American schoolchildren have long been raised to feel pride in that date. We were raised to believe that 1776 means many things: Victory. Democracy. Independence. We think of that as the date when America became America.
And yet, 1776 wasn’t the end of the fight. It wasn’t the beginning of the fight, either.
—It was 1775 when Patrick Henry declared “Give me liberty or give me death!” in an attempt to rouse troops to fight in Virginia.
—It was 1775 when Paul Revere took his ride, when the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought, and the Battle of Bunker Hill.
—It was 1779 when John Paul Jones declared “I have not yet begun to fight!” before losing his ship, but ultimately winning.
—It was 1783 when the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War, and we could begin the hard work of creating a functioning nation.
So what was 1776? It was just a point along the process, a single year in a long, long fight.
Fast forward to 2020.
2020 felt like a triumph.
Helping Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win the White House in 2020, and taking majorities in the House and Senate were undeniable victories.
But they were not the ultimate victory. The fight is not over. Democracy is still at risk, every day. The hardest part is still ahead, and if we don’t keep fighting — and winning — our past victories will be meaningless.
—Mitch McConnell will continue to block every piece of pro-democracy, pro–civil rights legislation.
—Trump's hand-picked SCOTUS majority will continue — for a generation — to threaten election integrity, Roe v. Wade, and the rights of people over corporations.
—The alt-right machine will continue to use state and municipal governments to destroy voting rights and implement legislation that runs counter all of our values.
—White-supremacist fascist citizens will continue to terrorize people of color, people who are LGBTQ+, people who are non-Christian, or who are immigrants.
On January 6, the soldiers of anti-democracy showed us how far they are willing to go. And they have not gone away! They are fighting in public, and they are fighting behind the scenes. They are fighting on the dark web, on “news” shows, at our Town Council and Board of Education meetings and on our highways, in the Supreme Court and our state courts, and in our state legislatures.
We cannot let them be the ones who are fighting the hardest!
We cannot let them control the narrative, determine the rules of engagement, define the battlefields. And most important, we cannot cede the field to them. We will not play by their rules. We want more, we want better. We must continue to fight.
We are rightly proud of our victories in 2020. But 2020 is not the end of the fight. If we want our values to prevail in the United States, we have victories that MUST be won, state by state, in 2021 and 2022.
Does it feel like a slog? YES.
Does the past year of ‘fever and ague,” illness, isolation and fear make it even harder? YES.
Do we need (and deserve) a break? YES.
But this is 1776, all over again. There is still work to be done. In 2021, New Jersey has elections that WE MUST WIN, and that means we have elections we must work to win. We have a gubernatorial race, with a pro-Trump challenger looking to churn up controversy over our COVID-19 response in order to promote his anti-progressive agenda. We have every seat in our state legislature (the State Senate and the General Assembly) up for election, with ultra-conservative pro-Trump candidates nipping at the heels of our historically blue seats, advancing their pro-Trump messaging in ways both subtle and blatant.
NJ 11th for Change is ready to fight this fight. We need your help.
—We are preparing our candidate endorsements, to help educate voters about which candidates represent our values — and which don’t.
—We are preparing to table at local farm markets and festivals, encouraging citizens to register and VOTE.
—We are preparing to launch an ambitious postcarding and text banking campaign, so we can educate voters and send them to the polls with the information they need to make the right choices.
To do all of this, we need your help. All of these actions take money. Can you make a contribution today?
Fighting to protect our democracy is expensive. We have to maintain our subscription access to VAN, the database of voter information that allows us to contact exactly the voters we need to reach with our messaging. We have to purchase supplies for tabling and postcarding, and pay for every text we send to voters in our district.
Can you donate? Every bit helps!
Reminder: Donors who give $50 or more (or $5/mo) will receive a limited-edition NJ 11th for Change mask! If you already have a mask, we'll gladly send you a classic NJ 11th for Change tote bag, instead!
In honor of the Fourth of July and the people who fought that long-ago war for our freedom, please make a contribution today!
We have not yet begun to fight!
Your contributions make our work possible! In 2020, donations allowed us to make almost 160,000 voter contacts in New Jersey's 11th congressional district; our efforts were a big part of making 11 towns flip from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020, including some historically deep-red municipalities. Even Morris County turned blue!Your generous donation goes towards our data analysis and voter-file access, text banking expenses, support for our events, printing, and much more. It allows us to continue our work building a government that is transparent, responsive and accountable. Please visit our "DONATE" link and pledge any amount. Every contribution helps as we charge ahead into 2021 and beyond!
NJ 11th for Change is a 501(c)(4) unaffiliated organization dedicated to advocating for all people of New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District. We foster an engaged and informed community with the power to shape our political representation so that it is transparent, responsive and accountable—and so that it reflects the values of fairness, compassion, inclusivity and a decent quality of life.