I like fighting battles big and small. But I most like fighting battles that need some skill to win, that are 70% or 80% or 90% of the way there.
You may be the same in that regard.
I like entering the fray when some people see hopelessness, but in which, because of my combined life experience, I can look and see a clear path to victory.
We each have areas of life in which things look like a jumbled mess to everyone else, but where we see order when we enter the room. “The moment would have such impact if they could only see that moment for the opportunity that it is and seize that opportunity,” you might sometimes find yourself saying. You likely know this feeling in areas of your life — you enter the room and see that everyone at the table, everyone in the deal, has made a mess of things and are running through a key opportunity like chickens with their heads cut off. I’m not just talking about armchair quarterbacking. I’m talking about ways you can concretely influence a situation.
Nancy can walk up to a knitting project and unwind the trouble.
Sam can look at a behind-schedule and over-budget construction site and put things perfectly on track.
Gabe can step into a family and tell them to turn their focus onto things that matter, speaking gently enough to sort out trouble.
Simone can spot the underutilized talent and bring it in the door.
Kevin can see the tree for what it is and how to make it healthy.
Kim can see all sides in a conversation talking past each other. She can reign them in enough to get them speaking the same language. She can get them speaking to each other and to speak to each other productively.
John can take an electronics project and make it right again.
These people see order where others see nightmares. They see paths to victory where others see abject defeat.
How good it feels to walk into the fray and to be part of the solution. It feels all the better in those situations to also be able to edify others, to build them up, to train them in those skills along the way as you help them.
The goal is not to proverbially give a man a fish, but to teach a man to fish.
The surgeon in training watches a procedure once, he does a procedure once, and he teaches a procedure once. In three procedures, he is to have gone through those three steps and to know what he is doing. Those are the expectations on him. It is fair to hold similar expectations in our own lives.
We can walk through life being learners and teachers in the same way. We can build ourselves up as we minister to others and more importantly — build them up at the same time.
Election Day is ahead.
I don’t want to help in the Florida Governor’s race or Michigan Governor’s race right now. I don’t want to enter the fray of those races. I do, however, want to help people find order where they can see no order.
Each one of us can do that in the elections. Each one of us can step into an election big or small to bring order to it.
That process looks approximately like this:
1.) Ask your most important questions to the candidate or staff to vet him (but make it quick, and don’t waste anyone’s time, since elections are close).
2.) Do some diligence or use your intuition to determine if he’s lying.
3.) If he is good, (or at least better than the other guy on your key issues) then commit to vote for him.
4.) Get substantially involved on his campaign.
5.) Help him win.
6.) Keep working with him on the next battles ahead, if he doesn’t win. Build something special together.
7.) Work with him after he wins. Work alongside him his entire term, especially when issues important to you come up. If you want to be extra generous also help him with issues that are important to him even if they are not your most pressing issues.
8.) If he burns you, work to replace him.
This is the system we live under and one that is pretty effective, except for this — a bunch of people in the American populace (about 95 out of 100) have been conned into thinking that the process above ends after steps 1, 2, and 3.
The worst people in society would like you to think that. The worst people in society would like you to outsource the rest of the process. The worst people in society would like you to say “That is not my job.”
The worst people in society want that because then it becomes something that they end up with unlimited influence over.
And then you know what happens ?
Well, just look around you.
It isn’t the bad people who brought us here. The bad folks are with us in all periods of time. They do not determine the trajectory of history.
It is the good folks, the ones who know better, and who decided to go do something else with their time. Those are the ones who brought us here. It is the people who thought their work was done after steps 1, 2, & 3. They thought themselves good citizens for doing the sub-par, not-even-bare-minimum.
And then you know what happens ?
Forgive me for belaboring the point, but just look around you.
That is what happens.
Look around you, and you can identify so much of the neglect anywhere you find it in our culture. You can tie that neglect back to the neglect that good people showed in refusing to demand a higher standard.
The situations around us are the types of situations that predictably occur when good people do not stand firm on their values and publicly work diligently for them.
And in all likelihood, people like you and me who saw the evil and did little to curtail it, people like you and me hold some of the blame for why things are so dastardly cattywampus.
