Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I've Got This!

It’s now two days from the inauguration as president of the US a man who is a proven liar, a proven sexual predator, a proven misogynist, bigot, and xenophobe. A man who is trying to reduce the freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, not to mention freedom of speech.  A man who was endorsed by the KKK and Nazis, who has appointed a self-avowed white supremacist to his staff. A man whose candidacy and election has torn the fetters off of the dark side of our country,  causing an eruption of hate crimes unprecedented in our history. On top of this, we have a GOP led Congress attempting to repeal the ACA (with no replacement in sight), and with plans to gut the EPA, the Endangered Species Act, and to remove funding from Planned Parenthood (the latter in the name of being “pro life” - completely ignoring the fact that abortions are at an all time low, due to the availability of birth control, which Planned Parenthood provides!) The governmental checks and balances that our founding fathers created are all out of whack, with the GOP in control of Congress, the White House, and due to their refusal to let President Obama to appoint someone to the vacant spot on the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court. And they have demonstrated a complete disregard for the welfare of anyone in this country who is not white and rich. How are we to live in such a country - a country that looks more and more like pre-WWII Germany? How do we do this?

It’s so very easy to look at all of this and fall into despair and hopelessness. I have to admit, I was in that pit for a while after the election. I just didn’t see what I could do to combat all the evil i was seeing in our country. But I have crawled and scratched and pulled myself out of that pit for a variety of reasons. First, I donated money to groups that are fighting for people’s rights (for a list of such organizations see this earlier blog post.) I also made a conscious effort to be aware of all the people and groups that are rising up and taking action, instead of just focusing on the negative. And I prayed, of course.

Through all of this, what I have come to understand about myself is that my whole life has molded me into someone who is made for such a time as this. Let me explain. From a very young age I considered myself an athlete. i got into running track in grade school, and continued throughout junior high, high school and college. I also added cross country and basketball, which meant I was in training throughout the entire school year. And after college, I spent years playing soccer and softball, and then got into bicycle racing. This means that I know how to work hard. I know how to work with others to accomplish a goal. I know how to face adversity and keep trying. I know how to look at something that seems impossible, yet go for it anyway. I know how to fight! I was not the fastest runner on my team in high school, but my coach put me on the anchor leg of the relay because I would never, ever give up! So for the majority of my life, I have had these lessons of perseverance and tenacity ingrained in my very soul.

And then 13 years ago I got sick and became chronically ill. As my life slowly became constricted and lessened due to my physical limitations, I learned to stay positive in the face of this loss. I learned to not give into despair and hopelessness, in spite of living with an illness that has no cure, one that has left me completely disabled and mostly housebound, taking away the things I loved to do. I learned to face a life that I didn’t want, that was unfair, that was so freaking hard! The lessons I learned from a lifetime of athletics translated perfectly to facing a life with a chronic illness.

And, guess what? These are the same traits that I need to live in such a time as this! I know how to fight a seemingly hopeless battle. I know how to not give into hopelessness and despair, despite what life throws at you. I know how to work with others to achieve a goal. I know how to live in a country ruled by Nazi oligarchs! My whole life has prepared me for this!

So, yeah, I’m not giving up. I may not be able to change the country on my own, but if we go down, I’ll go down fighting! On my deathbed, I’ll be able to say I fought the good fight. I ran the race so as to win. I stood up for the oppressed, I spoke for the helpless, I fought for the rights of my brothers and sisters. I know how to do this. I’ve got this!