Racing to Save Our Democracy

Guys, I am tired. Beat, run-down, exhausted (enter more synonyms for overwhelmed here please) The news just keeps coming at us from all angles every minute of the day, and it is rarely pleasant. Frankly, most of the time it seems catastrophic. I feel like I am in the middle of a constant anxiety attack, waiting for the next shoe to fall—and as someone who has battled anxiety, this really is NOT a pleasant feeling.

And I know I cannot be the only one. Hearing crying children who were ripped from their parents at the border in the United States one minute, jumping to my reproductive freedoms threatened by a Supreme Court Justice appointment the next, followed by watching my democracy be trampled upon by my President who either just does not comprehend or is willingly engaging in acts of malfeasance with Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin….and thats just been the last month! My head is spinning, I constantly feel angry, and I just want to throw things at the imaginary wall between us and Mexico. I can’t help but ask myself if the American democracy is beyond saving, if we’ve reached the point where there is no turning back.

What upsets me the most is not the fact that Donald Trump is President and I have to squelch the constant thought that I actually hate my president—words I never thought I would use. No—it is that no matter what he does or says, he was not created from thin air. He was elected (corruptly or not). There were genuine people who went out and chose to vote for him, and continue to support him, despite the heinous behavior he exhibits. If the election were held today, he might even stand a good chance of being re-elected. To me, that signals there is something more rotten to the core with what has happened in this country. Trump is a symptom of the disease—a really, really bad symptom, but one nonetheless. Even if he were to disappear magically, the system that bore him still exists.

So what can we do? What can I do? I refuse to give up on the beautiful premise of American democracy, in all its glorified idealism. To me, that is what patriotism is. Not standing for a flag or supporting a politician, but fighting for the values and ideals that this country supposedly stands for.

However, as I mentioned, I am run-down by this constant ague and fever-like state because the situation seems so overwhelming. So I am asking for your help, readers. How do we manage to fight this disease that is rotting our democratic body without killing ourselves in the process? Cuz’ the runner in me knows, this ain’t a sprint—its a full blown marathon, Boston Marathon 2018 style (torrential storm for those that don’t remember).

The ways I have been trying to handle it lately have actually been an extension on this running metaphor. To run a marathon, most people (well, me) need a training plan. Some days you do long runs, some times speed work, sometimes middle-distance—you get the idea. And some days you rest and recover, or else your body just falls apart and you end up becoming ineffective or injured. I feel like that is exactly how we have to fight back. Take each day with a different small goal, and rest regularly. Turn off the news and blast some music. Stretch your mental and physical muscles.

Overall, this post is a plea for some other ideas on how to enact this training plan effectively. What are some ideas for long run days, speed work days, and middle-distance days? What are some recovery ideas? All thoughts are welcome and I’d love to share more of my own. Stand strong y’all and breathe—we have no choice.