Friday, February 03, 2017

The Awakening

By Faith Chatham Feb. 3, 2017

I get from 45 to 60 friend request daily. Most are from folks all across America who realize that we must be vigilant in fighting together to preserve what we hold dear and to improve what we need to change. This network is comprised of folks who are dedicated to good government, not anarchy. Each time I get a request i visit the wall of the person. I regret that I do not have space to accept more request, but am honored by those who extend the invitation. I am amazed at the people who are on this list. As I see the lives and passions and activism and compassion and determination which is reflected on the walls of people in this social media network I am humbled, encouraged, and thankful.

I have been involved in political and civic activism for decades. However, the network has grown and become many times stronger following the beak night in November when many of us stood stunned realizing how totally screwed we are as a people and a nation. Those of us who already had rather large social media networks of progressives from having key roles in campaigns, found that our networks became more focused, larger, stronger.

For every person who left. many more came. People who previously had been voters but not activist, stepped forward and begain organizing and marching and writing and supporting and emailing. This time instead of encouraging folks to get involved, people were propelled from inside their hearts to stand up for others and to fight for what we typically take for granted in this country. I have heard from many others whose experience since November is similar to mine. Yes, we grieve. Yes we fear. Yes many of us struggle with depression these days. Yes, we are frustrated and angry at those who excuse the unexcusable and refuse to take off the blinders and realize that they have been hoodwinked, that their candidate is no benevolent Messiah to rescue Conservatism from the godless liberals. I am especially frustrated at friends who quote scripture to justify their belief in the current Administration. That being said, overall, I see a health in our nation emerging like shoots coming up in the Spring after a very long, cold apathy.

For decades most elections have been determined by voter turnouts ranging from less than 1% to 25%. I think if the Presidential election were held today we would probably have in excess of 75% voter turnout. America is discovering who and what we are. Usually we have to be away from our country to realize what is unique and special about this land, its constitution and her people. I know in my own life, I never fully realized what we have until I studied abroad during the Cold War. I returned and removed the "Independent" label from my forehead and decided which party best expresses my world view. I knew that neither would mirror all of my hopes, desires and opinions. I had to choose which one more frequently paddled our nation in a direction which I believe improves the lives of the most people and honors the values which are important to us. I do not regret my decision to align myself more closely with the Democratic Party. Do I think it is perfect? Definitely not! Do I see areas which need lots of work? Absolutely? Is every position on each of the party's platforms things that I feel passionate about or enthusiastically support? No However, most are. There are always several which are key and which I cannot help but fight to forward, get passed or communicate the importance of to others.

When I review the impact we have as a community, even when we lose the election or fail to control the state legislature or win statewide offices, I know that our efforts are definitely worth the fight.

This year in 2016. we got more people to the polls than any other party yet we did not gain the White House. By failing to support challengers in GOP controlled Congressional districts for decades, we no longer have a majority in either the US House or Senate. Right now it is sinking in to many folks exactly what that means in life and death consequences. America has at last begun to wake up. The sprouts are coming up out of the frozen tundra of indifference. We are filling the streets, not because folks are telling us we should, but because we know that our life and idenity as a nation is on the line.

I am so proud of my neighbors who have filled the international terminal at DFW airport in solidarity with strangers who are being discriminated against by the Trump administration. I am so thankful that this is not just a local phenomena but is occurring in airport terminals across the nation. I am so thankful for each of several milllion people who marched the Saturday after the Inauguration. This is not just an American show of solidarity for values which are associated with America, but is occurring around the world. I am thankful for the Scientist who are moving from behind their books and microscopes into the streets and for the actors and filmwriters and talk show hosts and comedians and musicians who are speaking out for humanity, ethics, fairness and decency.

Each of us are only one small part of a very much bigger, stronger more vibrant whole. We are using our Social Media networks to learn share information, process the noise from the more pressing priorities and to vent. Thank you. Welcome. This is a very different time we are in but it is also one with greater opportunity because the giant is awakening. The wolf is loud and powerful but together we support and sustain and defend one another.

Follow Faith Chatham on twitter at @faithchathm or @txfedblueseed

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