We have to stand up for what we believe in
I became an American all over again in the days following Jan. 20. Less than a week after the inauguration, people were literally stopped in their tracks by a country that no longer welcomed them. That was the first day I realized what “chaotic cruelty” meant. My president had chosen meanness over humanity. My president demonstrated he didn’t understand what being an American is.
Before, sure in my values and my country, I could entertain debates on the existence of global warming, for example. The actual proof of climate change rests with the scientists. My job is to make sure the issues I fight for are aligned with my values. And, my values are not with the political party that accepts large campaign contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries. Given a binary choice of where to put my mouth and my money, I’d oppose global warming by living in a hut surrounded by marshland and endangered species.
There are so many issues to fight for, among them women’s rights, health care, education and science itself. Fortunately, I found a group of women who wanted to address all of these by getting women into elected office or involved in politics generally. None of us are the people we were before Jan. 20. We are fighting like lives depend on it, together, headstrong, fierce and ready to change the world. We’ve been there before and have little patience for those who haven’t kept up: We have fires to put out! Not only are we going to save our democracy, we are going to shape it with the same hand that rocked the cradle.
Helaine Sanders, LMSW, JD