This weekend, I was part of an email exchange in my state Democratic Party. Aaaaand…it never fails. Somebody started bitching that someone wasn’t attending enough meetings. Someone else called the complainer disrespectful, and off we went. The initial topic of the email thread–trying to make meeting information more accessible on the party website–got completely lost, and wasn’t addressed again until much later.

On that same day, I attended training to be an election observer in my county. Our trainer’s warning could not have been more stark. For the first time ever, he told us, he believed that intentional disruptions to the election process were likely. Disruptions like intimidation of voters, protests in front of election offices, even rioting. We received safety instructions for what to do if we were threatened by violent MAGAs during our shift.

(By the way, if you have a chance to volunteer to be an election observer in your local area, do it! It’s more important than ever.)

It’s a cliche to say that working with Democrats is a bit like herding cats…but it’s a cliche because it’s true. Our meetings always take way longer than expected, because we don’t just bicker about the issues we’re voting on, we bicker endlessly about what the voting process should be. Our party is full of lively and big personalities, which is part of what makes it so much fun. And no, we don’t fall in line easily.

That is all well and good, but it’s also true that we really are in a battle for our democracy. For the first time since I arrived in this country, I’m genuinely worried that our election system will not survive the next couple of cycles–that we will see political violence, that MAGA candidates will refuse to concede, and state legislatures will overturn election results.

So we can’t afford the petty in-fighting. Yes, people on our own side will disagree with us, and yes, people can be difficult to work with. That is not relevant right now. We need to set that aside and focus on what matters–supporting our candidates and making sure they’re elected, putting our message out there, and getting out the vote, while simultaneously keeping an eye out for any voter suppression shenanigans.

The extreme right-wing is organizing and preparing for its assault on our institutions and our republic. Will we be able to unite and oppose this assault, or will we continue hurling finger-wagging emails at each other?

Eyes on the prize, Democrats!

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