by Cliff Walker
for the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, June 5, 2020
All this week, the Texas Democratic Convention is ongoing online. We wanted to share this message from the Party’s Deputy Executive Director as we kicked off the Convention this past Monday.—Kendall County Democratic Party
We are reeling. This is a difficult message to write. Words are not enough to ease the hurt or unwind the tightness in the chest. The press is going to spill a lot of ink debating the nature of the protests and often forgetting the reasons why and the ultimate aims. But to quote Reverend Barber, these protests are the guttural screams of people who are not being heard, who are exhausted from having their dignity downgraded, who are being killed along with the soul of this country. Nearly all are saying they are committed to non-violence but they are no longer committed to non-action.
The protests continue in the midst of a historic pandemic and an economy in a near depression. It’s as though we’ve been shaken by an earthquake, hit by a tsunami, and struck by lightning, all in the middle of an inferno.
The challenges are monstrous and are a persistent threat to our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our world — and with little or no relief in view.
But we are not powerless. Our biggest problems are political. So are the solutions.
I take comfort in the understanding that we have real power to effect real change. If we truly believe, then it is time to fix our gaze and steady our aim. This is the literal fight of our lives.
The word “political” is often hurled as an insult. I disagree. Some believe our cracked system is so broken that there is no hope for it. I cannot allow myself to believe that. Our democracy belongs to us. Not equitably now, nor has it ever been so. But the door is cracked enough for us to kick it open.
There are millions to let in. We often talk about being the biggest battleground state, and that the eyes of the nation are upon us. But a powerful majority of our 30 million fellow Texans are looking towards us for leadership as well. It is an awesome responsibility.
They want us to fight to purge the evils in our system. While we can and should scream, we must still encourage each other not to deny our own power out of disgust and despair.
We fight here in Texas because we believe it’s the most important state to do our work. It has long been a tough nut to crack. That is even truer now.
The 48 hours of May 30 and 31 have been some of the longest in memory. The previous 7 days have at times brought me to tears and left me nauseous. We should be under no illusion that the next 156 days will be easier. The tough truth is that the next few months might be some of the hardest of our lives. The power structure in place will not give up easily. They will lie and cheat to keep their grip on power for just a little while longer.
New leaders are being forged by this moment. Each and every Democrat has a critical role to play, but the burden is not yours to bear alone. We are a team and we have a righteous cause. If we stick together and support each other, we will make history.
This has never been just a job for me. It has been my life. To create something new and good. I know I am far from alone.
We are fighting for more than a notch on a scoreboard. We are fighting for our lives. For those whom we love. For the liberation of all peoples.
And finally, after we have screamed, and grieved, and marched; after we have dialed, and texted, and inspired the majority we need to win; we can look back with pride at what we have won, with gratitude for everything we survived and hope for what we will build next.
With hope and love.
Cliff Walker is the Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party