Realization is an amazing thing

4 mins read
"Speak Up" by Taymaz Valley. (CC BY 2.0)

On June 16, 2015 – the day DJT announced his candidacy for president – I thought, “Oh, hell to the no!” That was the day I finally got involved in politics. 

I flopped around for a year or so, not knowing what to do, connecting with groups and campaigns and bitching on FB and Twitter and-and-and…. 

Fast forward to November. 2019. 

We are in a systemic national crisis I never could have imagined in the United States of America. This crisis makes Nixon and Watergate look like a bad day at a horseshoe-crab-riddled beach. 

Yet, as egregious and unconscionable as the words and actions of DJT have been, I know that, while our national problems have often arisen from – and are certainly exacerbated by – the disaster in the Oval, they go beyond him, too. 

A couple years ago, I was working a good job at a local university. The insurance was okay, as long as I worked there. When I quit the job to go to school full time to get a degree, suddenly no insurance. I realize what a problem getting health insurance is. 

Recently, I applied for Social Security. I worked 47+ years but my SS is not enough to pay for rent and utilities and food. I realize what a problem living on SS is. 

I have friends who are LGBTQ. They face Conversion “therapy,” adoptions denied, parents withdrawing love and support, suicides, bullying. Equal freaking rights and a cake, for God sake! I realize how hard that is. 

I have friends who are Native American. I realize how hard being Indigenous is. Discrimination, poverty, lack of due education resources. Voting rights denied because reservations don’t have street addresses. Columbus Day can suck it. And I’m no longer so warm and fuzzy about Thanksgiving, either. We were invaders in their land, Goddammit! 

I have friends who are Hispanic. I realize what a problem that is. I wish I could speak two languages, as most of my Hispanic friends do. 

I have friends who moved here from other countries, their home languages and customs disparaged and called out. I realize what a problem that is. 

I have Jewish friends, and their synagogues are being bombed and shot up, their cemeteries desecrated and marred by Nazi symbols. I realize what a problem that is. 

I have Muslim friends, and they are being targeted and abused for no reason. Hijabs torn off, insults thrown, employment denied. I realize what a problem that is. 

I have Black friends, and they are being shot for no reason, targeted by police, called disgraceful names in public. I realize what a problem that is. 

Realization is an amazing thing. 

For many years, I guess I was blind to the injustices. Call it white privilege. Call it head-in-the-sand. Call it ignorance and acceptance of the status quo. I don’t speak up because I’m afraid they’ll come for me next. I speak up now because it’s the right thing to do, for my family, my friends, my fellow Americans. 

Look at your friends, your neighbors, your workmates. Have you considered walking just a few steps in their shoes? 

I have found a home with DemCastUSA. I also dabble in the North Dakota Democratic Non-Partisan League, LGBTQ groups, gun sense groups, impeachment groups, Black History groups, Hispanic Groups, Native American groups, Muslim groups, Jewish groups, DACA groups. There are loads of other progressive groups out there…you just have to look.

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