Once upon a time I was what most people would consider an average person. I went to work (then retired somewhat early), loved my family and friends, enjoyed involvement in my community, appreciated the arts, lived within my means, saved when I could, basically did what I was supposed to do. Politically, I was somewhat complacent, even though there were times when I wrote to my elected representatives to let them know my thoughts on a given topic. After all, they “represent” me and should know what I think, right? Overall, though, it was easy just to live my life and not pay too much attention to the goings-on of government, whether it was local, state, or federal. Ho-Hum.
After the 2016 presidential election, I–along with millions of others nation- and worldwide–witnessed what we thought could not happen. I was stunned when a man that I thought of as a “joke” as a candidate was elected. Good Lordy.
To many of us, he represented the worst type of person. During the campaign, we witnessed him incite violence at rallies, mock the disabled, brag about abusing women, use ridiculous catch phrases (“drain the swamp”, “build the wall” etc.) that he felt resonated with the most people; he seemed to be xenophobic and intolerant of “different” ethnicities and religions. I could go on….and on. You may have experienced some of the same shock, distress, and fear that I did after the election. I wondered how good people–in some cases my own family and neighbors–could vote for such a man.
How can he now, as president, represent my ideals of compassion, inclusion, respect, and preservation of important social safety nets (think HCA, Medicare, Social Security)? If his early record is any indication, he can’t. His nominees for high-level cabinet posts are largely of the same ilk as he is: ultra-rich white men who seem content to parrot back to him what he wants to hear. So far, just a few weeks into his administration, many in Congress seem unwilling to confront his recklessness. In some instances, they seem to be grinning and rubbing their hands together because they see a clear path to dismantling those safety nets listed above, as well as the EPA (breathing is still important to most of us) and public education. Their goal, it seems to me, is to reduce taxes for large corporations the wealthiest among us, reduce regulations that protect our safety, and isolate America.
I wake up each day and ask myself what the President and Congress are going to do today to have the most negative impact on the most people because that seems to be their goal.
The upshot is that I have laid my political complacency to rest. Like millions of you, I have become a passionate letter-writer, petition-signer, caller, and marcher. A Resistance Fighter. I will attend Town Hall meetings along with you so that our “representatives” can see our outrage first-hand. I was delighted when senators begged constituents not to phone them because the system could not handle the volume of calls. Good for us all. Overwhelm them with our demands and then follow up when we vote. Back in “the day” when I sent letters to Congress, I did not expect that my one voice would make much of a difference. Now, though, I am confident that our MILLIONS of voices will be heard if we stay vigilant and are unrelenting in our efforts.
Remember, WE WILL BE HEARD.