In light of recent events – the Muslim ban or the the confirmation of Jeff Session and Betsy Devos – a lot of Democrats and reform organizations may find themselves asking the question what does this moment call for and are we answering that call?
I personally walk into work and almost instantly feel overwhelmed by the number of fights need my attention. There is the fight for Women’s Rights or the fight for Muslim Rights. There are Civil Rights fights and Voting Rights fights; hell there is even redistricting. Everyday, as I read the news or engage in the money-in-politics fight, I find myself conflicted because there are so many competing priorities.
Just yesterday I sat in on a discussion about fighting for democracy and I began to cry on the inside because the fights that we are facing aren’t merely about democracy – based on the context it was discussed – but about a persons right to simply pursue a life of happiness. We can fight for public financing and voting rights but hell to be honest, if we as a country have gone so far as to consider a whole group of people to be a threat, they may not live to donate to someone let alone be allowed to vote for someone. People are fighting for the right to simply be who they are and their right to the pursuit of happiness!
After leaving this meeting, I hopped in a Lyft and called my friend and explained to him that I was done with Democracy because it did not exist and I was no longer going to try to convince others that they should believe in it either. God probably laughed at me because as soon as I hung up the phone, He had a message for me. The Lift driver turned around and said, “Baby I can tell that today was a rough day but you owe it to God and your people to keep fighting. It is a privilege to one, be let into those rooms with all of those white people, two, to be taken seriously, and three, to make it out alive to tell the story. You were chosen by God to do this work! Don’t you dare give up on Democracy! Your ancestors fought long and hard for you to even be able to vote and now because things are hard you want to give up? You don’t get to give up, you have to continue to fight this fight and leave your mark on this movement!”
I left the car feeling somewhat ashamed that I had been so arrogant and weak. I was arrogant because I truly believed I had a choice and I was weak because I was willing to quit after the first two weeks of this man’s presidency as if my ancestors didn’t fight for decades. So, for those of you who are like me, living on the inside, fighting and are getting weary – don’t you dare give up on democracy! That’s not even an option.