I have been ruminating on this blog for days.
The war in Ukraine looms over everything I am thinking about.
It is also Women’s History month, and there is a lot to say about that.
And there is the quote that Dr. Bob Saul left with us when he appeared on Hey, Boomer, that has seeped into my consciousness.
“I am the problem, I am the solution, I am the resource.”
First – Ukraine
Ukraine was not front and center in our awareness until a couple of weeks ago. The administration started raising concerns about the Russian buildup along the border. Nightly we were hearing news about more troops amassing, intelligence that an incursion was likely, hope for diplomatic talks fading. Then Russia recognized two Ukrainian breakaway states, Donetsk and Lugansk as independent and moved troops into their territories. We now watch in horror as residents flee, fight and refuse to give up to the Russian aggression. And we wonder what we can do.
Threats to Democracy
As I was thinking about all of this, I opened an article in the League of Women Voters’ SC Voter publication. The article was titled “Can it Happen Here? Countering Threats to Democracy”
Can it happen here?
- On January 6, 2021 there was a concerted effort to overturn the election results through the incursion on the capital
- State legislators in 41 states have introduced 262 pieces of legislation to alter how states administer elections
- The US Senate has failed to pass either the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act or the Freedom to Vote Act
- At least 5 people on the ground during the January 6 attack on the Capital are running for the US House!
Can it happen here, is our democracy at risk? I believe the answer is yes.
Leadership examples from the women
This is where looking at some of the brave women in our history can inspire us.
Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincy Adams, was an early advocate of women’s rights, female education and the abolition of slavery.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked tirelessly for women’s rights, founding the National Women Suffrage Association in 1869. The women in this struggle were jailed, beaten, spit upon, and still they kept going. In 1920, women were finally granted the right to vote with the passage of the 19th amendment, just 102 years ago!
Rosa Parks, who helped initiate the Civil Rights movement in 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. This inspired the local black community leaders to initiate the Montgomery Bus Boycott and a year later the US Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was illegal.
These are some of the women we hear about. There are so many other women whose names we don’t know, who stood up for causes they believed in, who are mothers and sisters and daughters working to make the world a better place, to keep their homes safe, their families fed, their children educated.
I am the problem, I am the solution, I am the resource
When I questioned Dr. Saul about what this really meant, he explained that it is about taking responsibility for problems in our community. Rather than pointing to others and saying it is “their” fault, we look at ourselves and ask, “what can I do, and am I doing enough?”
When I ask myself, “what can I do?” it can seem overwhelming. There is so much to do. What I do now is
- The Hey, Boomer show, to encourage and inspire people over 55 to get involved, to recognize their relevance, to make a difference in ways that are possible for them.
- I provide coaching for people who are fearful about what is next, who don’t want to end up bored, lonely, feeling useless, but are looking for confidence and reassurance and a plan for staying meaningfully busy.
- I belong to the League of Women’s Voters and actively participate in voter registration drives. This is how I am working to protect our democracy.
There is a quote I read the other day that is attributed to Margaret Mead. It says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that can.”
Whatever your issue is; peace, health, climate change, voting rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, child welfare, education, gun control, hunger, homelessness, domestic violence… pick one, commit to it and find a way to get involved and stay involved.
Pray for Ukraine. Celebrate the Women in your life. Celebrate yourself!
Organizations working to provide relief to Ukraine (verified through Charity Navigator)
CARE – raising money for their Ukraine crisis fund