A Dangerous Self-fulfilling Prophecy

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———- Forwarded message ———
From: Robert <robert@citizen.org>
Subject: a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy
To: <peterchallen@gmail.com>

Just a quick note to say “Thank you!” for the tremendous response to my previous message. 
I’ve copied it below in case you didn’t get a chance to read it earlier. 
– Robert 

We have to fight against despair. 
There are many reasons to feel down right now — to feel scared, to doubt the path our country and the world are on. And I know — from communicating with so many Public Citizen supporters and activists like you — how widespread and deep the current sense of gloom is. But here’s the thing: 
Depair’s cousin is hopelessness. And hopelessness is a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy that we simply must not give in to. Hopelessness leaves us helpless in struggles against oppressive forces. 

The antidote to despair is hope.
And so, collectively, we need to work on cultivating hope — not blind faith, but hope.
How do we do that?

Well, let’s start by acknowledging that — in such a perilous moment — it’s not easy. Building hope is a process. While there is no single right answer, and different people will find different ways, this is work we must do together. Here are some thoughts on how to find — and strengthen — hope. 

It can often feel like the country has lost its mind, that a majority are locked into anti-science, conspiratorial, hateful thinking. But in reality, overwhelming numbers of Americans favor a progressive agenda. They want to cut drug prices and end Big Money dominance of elections. They want to tax the rich and restrain CEO pay. They want to address climate change. By large majorities, they favor commonsense gun safety rules and access to abortion. Yes, this cuts both ways. It’s not uplifting that a minority is able to impose its will on the nation. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that we are the majority. 

As disturbing as it is to fall short of winning far-reaching reforms, we should recognize the power we’ve built in getting close to victory — and recognize that falling just shy of passing legislation often foreshadows victories to come. 

• Working together in this shared project called Public Citizen, we’ve pushed insurance giant AIG to restrict support for climate-destabilizing fossil fuels. 
• The U.S. government is sharing COVID-19 vaccine technology with the world. 
• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is working on a rule to protect workers — especially farm workers — from excessive heat. 
• We stopped a Facebook scheme to create some kind of unregulated global currency.
• We filed a lawsuit that forced the United States Postal Service (after Donald Trump put a Republican mega-donor in charge of it) to deliver ballots on time in the 2020 election and that secured commitments to make sure they keep doing so. 

And these are just some of the wins that Public Citizen helped score. 
Beyond our work, think about the Amazon workers in New York voting to unionize, progressive candidates winning elections throughout Latin America, and the mounting evidence from the congressional January 6 committee of Donald Trump’s criminal conspiracy to remain in power. 

We often imagine that “the other side” is super strategic, well organized, united, and farsighted. It is not so. They are fractious and make missteps all the time. 
Believe me, I’m not one to underestimate the power of Big Business, and I take very seriously the rise of neo-fascism in our country. But we shouldn’t imagine these forces to be stronger than they are. 

When things feel like they are going badly, it can feel like that will be the state of affairs for all time. In fact, political tides shift frequently and often dramatically. 
We had national elections in 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2016 that some proclaimed to constitute permanent national realignments. None of them were. Of course, some things — including bad things — do persist. But, in general, political change is a lot less durable than it may seem. 

If an overwhelming majority of Americans support a progressive agenda — and they do — then how do we win it? 
The number one answer is by working together. In our organizing and mobilizing, there is the power to overcome powerful reactionary forces. 
In joining together, we find not just power, but hope. Hope that together we can do great things. And also the hope that comes from standing side-by-side with others (whether in person or virtually), from overcoming isolation, from the feeling of solidarity, and from participating in collective action. 

My hope is that being part of this shared project called Public Citizen infuses you with that kind of hope.
Yes, we can — we must — acknowledge the enormous and often frightening challenges we face.
But for 50 years and counting, we’ve faced great challenges and made great change.
I have no doubt that if we stick together and take care of each other, our greatest achievements are yet to come.
And, before I sign off, one bit of welcome news:

A longtime supporter has offered to match — dollar-for-dollar — every donation that comes in today in response to this message.

Even better, sign up to be a Monthly Donor today and your monthly donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar each and every month for one full year!

Thank you for being part of Public Citizen. 
For progress, 
– Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen 
P.S. If donating today is not right for you, that’s okay. I hope you’ll understand that I need to ask from time to time so that we have the resources to carry out all the essential work you and Public Citizen are doing together. 
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