BY MICHELLE E. BROWN
Published 5/18/2017 in Between The Lines Newspaper issue 2520
It’s been over 100 days and I’m still angry. I’ve been angry since November. It’s not sour grapes just because my candidate did not win. This is anger, righteous indignation!
I’m angry that the promise, the American dream, is not just a dream deferred but – for millions seeking equality, justice, refuge from oppression, poverty and war – it’s a dream that got flushed down the political crapper.
I’m angry that on an almost daily basis, something comes out of Washington, D.C. that not only insults my intelligence but the intelligence of the global community.
I’m angry that despite the sheer madness of these activities a deluded group of partisan politicos continue to support and fail to do what they were sent to Washington to do.
I’m angry that the bearers of these daily mad tidings – the decision makers, the mansplainers and stepford-wife/fembots – not only don’t look like my neighbors, family and community, but haven’t a clue about our lives.
I’m angry that the same level of political dysfunction extends beyond Washington, D.C. and is equally rampant in state houses across the country.
I’m angry that after struggling without healthcare before the Affordable Care Act, I’m rushing around now trying to get procedures done because I’m afraid that I will be one of the 24 million Americans unable to afford insurance under Trumpcare – that is if I am even able to get coverage because of my preexisting conditions. I remember those days without healthcare – putting off standard procedures, deciding which every day expense was more important than my medicine, and the overwhelming burden of medical expenses for an uninsured visit to the emergency room – too many of us remember.
AIDS/HIV, Alcohol or drug abuse, Alzheimer’s/dementia, Anorexia, Arthritis, Bulimia, Cancer, Cerebral palsy, Congestive heart failure, Coronary artery/heart disease/bypass surgery, Crohn’s disease, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Hemophilia, Hepatitis, Kidney disease/renal failure, Lupus, Mental disorders (including Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder and Depression), Multiple sclerosis, Muscular dystrophy, Obesity, Organ transplant, Paraplegia, Paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, Pneumocystic pneumonia, Pregnancy, Sleep apnea, Stroke, Transsexualism are just some conditions considered pre-existing conditions.
Who doesn’t have or know of someone who has one of these conditions? So, what are we to do with our friends, families even ourselves if we have one of these pre-existing conditions?
But the vote wasn’t about the health and welfare of the American people. It was just another notch in the political maelstrom of this new GOP reality. And then they got on busses to head to the White House and drink beer to celebrate pushing through the AHCA that, for the most part, none of the GOP Congressmen had even read – oh hell yeah I’m angry!
I’m angry that millions are spent for trips to and security for unauthorized white houses (i.e. Trump properties in New York, Florida, New Jersey, etc.) while families in Flint, MI and other urban areas don’t have safe water. Money that could prevent cuts to programs like meals-on-wheels. Meals that aren’t gourmet fare – just basic meals – that provide low income, and often homebound seniors a hot, nutritious meal delivered to their doorstep. Money that could go to federally funded after-school programs that can boost academic performance, reduce risky behaviors, promote physical health, and provide a safe, structured environment for the children of working parents.
I’m angry that every frigging week-end, instead of putting my dancing shoes on, I’m lacing up my boots and taking it to the streets marching – for women, for science, for immigration rights, for education, for the environment, for LGBTQ rights, for families, for Planned parenthood, etc.
I mean it’s every damn weekend for basic human rights, for battles we thought we had already fought and won.
Yes, I’m angry but I’m still lacing up my shoes and marching. I’m taking a deep breath and having conversations with folks who didn’t vote or voted for Stein or Sanders. I’ve even had a conversation with a repentant trump supporter who admitted voting on one issue – abortion – and now realized the short sightedness in her decision.
I hear Howard Beale’s words from the movie NETWORK echoing in my head “I’m mad as Hell
and I’m not going to take this anymore!” But this isn’t a movie, its real life right now in America.
As an African American, queer, woman, parent, environmentalist, artist, activist and so much more, I stand in the crosshairs of my intersectionality. I can’t stay safely in any one lane of my multiple identities and hope the rest will work itself out. They’ve put a bull’s eye on my back so doing nothing simply is NOT an option.
I’m having conversations with folks across lines of race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, ages, sexual orientation and gender identity. Conversations that connect the dots across our varying identities to form a picture of our humanity. Our lives are not a one-lane road. They are an intersectional multi-laned superhighway and if we all want to make it to the finish line for the world, the environment and our humanity, we had damned well better learn how to navigate.
So in the face of opposition, obstacles and discouraging lack of leadership we must PERSIST even if that means marching every day, every weekend, every month. To borrow
from a gospel hymn we can’t feel no ways tired. We’ve come too far from where we started from. Nobody told us that the road would be easy.
When they try to give us fake news, double talk and straight up lies we must INSIST on accountability, demand our legislators do the job we elected them to do. That means showing up at their offices, signing petitions, writing letters, making phone calls, sending faxes and if they still ignore us, exercising our power and voting them out of office.
2018 elections are right around the corner. Your vote can count but you have to vote for it to count!
And more than ever we must RESIST. Resist the urge to give up and be silent. Resist apathy and despair. Resist the urge to only cast blame and not find solutions. But most importantly resist giving up our humanity and succumbing to the fear, polarization and vitriolic rhetoric that brought us to this place.
When receiving the “Profile in Courage Award” President Barack Obama said “I believe
Dr. King said, that “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” but I’ve also said it does not bend on its own. It bends because we bend it, because we put our hand on that arch, and we move it in the direction of justice and freedom and equality and kindness and generosity. It doesn’t happen on its own.”
It’s time we step up our efforts and put our hearts, minds and spirits on that arch.
Let’s PERSIST, INSIST and RESIST and bend it once again in the direction of justice, freedom and equality for all.
Michelle E. Brown is a public speaker, activist and author. Her weekly podcast “Collections by Michelle Brown” airs every Thursday at 7 p.m. and can be heard on Blog Talk Radio, ITunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud. Follow her on Facebook at Collections by Michelle Brown.