The Small Things: Finding Motivation in the Age of Trump
That’s my locker. Seven times a week, I will enter a local Planet Fitness gymnasium to clear my mind and engage my body. The gym has been my refuge since I was a scrawny, shy high school sophomore who was naively convinced that the only thing preventing the head cheerleader from dating me was my lack of pectoral muscles. Eighteen years later, my motivation to be fit is no longer reliant on my desire to impress the opposite sex, but rather as a way to stretch my aching joins and help trim a gut that has started to protrude over my everyday work pants. The local gym doesn’t have assigned lockers, but I am a creature of habit so I naturally gravitate toward the same locker each and every day. If the locker is free, I smile because I know I will have a good day.
And that locker is significant to me because of that very number. Astute observers will note that 46 is one more than 45 and that 45 is the number of presidents the United States has had. The 45th occupant of the Oval Office is a usurper, a liar, a cheat, a scoundrel, and is the worst excuse for a human being to ever reside in the People’s House. The damage Individual-1 has done to our country will take generations to undue with much of it being done in the way to undermine our constitutional norms. What for 240+ years stood as time-honored accepted practices will now have to be codified into law after Republican mob rule has destroyed the decency of our founders’ intentions. Whoever replaces the orange-skinned human dumpster fire will have to return the presidency to the way in which the founders’ intended and will have to do so in the wake of a man who has ruined countless institutions.
So each and every day I can, I use locker 46 to remind me of what’s at stake: the future. My mind and body need to be cleansed each and every day so I can fight for whoever follows up 45’s disastrous path. And fight I will. Having been through one presidential campaign, I know what kind of time and commitment are necessary to win and I am willing to put myself out there once again to ensure that my future children inherit a world that rejects Republican fascism. That’s my motivation and that’s my legacy. When my grandchildren ask me what I did, I want to honestly tell them I did all I could. Whether it was my work on the 2016 campaign, or my community organizing, or even my humble contributions to this blog, I want my grandchildren to know I didn’t take this lying down. That I did what I could with the time that I had. That I used my White privilege to work with immigrants and communities of color to provide them with the resources they needed to advocate for themselves and their neighbors. That I used social media to fight for my vision of the country and that I fought against those who stood in the way of that vision. And that I did it, along with an army of like-minded people who were unwilling to lie down and let evil win.
I know in the grand scheme of things that a locker number has no bearing on my work. There are days when locker #46 is taken and I simply move one or two lockers down. But in the age of Trump, I feel it’s important for each of us to find our own motivations for the work that we do. It can be ourselves, our spouses, our children, our neighbors, our friends, or our communities. Each one of us needs to find that motivation and keep it in the back of our minds when times get tough. Stare longingly at your spouse over an evening meal. Pull out those photos of your kids and grandchildren and smile. Walk outside and listen to the children in your neighborhood play after school. Shake hands and embrace those in your congregation after service. Find something in your daily lives that motivates you to fight for the greater good. Make it a habit to to reference this at least once a day and more than that when times are tough. Remember that we will get through this. All of us. Together. And whatever motivates us today needs to sustain us each and every day until November 3, 2020.
No matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
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