I cried a lot over the past couple of days. I cried watching thousands of parents with their children and grandchildren placing “I Voted” stickers on the headstone of Susan B. Anthony, and I cried throughout today as I wondered through this fog.
The results of yesterday’s election are personal and will most likely have a burden on me. I grew up on Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, and did not have any health care coverage after my time on CHIP expired. It expired when I was 19, and it took 7 years for me to get coverage when Governor Wolf expanded Medicaid. This post isn’t about that, but that’s coming up.
This post is about the impact a grade school teacher’s single action has had on my life. Most of the day, I was thinking about the morning after we invaded Iraq. I was in 8th grade and I remember waiting for class to begin that morning. But our teacher decided to skip teaching. She spent the whole day telling us how much of a monumental mistake the Iraq War would turn out to be, and she was right. This feels like that day, but the adult in me knows that it is much worse than that day.
I spent the day thinking about how parents and teachers would address their children and their students on this calamity. I dont know how I would have been able to compose myself, and I havent been able to compose myself after she reached out to me to thank me for my activism.
I’d like to return that thank you and thank her for skipping class someday 13 years ago. It was one of the earliest, and one of many, instances that helped me understand the social injustices we have carried out, and it is something that will always stick with me.
Now that I got this tear-jerker out of my way. Now is not the time to be standing on the sideline or living life on your knees. There are serious days ahead of us, and If you have something to contribute, you must. A racist, a homophobe, a serial abuser, a con-man, a charlatan and – most importantly – a strong man has been elected president, and I promise like hell that I will stand up and fight back.