy Kim, Antonio Delgado and the other “too close to call” races. To understand more about what it means that Stacey Abrams is requesting a recount, this piece in The Atlantic is a must-read.

Last night, as the crowd in Illinois cheered “Lauren! Lauren! Lauren,” Congresswoman Underwood waved and smiled and said:

“Look at what we have done…you stood up and declared that this community deserves better.”

So how should we feel today? A little while ago George Takei summed it up: “If you’re wondering about how to feel this morning about the election, my friends are reporting that their Trump-voting relatives are unhappy.”

 

 

 

Short game: 1) laugh when you can. 2) feel all the feels.

Long game: get back to work.

3.5% Project

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