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election anxiety countdown

51 Days: This Is What You Did

Is it holding you down?
This great weigh I miss, flattening
And it’s breaking you up
All your frequencies shattered in…

This is what you get
This is what you did
This is what they want
Why are you still here?
This is what they said

This Is What You Did, This Is The Kit

One of the most memorable concerts I made it to in the year (or two) before everything shut down was seeing British singer-songwriter Kate Stables’ band This Is The Kit at DC9, a small stage just a few doors down from my place. I knew nothing of them before a friend recommended the show on Facebook. Of course, DC9 can’t host shows now, and Kate and her band can’t cross the Atlantic to support their new album. But at least there is a new album.

I heard the first single weeks ago on The Current, streaming radio from my home state of Minnesota. This Is What You Did has much of the character and cryptic poetry I love of their earlier albums. I’m looking forward to hearing the rest.

On Sundays, I’ve been posting one simple thing to do to help end Trump. So, why all this love for a British singer-songwriter today? I heard _This Is What You Did _again today and could not help associating it with the final lines of Kamala Harris’ speech at the Democratic convention:

…our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and they’re going to ask us, “Where were you when the stakes were so high?” They will ask us, “What was it like?” And we will tell them. We will tell them not just how we felt. We will tell them what we did.

— Kamala Harris

“This is what you did,” is what I imagine saying to a Trump voter as I stand next to them and point at the ruins all around us. The beauty of Stables’ lyrics is that “what you did” could as easily be making a mess of a relationship as making a mess of the planet. And the same goes for the question posed in the chorus. “Why are you still here?” could be asked of a cheating lover or the President.

But I also hear, “this is what you did” in the voice of the grandchild of the future from Harris’ speech. At some point, they will know what we did in 2020, whether we tell them or not.

I believe we will end Trump in November and be able to “tell them what we did” in the hopeful sense Harris’ meant. But the flip side of Harris speech, the pessimistic implication we are meant to be motivated to avoid, is that if we don’t end Trump in 50 days time, we will be standing next to that grandchild at some point. We’ll be looking out on the ruins all around us as they say, “this is what you did.”

Today’s Sunday action: Get out a pen and paper and make a plan for what you’ll do between now and election day: how you’ll vote, what you’ll do to help end Trump, what you’ll do that you’ll be proud to tell grandchildren. Check out the previous Sundays for ideas. Studies show you are far more likely to follow through with something if you make a plan, if you write it down, and if you tell someone else about your plan. So do all three. You can tell me if you don’t have someone else to tell (erik@erikmoe.com). Maybe write it in the form of a letter to your grandchild. Tell them what you did.

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