Opportunity is knocking.
We have an opportunity. We cannot sit back and do nothing because we are turned off by the prejudice and oppression dominating politics and media. We must push back. We must push back for the working women earning 81% of the wages earned by their male counterparts. We must push back for the 13 million children, the 5 million seniors, and the 1+ million veterans living in poverty and at risk of hunger across our country. We must push back for the 40 million women in the U.S. who delay or forego healthcare to pay for food, rent, utilities or childcare. We must push back for the people of color whose net worth averages 1/10th of that of whites. We. Must. Push. Back.
Compared to the depressions, wars, disasters and revolutions survived by previous generations, our price for liberty and justice for all is affordable. We do not need to flee our birthland, deny our bloodlines or abandon our families. We only need to demonstrate compassion, neutralize meanspirited rhetoric with good judgment and act based on what we know is fair and right. Giving rights and opportunities to others does not mean that we will have less. Acknowledging that we need to pursue equity in the standard of living is the first step towards a higher level of collective good for everyone.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “All we have to fear is fear itself. . . “ I can honestly say that my worst decisions, my most regrettable moments, the times in my life when I most needed a do-over were the results of decisions made from fear. Fear is a prevalent emotion today. People fear what they don’t know, what they are afraid others might do, what they are going to lose, what they are going to be responsible for, who their neighbors might be, how much tax they will owe— There are no good outcomes from fear. Some will say that fear makes you prepare for what could happen. I have found that fear appeals to my worst self. My brain cells stop accepting new information and drown in negativity until I almost make myself ill. The decisions I make from fear bring about the circumstances I fear most.
Stop listening to the “cannot’ s” and “might’s” and begin thinking and speaking in terms of “can” and “will”. An opportunity is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. This is an opportunity. As Warren Buffet said, we can stand in the shade now because a long time ago, someone thought to plant a tree. Our children’s children will have healthier, safer, smarter, happier lives because of the actions we take now. Did you know that if we initiate efforts in gender wage equity today, at the current rate we are effecting change, women will come close to equal pay for equal work by 2059?
Let’s not waste time! How will you take advantage of this opportunity? Will you support efforts for affordable healthcare? Will you promote gender equity in business? Will you lobby lawmakers to support the safety net that WIC and SNAP provide to low income families? Will you advocate for affordable housing? There are easy ways to take action. How about mentoring a child in a high poverty school? Volunteering at a food pantry? Sharing financial expertise at a crisis counseling center? How will you take advantage of this opportunity?