Why I can’t give up…and I hope you won’t either

It was one of those weeks where you hardly knew where to look–between the plea deal with Michael Flynn and the North Korean missiles, I’m a little surprised people are even talking about the tax bill, but they are.

In fact, I’ve heard many, many people bemoaning its passage.  It’s been a wildly unpopular bill with the American public so it makes sense that the majority of us are disheartened that all the Republican senators line up and support it.

But I’ve also heard a lot of people talk about how tired and frustrated they are and how much they want to give up and throw in the towel.  It’s been a long, hard year; I’ve written about just how hard it’s been for our family, I’ve lost lots of sleep over these threats to healthcare (I’m up late writing this), and I’m really scared and worried, too.  So I can really understand if you feel like things may never change and it’s not worth it, and you just want to give up.  I think I know how you feel.

But we can’t give up just because things are really, really hard.  That’s why we have to fight harder than ever.

And I don’t know about you, but it’s not a matter of whether I want to give up or not.  I simply can’t give up when we’ve passed a bill that creates tax cuts by cutting the very programs that taxes are meant to fund and forcing the very people who can’t afford taxes to pay them.  I can’t give up when we live in a country where private health insurance doesn’t provide the things that people with disabilities and people who are sick need to live, yet this bill makes cuts to the very programs that keep them alive and give them insurance when no else will.  I really can’t give up when lawmakers vote to say they value tax cuts for a few more than health insurance for people who are poor, disabled, or elderly.  And I won’t ever give up, just as you wouldn’t, when my daughter’s health, life, and dignity are on the line.

A really wonderful reason not to give up.  My photo.

The problem when you or I threaten to quit is not just that those who are against us win, but it’s also that we buy into the belief that we’re all alone in our fight, that it’s not possible to win, because there’s not enough people who care, and that no matter what we do, we can’t make a difference.

But let me remind you that most people in this country didn’t vote for our sitting president, that worldwide participation in the women’s marches in January 2017 were estimated at five million people, that over the summer, you and your phone calls defeated threats to undermine and repeal the Affordable Care Act over and over and over again, and so despite what you may be feeling, 2017 was not just Trump’s or the Republicans’ year, but also a year in which the American people spoke up and it truly made a difference.  

You made a difference for my family and me.  

And time and time again, when I felt truly lonely and haggard and upset, your words and phone calls buoyed us to believe that it’s not just everyone for themselves but that we can and will and should care for those in need.

So please don’t give up.  

If you’ve read this far, I’m sure you know that this awful tax bill has to go to conference and a lot can change along the way.  So let’s make sure those changes protect Medicaid and people who can’t afford to pay taxes and graduate students and people with disabilities.  Let’s take to the streets again if we have to.  Let’s jam the phone lines and confront our members of Congress.  And build each other up.  Stand together, across differences, and make it clear that you stand with people in need.  Don’t let fear and isolation win out against the truth that we’re a people who can love and care for one another, who can do more together, with our rich diversity, than we can do alone.

Honestly, that will really stick it to them: a bunch of ramshackle, joy-filled activists who believe in themselves and one another.

Give up?  Me?  You?  Oh, we’re only just getting started.

**Please call your representatives tomorrow and tell them your story as to why this tax bill needs to be dramatically augmented!  Here are some great talking points about how important it is to save Medicaid that you can use, too.**



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