We live in a moment of human history where we are assaulted at every turn. Just as we come to grips with one great burden, another one falls from above, seeking to crush us. We’re dealing with a pandemic, an economic crisis, a racial justice crisis, and a climate crisis all at once. And now, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead, and Trump has vowed to appoint a new justice. Anyone seeking hope in this moment is rightly lost.
Growing up, I was always lost. Nothing ever felt right. From traffic jams to empty conversations, I never understood why anyone would choose to live this way. Lacking guidance, I fled to cheap flatteries. But two years ago, as I was just starting college, the threat of a climate apocalypse forced me to finally confront all the things I had run from. I saw that all the problems that made me run from society had to be confronted and fixed, along with the roadblocks that kept us from fixing it.
The first roadblock I confronted in our society was the idea that the world happens to us, rather than the other way around. It’s an unspoken rule engendered in us by a news media that thrives on making us anxiously glue ourselves to the screen as passive spectators. After nearly two years of clawing my way into a position where I can influence the world around me, I know that such a claim couldn’t be further from the truth.
The second roadblock I had to confront was hope itself. It may make us feel better, but hope is no better than despair in the sense that it is an excuse to do nothing. I have no use for hope and never will, because hope will always be an ineffective substitute for the true belief in myself to enact change. Therefore, I can fight, or I can kill myself. That’s all that matters. So, when it all became too overwhelming for me to continue fighting, I popped an antidepressant and went back to work. I did this not because of unfounded optimism, but because I’ve seen those rare moments where the whirlwinds of fate lift the sails of justice. Jamaal Bowman and AOC are examples of what happens when thousands of volunteers and movement leaders stick around for those gusts of victory, and why it’s imperative that we keep our ships at sea, tirelessly rowing to a better future
So, what about you, the reader? You will no doubt attend a march, sign a petition, and dial (202) 899-8938 to urge Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy, and Chuck Schumer to block or delay a supreme court nomination by any means necessary. But after that one afternoon, what then? Well, Mitch McConnell is only as powerful as the number of Republican senators who are at his side. To an extent, the same goes for the House chamber and every other down ballot election. Nevertheless, the Sunrise Movement has endorsed 19 Green New Deal champions, including Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin of West Virginia. Can she win? I know she can. It’s only a question of whether people like you and thousands of others will step up and help by making the hundreds of thousands of calls necessarily needed for people to hear their message. You can sign up to phonebank for her at smvmt.org/phonebank. If you’d rather, you can phonebank for a different senate candidate, or Zuckerman’s gubernatorial campaign, or whoever else. Just stop pretending you can’t do anything. Because you can.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a future to fight for.