What Do I Stand For?
With just a little more than a month until the general election, I have been reflecting on some questions that don’t always have easy answers. This will be the first time that I have been allowed to vote in a general election, having just become a US citizen last year, and I am proud to be taking the responsibility very seriously. After Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death, many of us were reminded that this remarkable time when women, people of color, and non-property owners are allowed to vote is not something we should take for granted.
I am reminded of a saying that I often reflect on from Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, that “what you are committed to shows up in your results.” While we can’t change the world on our own, what we are personally committed to certainly does show up in our personal results. For example, until recently, I was consistently 3-5 minutes late for work. I was not committed to being on time. In fact, I was committed to NOT being on time until I took 100% responsibility for being late and made a commitment to be on time. This week, I am committed to giving up alcohol, sugar, and caffeine and I signed up for a group detox program. If I consume any of these things this week, that means I was not committed to the program after all. Here’s another example: I am committed to complaining about our current government. I know this, because I do it, a lot. Maybe I just like to complain, maybe I feel powerless, or maybe I feel like my opinion doesn’t really count. I am committed to complaining.
But I am also committed to advancing women’s health, standing up for Black lives, and improving access to great education and healthcare. I know this because I speak up, I do something, I show up when I am asked to, and don’t back down when challenged about my commitments. If I didn’t use this opportunity to vote and make my voice heard, then I am COMMITTING to not being heard. I am committing to being a victim and believing that I have no power. And that is not something that I am willing to do.
What do I stand for? What do YOU stand for? Even asking that question, I have an image of standing up in a seated crowd, and saying “this is what I believe, and I am not afraid to stand my ground.” What would you stand up for in a seated crowd? Your family, your health, your spiritual beliefs, changes that support your community and the world… and, I am guessing, your voting rights. Think about it this way. Women have only been allowed to vote in this country since 1920, and even then, not most Black women. That’s only 100 years. Would you stand up if someone tried to take that right away? Darn right you would! So I would suggest that you are committed to supporting voting rights for women. And as we know, what we are committed to shows up in our results.
We can talk all day about what we are committed to, but what we do shows if that is actually true. Let me be blunt: If you don’t register to vote, show up and vote, you are NOT committed to supporting voting rights for women. And that is OK, if you are willing to own your commitment. I, for one, am not willing to do that.
It’s confusing, and few of us have time to understand what we are really voting for, except maybe the President. Many of us vote according to what our parents or neighbors taught us, and stick Red or Blue, regardless of the candidate. I admit, as a new voter, I had to spend some time online checking out who I was going to get to vote for. The President, of course, but also Senators, Congressional nominees, Judges, and over 60 other elected officials. Maybe I vote straight down party lines, maybe I vote for the names I recognize from yard signs or TV advertising or just vote for the person who is already there. Maybe I am in a hurry and it all takes too much time. Or maybe, just maybe, this election is worth more than that. Maybe it’s worth a few hours of my time looking at the various candidates and what they stand for so I can make an educated decision and not be manipulated.
Maybe it’s even worth supporting a candidate that you believe in, either financially or with your volunteer time.
If not now, then when? In our lifetimes, has the country and the planet ever needed our commitment and our voices more? I commit to giving up caffeine, alcohol, and sugar this week, and I commit to educating myself about my voting choices and actively supporting the candidates that I believe in. I commit to showing up because I am tired of committing to complaining. Aren’t you?
If you want to find out who is on your ballot, click here:On Your Ballot
Learn about the people who are devoting their lives to make our world a better place. This list does not include your Congressional nominees, who you will also get to vote for based on your district on November 3rd. You can find them here:Congressional Nominees
And to anyone who says that I should not be talking about politics on this platform, my response is that I am talking about commitment. And as an advocate of women’s health, women’s rights, and human rights in general, as well as serving as a physician and a coach, I commit to stand up for what I believe in. And I ask you the same question I ask myself. What do you stand for, really? Does it show up in your results? Like me, you might not always like the answer, but you can change it. Commit to showing up, for yourself with your own self-care, and for the country on November 3rd.