I’ve been engaged in discussions with a couple of people today. I also have to thank Pastor John Paplovitz for his post from April 24th that I read today. My discussions and Mr. Paplovitz’s post inspired me to lay out some of what I’ve been feeling and thinking recently. And for the last 7 months.
I, like millions of others, have been reeling from November 8th’s election results. I haven’t written anything regarding the election or the state of affairs in Washington D.C. I suppose I have just been so overwhelmed by everything that has been happening since then and especially after Inauguration Day.
From the “Muslim Ban,” to the repeal of the ACA, to our withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, to the rollback of Civil Rights in our Justice Department, to daily updates of Russia’s interference in our election and the current administration’s likely participation in it, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the turn our country has taken.
We currently have a national Republican Party who is happy to sit idly by while the occupant of the Oval Office works hard to dismantle the very foundations upon which our country was built. They still attempt to blame Hillary Clinton’s e-mail “scandal” for what a Republican administration is doing in obstructing justice and attempting to subvert our constitution.
So, it’s easy to feel exhausted. To feel depressed. To feel hopeless. Except…
I work for a state legislator. I read and listen to various communications every day from constituents. Conservative and Liberal alike. Among Conservative constituents, there is a lot of communication regarding refugees and our status as a sanctuary state (“We don’t want refugees. They’re a waste of money. Why should my tax dollars go to someone who is a coward for fleeing their own country.” Seriously…). Similarly, there is a lot of communication from Liberals on the same topic (“Please add MORE money to the budget for refugees. We’re not doing enough. They’re new here and scared and don’t know what will happen. We have to help them.”)
The differences between the communications of each are very clear.
Reading and listening to such communications can be exhausting. It’s easy to become jaded and cynical after reading so much hateful rhetoric every day.
Other times, it can be incredibly heartbreaking. I recently read a letter from a family member of a child who was murdered. I also read letters from numerous victims of childhood sexual assault. I would be lying if I told you I have never sat at my desk and cried at some of these communications.
So, today was a day I began to feel overwhelmed again. And sad. And helpless. And then…
I remembered where I work. The other things I see on a daily basis.
I see all of these communications from constituents turned into action. I see literally THOUSANDS of emails on single pieces of legislation. Legislation that didn’t exist at the beginning of the legislative session this year. Legislation that was introduced a mere 3 weeks ago. I saw those voices literally move brand new legislation through our system in a matter of weeks, to pass both houses of our Legislature and end up on our Governor’s desk to be chaptered.
I have seen legislation that had some support, but gained STRONG support after thousands of constituents wrote in about it. Hundreds of phone calls as well.
This. This is what gives me hope.
For everything happening in our country right now with lies, hateful rhetoric, and what I equate to attempted murder with the attempted repeal of the ACA, there IS good. At the national and at state levels.
Sure, the day after the inauguration, we saw millions of women and allies show up around the world to protest a Commander in Chief who has no qualms with sexual assault.
We recently had the March for Science and March for Truth.
And these marches are necessary.
But what REALLY gives me hope is the action I see every day at the state level. I see every day hundreds and thousands of people banding together for common causes. They make a difference.
So. Do. You.
We all do.
Our voices matter.
So, while we simultaneously despair and work our tails off to make a difference nationally, we must do the same for our states. Whichever state that may be. That is where we can make huge strides in changing laws and outcomes. This is where we can start making changes more immediately.
In a nation where our immediate and distant future is unknown and on such brinkmanship, we cannot forget to pay attention to what is happening in our state. And that is where our battle should begin.