Monday, June 26, 2017

Persistence is the Key to Resistance

Were you at the Women's March with me? Were you one of the millions of women who stood up against the Trump administration to rally for women's rights and health? Did you rally to the Resistance and jam up the phone lines of our members of Congress to demand all the things we were fighting to protect? Well, we're six months away from the beginning of what was a political revolution for many and Women's Health is on the line like never before. So, why are the phone lines open now? Why did 13 male senators feel confident that they could craft our new health care bill without the help of any female colleagues? Why are Republicans comfortable moving ahead with a bill that hurts Medicaid support, which covers 70 million Americans -  including low-income women and babies?

My opinion is that we collectively did exactly what the Trump administration hoped we would. We slacked off after 1/2 a year and accepted a new normal. We were worn down by constant, outrageous CNN alerts and disheartened by a lack of immediate response to our phone calls. We said "I'm utterly burned out" and eased up the pressure. Well, I'm here to say to all of us, with a healthy dose of motherly love...

Suck it up, Buttercup. Get back out there.

There is no Resistance without Persistence
Look, I know this is hard to hear. I've been an advocate taking daily action for people in poverty for over 10 years. I know what it's like to win and I know what it is to lose. What I do know, above all, is that you will never win if you simply stop fighting. There's no other group of millions of American women who are resting in the wings waiting to swoop in like the cavalry when we get tired. It's just us. We can't flame out early. Everyone has to adjust to the new normal of adding advocacy into a regular, routine because changing the government is a marathon, not a sprint. 

Does that sound hard? Does it seem like now is the moment for one of my quippy, but truthful metaphors to help us make a paradigm change in how we think about it, so we can gather ourselves together and fight the good fight? Good. Because I have one... :)

Healthy Bodies and Governments need Regular Care
Think of advocacy like many of the things we women do regularly to stay healthy. Brushing your teeth is easy to do, but it's not as easy to do it every single day of your life. Yet we continue because we want to still have good teeth when we are old! It seems kind of silly as an adult to have to convince someone to brush their teeth every day (much less after every meal), but every mom knows the struggle to convince her children that this is a necessary, daily thing we must do in order to have a healthy mouth. Well, government is kind of like our health, too. If you want a healthy government, you have to take care of it by participating in its care on a regular basis.

Think of these advocacy actions in comparison to common things we women have to do to care for our health:
Calling Congress = Brushing teeth once or more daily 
Writing to Congress =  Exercising 2-3 times a week 
Writing a letter to the editor = Dealing with your monthly menstrual cycle 
Visiting a Congressional Office = Visiting the dentist every 6 months 
Voting = Getting a mammogram every couple years
So, there you have it. Think about it, but don't take too long because we need you RIGHT NOW. Congress is poised to end the Medicaid program as we know it, causing 14 million low-income Americans to lose health coverage. These cuts will be used to give the wealthy and powerful another giant tax cut. We must do all we can to protect Americans on Medicaid. Call your two senators and say, "I'm a constituent and my zipcode is ____. I'm calling on behalf of low-income moms and kids on Medicaid and millions of Americans who stand to lose health insurance if the current version of the bill is passed. I urge you to vote no on this or any bill that would reduce the effectiveness of Medicaid by reducing funding or block granting it. Thank you." Feel free to tell your own story or throw in many of the other things that bother you about this bill, like a rise in cost for people with pre-existing conditions. If you want to do more, check out this link for sample text to help engage others in taking action or to write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Those phone calls take about the same time as brushing your teeth and they could protect the health of millions. Raise your voice and speak out every day. Because persistence is the key to resistance.