It is popular to blame “the squad” or the imposter-in-chief. It is popular to look at the sham of what took place in Detroit as they covered the windows of the counting rooms on the TCF Center on November 4, 2020. It is popular to talk about the counting rooms in Georgia in November 2020.
But all of that is ultimately a distraction. It feeds the exact wrong place to give the attention: on the bad actor entering into the vacuum of power and influence.
The bad actor was only able to do that because there weren’t a dozen other good guys in the room.
Why weren’t you in the room? I’m not talking about Georgia or Detroit, if those places are far afield. I’m talking about your own backyard. Why weren’t you in the room? Why aren’t you in the room for every important decision? Who else did you think was wise enough, discerning enough, and upright enough to deserve to be in the room in your place?
Six decades ago, they vowed a long march through the institutions. And they accomplished exactly that. They didn’t just do that, though, they got virtually every person of good character to stay home and occupy themselves with distraction.
Listen to me: watching YouTube and getting shocked at the horrors of the 2020 election IS DISTRACTION.
Entering into the fray and being involved in the biggest way you can impact the outcome is the very opposite.
If you are taking action and watching an occasional YouTube video to brush up on skills, you are doing good. If you are doing more than that online you are doing bad. On-the-job-training will get you a long way. Just being willing to do something on Election Day will get you a long way.
Seldom do I find “just do something” to be a good policy.
In elections, it is. If you care about the future of your country or community, Election Day is a day that you need to be taking off of work, taking off from other responsibilities, and focusing 100% on the election. In what capacity? In any capacity. Call the county clerk and tell them you will work 6am to 9pm that day in any way they want. Call a candidate you believe in and say the same. Bring your own sack lunch and do the work they need of you. Do it with a smile of gratitude too, for they have given you the chance to unwind some of that neglect.
Why do I suggest this process of just doing anything?
Because we live in a country right now in which an ultra minority, less than 5%, believe that the political class is operating in their benefit. That political class is taking us off a cliff while people of good character do nothing.
And when I say nothing, that includes YouTube, social media, and the top 3 steps above. No matter how good those things are, if it stops there, it is nothing. It is sub-par and sub threshold stimulus.
It is nothing.
Just voting is the equivalent of nothing. I agree with the common trope that voting is virtually pointless. The problem is the context of that trope. “Voting is nearly pointless, so sit home and don’t even bother to vote,” is not the context of that trope. The context of that trope is this: “Voting is virtually pointless, so that is reason to be even more involved in any community you care about and any freedom you value.” Participation is far from pointless. But I know this much — He who can’t be bothered to vote is he who can’t be relied on for much else.
On Election Day, you need to be doing something.
I have watched the dead vote. I have watched elections be stolen. I grew up in the toxic political environment of Chicagoland politics. I know that politics is a crime of opportunity. If someone is there watching — or at least looking like they are watching — the crime can’t happen. If that person isn’t watching, well there are plenty of political operatives who are trained that you’d practically be an idiot not to commit the crime and save your nation from the evil other guy.
And though I am referring to voting, I don’t just mean to be vigilant at the polling place, I mean in all areas of government and in all areas of life. It is vigilance that is so necessary to defend your freedoms.
The people now in power could never be elected by a vigilant society. The only way they can assume power is by distracting you, discouraging you, keeping you home, and then stealing it.
On Election Day, this Election Day and every Election Day, from 6am to 9pm you need to be doing something. Anything. Wherever you are, you will be playing a role. And the next election you’ll be able to play a bigger role. And a bigger one after that.
But it starts somewhere. It starts with you in your life taking action. The most minute action that day moves us away from the extreme of non-participation that we now exist in.
I need you to step into that role on Election Day and find a win. Any win. Just show up and win at something that day.
Doing so will build you into something more than you are today, and doing so will grow your community into more than you have right now.
This moment needs you.
How do you build a campaign that is dedicated to becoming an institution? That is where my next week of focus will go as we head toward the elections. Join me in my free newsletter (https://realstevo.com) as I guide candidates toward doing exactly that. If you have ever wanted to understand politics better, the next week in my newsletter will be filled with passion and contemplation about the process that you will find nowhere else.