It’s been so long since I’ve written, I feel like I should blow dust off of my keyboard or perform some other dramatic gesture. It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I just haven’t written anything to be read.
Instead, I’ve been busy writing speeches. Currently, I am in the midst of writing a speech for next week.
A few weeks ago, I wrote and delivered this:
And, last week, I wrote a speech for the March on the Greenbrier. However, I delivered something else. I’m filled with regret because of the speech I didn’t give.
When it was my turn to speak, I made a last minute decision and scrapped my speech. It was cold and windy. The sound system was not fantastic. The crowd was across the street. And, speakers had been asked to keep it between two and three minutes.
I decided to be merciful to everyone and make my words short and sweet. Instead of giving the speech I had written, I did this:
The entire thing clocks in at just over two minutes. I regretted it almost immediately.
I’ve given lousy speeches before. There was the speech in the rain when the water wiped my speech off of my iphone mid presentation. Or, there was the Senate Democrats’ live stream in which Charlie jumped and climbed all over me as I told our story.
When one does a lot of public speaking, it is inevitable that a few of them will be mediocre. I try to let those go as if I had played a bad game. It didn’t bother me I had given a mediocre oration. I could shake it off like a bad game.
Yet, all weekend, as I tried to write next week’s speech, Greenbrier bothered me.
The problem with this one is that I liked the speech I had written and there is really no other place that it fits. I can’t simply recycle it for use at a later date.
To rid myself of regret, I decided to post it here.
Here it is. The speech I didn’t give:
How’s everyone doing?!?!?!
It’s a sign of the times that you’re here.
Wow, what a long year it’s been. I know you feel it too. I’ve been fighting for healthcare for over a year.
I lost count of how many protests I’ve attended when I surpassed 50. I stopped counting how many members of congress I begged for my child’s healthcare when I exceeded 30. I have no idea how many miles I have traveled, meals I’ve skipped, or places I’ve slept because of my fight. Many of you have similar stats and stories too.
My political engagement started in January of last year because of my daughter, Charlie. Due to severe preeclampsia she was delivered via emergency c section ten hours into her twenty sixth week of gestation. She weighed 1 pound 12 ounces and was the size of my hand.
During the first few weeks of her life, I watched her overcome, what felt like, insurmountable obstacles. Every breath she drew was a struggle. Her skin was so thin it was agony for her to be held. Her stomach wasn’t mature enough to digest food. Yet, she fought to survive.
When she was three months old, she was well enough to come home for the first time. However, her battle was not over. There were significant consequences due to her early arrival such as motor, speech, and feeding delays. But, she didn’t give in.
We continued to ask the impossible of Charlie: She willed her uncooperative body to move. She gagged on food during feeding therapy until she was eventually able to swallow it. And, she sang until she could speak.
Charlie made extraordinary progress despite serious diagnoses. She wowed everyone. Her access to healthcare allowed her to blossom. Now, access to healthcare is her chance to thrive. Without it, the bright future she fought so hard for will be in jeopardy.
It is when there were attempts to take her healthcare away, by threats the ACA and Medicaid, I said, “Hell no!” and I chose to fight!
When the Muslim ban was implemented, I stood up.
When immigrants were attacked, I resisted.
I was arrested fighting the skinny bill, graham cassidy, the tax scam, and for a clean dream act.
If they come after one of us, they better be prepared to come for all of us.
Whether we are working for healthcare, a clean dream act, a living wage, or other social justice issues, we are all in the same battle: It’s the fight to keep bad policy and self interested politicians from tearing apart our lives. It’s a fight for survival.
Stand up and fight for each other.
Yes, it has been a long year. But, I still have plenty of fight left in me. I can go as long as it takes.
Year two. Let’s do this. Resist.