Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.

July 8, 2013

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a big fan of Friday Night Lights and its motivational mantra,  “Clear Eyes. Full Hearts.  Can’t Lose.”   That spirit and determination has been in full display in real life in Texas these past few weeks.

By now, we all know about Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’ successful filibuster to stop a bill that would have severely limited a woman’s access to basic health care.  But Davis’ epic 13-hour filibuster didn’t happen in a bubble. It was only possible after days of testimony and protests by thousands of every-day Texans, and after years of organizing for a more progressive Texas by many grassroots organizations.

And that brings us to another motivation: the Wellstone Triangle.

This idea – originating with Senator Paul Wellstone – says that long-term progressive change is only possible when electoral politics, public policy, and grassroots organizing work together, strategically, while at the same time, developing new leaders for the future.   Too often, they work in silos.  And we lose.

I know in my heart that the Wellstone Triangle is happening in Texas!

Grassroots organizing, electoral politics, and public policy led to a very long, and very important day for Texas women, and it continues this week.  It is happening because grassroots organizations like Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and others encouraged hundreds of people to testify.  It happened because voters elected State Senator Wendy Davis, who stood up in the corridors of power to speak for those who were not allowed to testify.

And yes, it happened because those same grassroots organizations mobilized thousands of people to the Capitol in Austin not only to stand with Davis, but to be the people’s voice in that chamber, filibustering the vote – successfully.

The Wellstone Triangle is in full effect in Texas – grassroots organizations mobilized to support an elected official in her fight, all for solid and sound progressive (and basic health) policy.  But it’s not over. There will be many many more votes to block and injustices to fight in the coming days, weeks, months and years.  That’s why I’m so excited that Camp Wellstone is coming to Houston, August 2-4th

Wellstone Action has been working closely with the Texas Civic Engagement Table in their mission to increase voter participation in Texas and are proud to partner with them to come there in August. In fact, last year,  Wellstone Action led a civic engagement training on the border, completely in Spanish, that empowered a community to get more engaged with their neighborhood, state, and country.

For everyone inspired and activated by what has been happening in Texas, Camp Wellstone is another shot of training to keep the work going, and part of the Wellstone Triangle's leadership development. 

At Camp Wellstone, we give both candidates and campaign staff a framework for winning the Wellstone Way, from values-based messaging to targeting voters, to fundraising, to working with the media.  And our Grassroots Organizing track gives community leaders new skills to lead their communities towards sustained progressive change.  

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose. It may be true for Football (what do I know?)  But we also think that this is just as true an equation for winning the Wellstone Way: Community Organizing. Electoral Politics. Public Policy.

Somewhere, Tami Taylor is smiling. And so are we. See you at Camp Wellstone