We March, We Run, We ARE the Big Blue Wave, IF…

We are officially one year into the Trump Presidency. Though that gets easier to say, it’s not getting any easier to stomach. That’s not just sour grapes. Many of the things we so feared with a Trump administration have come true: immigrant families have been separated and deported. Not just the “bad hombres” but the law abiding, tax paying mothers and fathers, ripped from their families and sent back to dangerous countries, or countries they haven’t seen in multiple decades. The DACA kids we asked to come out of the shadows and promised to protect are now being pitted against CHIP kids in some twisted Washington version of the Hunger Games.

We have a thin-skinned megalomaniac playing a game of chicken with our nuclear arsenal against another megalomaniac in North Korea. Last week our fellow citizens in Hawaii braced for the impact of a nuclear strike, frantically saying their tearful goodbyes believing that they were about to be killed in a nuclear attack because their warning system told them “this is not a test”. The scariest thing of all was that everyone believed this was completely possible because our President has antagonized the leader of North Korea enough that wars have been started over less in the past. They truly believed they were about to die in a nuclear war.

Trump and the Republicans successfully stole a Supreme Court appointment that rightfully belonged to President Obama, and has been packing the federal courts with unqualified attorneys (at least according to the American Bar Association, and anyone able to watch the confirmation hearings), who are in their 30s, for lifetime appointments. Trump and the Republicans have used their branding machine to sell a “Tax Reform” bill that only benefits the super-rich as a “Tax Cut” for lower and middle-income Americans. He has turned the once eloquent speeches of the leader of the free world into a litany of 8th-grade insults, slurred speech, intangible thoughts, and outright racial slurs being hurled in the Oval Office.

The once (rightly) shunned philosophies of white supremacy, “white nationalism”, the “alt-reich” (yes, that’s how it should be pronounced) and plain as day neo-Nazism now has a comfy home in the Republican party, as Trump has excused or ignored white terrorism and defended Nazis by calling them “very fine people.” He continues to stoke the fears of Americans with bullhorn (we are way past dog whistle) racist immigration propaganda, policies, and bans.

We are lied to on a daily basis, we are lied to, about simple and easily fact-checked, or non-consequential things (like height and weight), so much so that we can never trust a thing that is coming out of the White House. We are a worldwide joke, and our reputation may never recover, because the world will always remember that we let this happen. And that we continue to let it happen, every day, despite everything.

And now on the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of the 45th President, it seems that we are getting the exact same leadership we were promised in this “businessman.” The “Deal Maker In Chief” has led us into a government shutdown. He’s run Washington into the ground, just like he has with so many of his businesses in the past. He is walking away from his bad deals in DC, and heading to his Florida golf course to have a $100,000 a couple fundraiser dinner, which will go into one of his many slush funds. It’s the perfect end to a horrible first year of his presidency. It’s almost poetic, except that it’s just so pathetic. He has dragged us all down so far, so fast that every single day, we all shake our heads and say “what now?” We cannot become numb to it, we must claw our way out of this Orwellian Hell.

But all is not lost. We have also seen some amazing things happen in this first year. We held the largest one day protest on January 21, 2017. Not just in DC, not just in Lansing, but around the world, on every continent. Period. (Right Sean?) Our institutions held strong and our courts blocked the unconstitutional bans on Muslim Americans. The corruption oozing out of the White House is being investigated by the special counsel, and justice may yet still prevail. We have seen a grassroots swelling of activism that has never been seen before and is directly responsible for saving the ACA.

We have seen the all volunteer group “Voters Not Politicians” in Michigan collect enough signatures to get the measure on the 2018 ballot, despite being told time and time again that it could never be done without paid signature collectors.

We are also seeing women stepping up to run in record numbers. We saw state and federal seats flip from red to blue for the first time in modern history, including a US Senate seat in Alabama! We turned the heat up on so many elected officials that a record number of US House and Senate members decided not to run for re-election, making once strongly held Republican seats now competitive. And most hearteningly, we have started listening to women. The wave of #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are bringing to light so many of the everyday injustices women have faced forever, and women are not only speaking up, but backing each other up like never before, and we are not going back into the shadows.

2017 was a tumultuous year. And 2018 is going to be even harder. But just as Oprah says, “A new day is on the horizon.” We used our feet last year to march, we used our hands to hold protest signs, and we used our phones to call our elected leaders and hold them accountable. This year, we need to use our feet to walk our neighborhoods with campaign literature, our hands to knock on doors, and our phones to call voters and make sure everyone comes out to vote
or sends in their absentee ballot.

This year, we have so much to be excited about. We are seeing not only a groundswell of women and first-time candidates on the ballot, but we are seeing people from all kinds of backgrounds on the ballot, with so many different and new solutions to offer.
As a nurse running for State Senate, I am so excited to be bringing my expertise and experience living and breathing healthcare for the last 12 years to Lansing. When you have a subject matter expert crafting legislation on that subject, we will start to get workable solutions that have the intended outcomes desired, not just solutions that sound good on paper, or ones that “should work.” We will have scientists, teachers, dietitians, small business owners, working moms, stay at home moms and non-profit leaders and many more “everyday people” throwing their hats in the ring in 2018, who will all bring their own unique ideas on how to fix our seemingly never-ending problems in Michigan.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Women’s March on Lansing. I was so honored to be one of the women speaking to a crowd of 10,000 people who gathered. The people were looking to those of us on stage for leadership, for direction, and for a way to focus their fears, rage, and heartbreak. We gave them that direction, we joined the newly active with the veterans of the fights for causes we care most about. We have had some success, and we still have so much work to do.

After tomorrow’s anniversary, Women’s March on Lansing will be an event held by the Progressive Women’s Caucus aimed at supporting all the progressive women who are stepping up to run for the State House and Senate. The theme of the Women’s March is “Power to the Polls.” We will take our newly found power as a women’s movement, and use it to elect strong, effective and committed women leaders up and down the ballot. I am so honored to be one of those women, and promise that I will bring my years of activism, my ceaseless advocacy for the under-served and healthcare expertise to the State Senate.

In my speech on January 21, 2017, I said “Our silence has bought the erosion of our rights, our representation, and our very dignity. No more! As President Obama has said, ‘politics is not a spectator sport’. So we must get involved. We must become engaged, and stay engaged!

We must repeat the mantra ‘The Personal Is Political’ over and over and over again until it rings true. Because the personal IS political. Thank you so much for coming out today, and showing Lansing, Michigan, America and the whole world, that we will not go gentle into that good night, that we will rage, RAGE against the dying of the light.”

Rage we did, indeed. And rage on we will, all the way into the voting booths on November 6, 2018. So break out your best walking shoes, and join #TeamPulver. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, but after what we’ve marched through in 2017, I know we’re up for it. We have seen what happens when we don’t show up, and I know we’ll never be silent again. We hear that a “Big Blue Wave” is coming. Well, we ARE the waves, and that big blue wave will only come if we bring it. It won’t come if we assume it’s already on its way, it won’t come if think the work has already been done, it won’t come if we pit our waves against each other. Waves only build and go in one direction, collecting momentum and power together. This wave can wash us all clean, if we are dedicated to working together, and moving together as it builds. I’m ready for it. Let’s get to work!

Julia Pulver