The loss of the Democratic candidate to a Republican in two Congressional races last night – in South Carolina and Georgia – has me aching and disappointed. The elections were scrutinized precisely because we believe(d?) that they were litmus tests, microcosms of the country’s political pulse as a whole. We were hoping that our anger and protestations at the actions of the Trump Administration and our Congress was palpable enough to have reverberations at the local level. This has not been the case so far.

Nobody likes a defeat, but it feels especially painful when the gains are so minute at the start. These were small House elections that could make the resistance tangible, effective, and progressional. Georgia was winnable. We didn’t win. I don’t think it’s useful to act or be defeatist, though. I don’t see the point in giving up. At the very least, it’s easy. It’s lazy. What does it say about us – individually and collectively – if we choose complacency?

In my hometown in Northern Virginia, though, there are seedlings of hope. Small hatchlings of neighborhood outreach crop up on occasion. My commute to work suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, began to sprout inspirational front-lawn messages of acceptance and unity: Hate Has No Home Here. It doesn’t have to be just my community. The grassroots project is straightforward and simple, and gives me a sense of optimism about people that are willing to openly defy the encroaching darkness of cynicism and apathy. Think of these signs further south or west of my state. Think of the impact. It’s not an election, but it’s a statement. It’s something. Do your something.

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