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Cleaning house for political change
Holding a house party for Hillary Clinton might not have changed the election, but who's to say that calling voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania wouldn't have?
- Shannon Drury

by Shannon Drury

"Why are we doing this, exactly?" my son asked, as I demanded he vacuum the living room rug for the twelfth time that week.

"We are doing this," I said, attempting to stay calm while I scrubbed grease stains off the microwave, "for POLITICAL CHANGE!"

"You're acting like Hilary Clinton is coming, Mom," he snorted.

His words pained me. I didn't do a deep cleaning for politics last year - in fact, I didn't do more than stake a lawn sign in my yard and slap a sticker on my car.

I talked politics constantly, but I preached to a liberal, feminist choir. Even my few friends with libertarian/moderate Republican leanings were repulsed by Donald Trump. Every media outlet and voting strategist predicted a landslide Clinton victory.

So I didn't give Clinton more money. I didn't make phone calls to voters in swing states, and I didn't knock on doors in congressional districts that were not my own. I could sit this campaign out; no one needed me. I spent more time imagining celebrating Clinton's victory with my daughter than taking steps to ensure it. Why risk discomfort when I could binge "Call the Midwife" all October?

And then she lost.

When a friend said we should travel to the Women's March in Washington, D.C., I said no. I was so crushed I didn't want to leave my bed, let alone my state. She insisted, and eventually I capitulated.

My broken heart started healing in the raucous crowd of pink-hatted women waiting for our flight. On the National Mall, the energy was contagious, hopeful and powerful. I was deeply moved to see that while the hats were pink, the people were of all colors, genders, ages and abilities. When I returned home, my activist energy was not only renewed, it was transformed. We were the Resistance!

When the former Congressional staffers behind the Indivisible Guide said that phone calls to Washington were more effective than letters, I swallowed my shyness and spoke to Sen. Klobuchar's staff about unqualified Cabinet appointees and outrageous health care bills. My voice shook, but I survived. I repeated the exercise with Sen. Franken and Rep. Ellison, wobbling but determined. Then I called Mitch McConnell's office, where they weren't as happy to hear from me; nevertheless, I persisted.

Several months after the March, my friend Ami Wazlawik announced her second run for a state House seat in her hometown of White Bear Lake. I had an opportunity to do more to support political change in a tangible way.

I donated to Ami's first, 2016 campaign (giving more than I spent on Clinton swag), but since the Women's March, I felt a check wasn't enough. I set my introversion and Netflix remote aside and offered to give her a fundraiser.

If this sounds like a minor matter, consider the fact that I refused to have more than a dozen people over to my house for my own wedding. I do not give parties!

But this time I would, which meant vacuuming, dusting and Windexing everything in sight. "Why are we doing this, again?" my daughter asked.

"POLITICAL CHANGE," my son reminded her sternly.

Holding a house party for Hillary Clinton might not have changed the election, but who's to say that calling voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania wouldn't have? What possibilities arise when we push beyond our fears?

Most of us hate chores; many of us hate lobbying Congress. If you can do the former, you can do the latter. Houses need periodic cleaning, especially the ones that represent us in St. Paul and Washington. Do it - for political change!

Shannon Drury lives in Minneapolis and is the author of a political memoir, "The Radical Housewife: Redefining Family Values for the 21st Century."

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