The trouble is, you think you have time. ~Buddha
The most powerful lesson you can learn in running? You are capable of much, much more than you think. ~Amby Burfoot
A quick story: In 1977, a 63-year-old woman named Laura Schultz lifted a car off of her grandson, saving his life. She was a petite woman who had never lifted more than 50 pounds.
But she lifted a 2,000 pound car that day.
Years later she was interviewed by a psychologist who was studying acts of “hysterical strength,” like hers. But there was a big problem with the interview: she didn’t want to talk about it.
In fact, even thinking about it made her uncomfortable.
Eventually, she admitted why.
She explained what I can only describe as guilt, remorse, loss. She reasoned that if she was capable of doing something as amazing and powerful as lifting a car off of a child, what else could she have done with her life? What other “impossible” things had she avoided just because she thought they were out of reach?
How much potential had she lost because she simply … never tried?
“If I was able to do this when I didn’t think I could, what does that say about the rest of my life? Have I wasted it?”
That’s a difficult question to answer. But she asked the question and finally admitted to herself that she did indeed have the power to change her life, and to use every last ounce of it.
So, she got a degree in geology and became a professor at a local college – all in her mid-60s.
She stopped letting expectations and preconceived notions dictate the way she lived her life.
Instead of “slowing down” because that was expected of her … she put her foot on the gas.
You know, that story brought tears to my eyes when I read it. Because at any time, we are all capable of far more than we give ourselves credit for. But believing that – really believing that – is also a little uncomfortable, isn’t it?
Believing something is impossible gives some comfort to the loss. “There was no way, anyway,” we can say to ourselves. “This is as we all expected.”
But here’s the problem – if you really believe there’s no way you can be the candidate, or be the manager, or win the race, or get the A – well, then it’s hard to muster up the gumption to really, really try.
And not really trying is not honoring you. It’s not giving your life credit. You deserve more than that.
Because my goodness – what are we doing in this world, if not living? If life is meant to be lived … shouldn’t it be? Shouldn’t we squeeze every last second of potential out of it?
That’s why I can understand Laura Schultz being paralyzed by guilt – wondering what life could have been like if she had tapped into her car-heaving-She-Woman power decades before she did.
But hey – it’s never the perfect time to do anything. It’s just time. (And today is better than tomorrow.)
Whether you realized it decades ago or moments ago, you’ve got the power to do a lot more and change a lot more than you probably think. Don’t believe me?
Tell me, how many Republican state legislatures are trying to make it harder for you to vote right this very second?
How many House and Senate Republicans are fighting the For the People Act that will make our democracy a more even playing field?
Mmm hmm. Perhaps you see my point. And those are just two examples off the top of my head. In the pages here I’ve written about a college teacher who put together a protest that changed the course of civil rights advocacy, a mom who channeled her grief into changing drunk driving laws across the nation, a mom who decided (over cake) to create an advocacy group focused on children with complex medical issues that has had center stage in the fight to keep the ACA, a woman who continued to protest through a thunderstorm and unintentionally inspired a leader who would help end nuclear testing …
The list goes on. And on. And on.
So please – stop basing your decisions on what’s possible based upon other people’s expectations of what you can do. Or upon your own self-doubt. Allow yourself to be the full self you can be.
Who knows – maybe you can lift a car, too.
You’ll never know … unless you really try.
So let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of March 23, 2021
Tuesday: Get Covered 2021
Did you know that an Executive Order signed by Biden opened up a special three month enrollment period from February 15 to May 15? It’s true! Now we need to do everything we can to get the word out. Getcovered2021.org is a new effort to get the word out about coverage and encourage people to sign up during the enrollment period.
28 million Americans currently are without health insurance. More than half of those uninsured – over 16 million – are eligible for financial help, or for free coverage through Medicaid.
You can also share the tweets, posts, and messages from GetCovered2021’s press kit. Find that HERE.
Wednesday: Get Her Elected
Have you been looking for a way to volunteer for campaigns, but don’t know where/how to get started finding a campaign to help? Do you want to help progressive female candidates specifically? Then I’ve got the right volunteering option for you!
Get Her Elected is a matchmaker of sorts – putting volunteers in touch with progressive female candidates that need the help those volunteers can provide. It’s a great idea, and so far they have 3,400 volunteers providing all sorts of services – from accounting to writing (and everything in between). Check it out and sign up to lend a hand at: https://www.getherelected.com/contact
Thursday: Emerge training: application due March 26!
Don’t forget to remember! Emerge’s regional boot camp training application for the midwest (virtual) camp is due on March 26.
The regional boot camps will all be held virtually for Democratic self-identified women running in the 2021-2022 election cycle.
The boot camps have been developed to give Democratic women the skills they need to turbocharge their campaigns. Top political strategists and trainers will teach attendees critical elements of campaigning, including:
Campaign overview & structure
Developing campaign plan & strategy
Messaging and Media Relations
Endorsements & Power Brokers
Check out their boot camps here: https://emergeamerica.org/candidate-training/boot-camps/
Friday: Call Your Phone Provider
A few weeks ago, our actions centered on the corporations that have donated to the campaign accounts or PACs of insurrectionists. It was an excellent series of actions, and I got a LOT of feedback from you all that you liked it. Wonderful!
Unfortunately, we have a follow up…. From Judd Legum’s amazing Popular Information piece:
On January 11, AT&T issued a statement announcing that its PAC would stop contributing to members of Congress that objected to the Electoral College:
“Employees on our Federal PAC Board convened a call today and decided to suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes this week.“
Thirty-five days later, on February 22, AT&T’s PAC donated $5,000 to the House Conservatives Fund. The House Conservatives Fund is the Leadership PAC of Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA), who voted against certifying the Electoral College on January 6. In a tweet that day, Johnson said he was helping to lead the effort to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election.
It also serves as the primary vehicle for the Republican Study Committee (RSC). The overwhelming majority of members of the RSC voted to overturn the election results on January 6. The RSC has pushed false claims that the 2020 election was rife with fraud.
Popular Information asked AT&T how its February donation to the House Conservatives Fund was consistent with its January pledge to stop supporting Republican objectors. A company spokesperson provided the following response:
“Our employee PACs continue to adhere to their policy adopted on January 11 of suspending contributions to the re-election campaigns of members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes. The House Conservative Fund has assured us that none of the employee PAC’s contribution will go toward the re-election of any of those members of Congress.”
Nevertheless, AT&T is supporting an organization run by a Republican objector and that will spend most of its money securing reelection for Republican objectors. Since money is fungible, the assurances of the House Conservative fund will have little practical effect.
Yep. Agree. So today’s the day when you can pick up your phone and call your provider (if you have AT&T) and let them know you don’t appreciate their sleight of hand and that if they don’t shape up you’ll be taking your business (errr… phone) elsewhere.
You can use the information at Bold Progressives HERE. Call 210-821-4105.
Script: I’m calling as a customer, wondering why AT&T is going back on its word. A few months ago we called to thank you for suspending your corporate PAC donations in the wake of the insurrection on January 6. Now I understand that you have donated to the House Conservative Fund, which is the leadership PAC of Mike Johnson, who voted against certification of the election. I’m very unhappy about this – you said one thing and now you’re doing another when nobody is looking. Well, I’ll be looking. I really don’t like doing businesses with corporations that talk out of both sides of their mouth. Please note my disappointment. I will be looking for a provider that does not lie – and one that doesn’t openly support insurrectionists.
DID YOU KNOW YOU’RE A ROCK STAR? I DID. SUPER PROUD OF YOU!
P.S.: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.
P.P.S.: If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.