If you’re not quite ready to rally just yet and you need to stay in your literal or metaphorical bed and mourn some more, I get it. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and cried for two hours. I’m hungover. And I’m so confused. But I’m up, now.
Do you know how I got out of bed this morning?
I am a Kansas Woman. That’s how.
I am a woman who has had Sam Brownback as her governor for the past six years. And I never left. For those of you who don’t know, in 2016 The New York Times conducted a survey that named him the least popular governor in the United States. Like, if I had to choose between a Donald Trump presidency and a Sam Brownback presidency… I would rather find a creative way to get out of that situation. Gun to the head? I’d probably linger for far too long. And even still, I’m not leaving.
I am prone to this heartache.
And yet I love Kansas. I love Kansas like Oprah loves bread. I love Kansas. Our governor is a dumdum. Our economy is in the tank. Earlier this summer we weren’t even sure if schools were going to be able to afford to open for the fall semester. We’ve been made the laughing stock of the rest of the nation on late night TV multiple times! And yet—here I am. Doing the best I can in the prairie. Keeping my side of the street as clean as humanly possible. Still, I get up every morning and I do the best I can to take care of my family, my tribe, and my greater community because if our leader can’t do it, by God we will do it. And we will not leave.
We know what that looks like in Kansas. We know what it looks like to have a leader who does not give a single gosh dang darn about who we are as a people. We know what it is like to find our pockets of people who are just as flabberghasted and are anxious for change and we stand up and we do our part. And we deal with our disappointment and we do not leave. We do not leave.
And so we get over our disappointment and move on.
But listen, if disappointment that “my team” lost was the biggest thing at stake right now, that’s where I’d end this but that’s not what it’s about.
Listen to me, my brothers and sisters, don’t sit here feeling sad and then a little bit better and then able to move along with our lives and then forget about it.
We rise. We FIGHT! And we will not stop. We do not leave.
We fight for our Muslim friends and neighbors who will, I promise you, will be targeted by those whose hatred has been fueled—thinking that their view is the majority. It’s not. We stand behind you.
We fight to keep Planned Parenthood funded and in operating condition—those few that are left, to help women who need basic health care and can not find an affordable option anywhere else.
We fight for our Black loved ones who have been told that their lives do not matter—only on a really big stage right now. It’s not true! Your lives matter every single day.
We fight for our LGBT+ tribe members who want basic rights to live normal, peaceful lives just like anyone else.
We fight for women—me and every other woman that I know—who have been violated, mocked, and then had their oppressor rise to power over them. All while laughing.
We fight for those living in this country in fear of deportation today and every day—especially now. Living a life of fear. We want to help you know peace.
We fight for our friends who live with serious, chronic illnesses that have landed them in the hospital with millions of dollars worth of bills—who may never be insurable again and, if that happens, will die because of money. Because of money.
I, my community spread across this beautiful nation, make a promise to you.
In my whiteness, I will speak out every single time that I recognize racism in my world. I will stand with you.
In my heterosexuality and cis-genderedness, I will stand with you every chance I come across. I will walk with you to bathrooms and across gendered spaces. We will go together.
In my health, I will call leaders on the telephone and send letters to make sure that your coverage is not lost.
I will never stop learning and finding new ways and people to help. I will never give up. I’m a Kansas Woman. I will never leave and as long as we have one another, we will never grow tired.
Please tell me that I am not alone in this. Speak up, Nation. We need it. Your tiny voice chanting this whole time needs to become a mighty, strong, and undeniable roar. It’s in you. Rise up and be heard!
For those of you who aren’t feeling safe right now, I get it. I understand. I hope you find a safe place to reach out. I’m here with you.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
The Trevor Project (LBGT+): 1-866-488-7386
Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860