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Eight Years



Multiply that by eight years.

Eight years ago - 2008. The US elected a man I did not vote for nor like. His administration rammed a health care package down the throats of the American people that forced many of us to pay for birth control and abortion, which we find morally repugnant. He spoke of "freedom of worship" which is far different than "freedom of religion" - a fundamental right of Americans. His presidency will be remembered by some of us for going after the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns founded in 1839. They provide end of life care for the destitute. The president for the past 8 years believed these women should provide birth control and abortion for their employees, which is a direct violation of their religious freedom.

I could go on.

Eight years.

For the past eight years, I have fought like hell for a daughter with special needs. I have been told by "her" social worker, a state employee was charged with my daughter's care, "I haven't read her file, [laugh]. It's pretty long." The woman NEVER MET MY DAUGHTER, yet was responsible for making decisions regarding my daughter's care.

Another government employee told me and my husband as we were trying to get help for our daughter, help that was promised to us when we adopted her: "Oh, you're THOSE parents. You adopt a kid and then try and give her back to the state." That guy still has his teeth, which in itself is a miracle, because I damned near punched him.

When my daughter was viciously and repeatedly attacked, a police detective told me, "Your daughter is just a bad kid who got involved in stuff she didn't understand." This, despite the fact that my daughter identified her attackers; no one was ever arrested.

Eight years.

I've fought for my kids' education. I've raised 5 kids, some of whom have significant mental health issues.

I taught high school.

I lost both my parents, caring for them at the end of their life.

I've been in two horrific car accidents, both caused by distracted drivers.

I almost lost my husband to a rare complication following a "simple outpatient procedure."

I have depression. I'm still here.

I have a benign, inoperable spinal tumor that causes me pain every single day.

My kids have, at various times, found me stupid, irrelevant, overbearing, and difficult. Yet we still fight on for our family, in love, mercy and sheer stubbornness.

I've repaired a relationship with a sister.

I wrote a book, and in the process met some of the most amazing people who fight every day for victims of human trafficking. Some of those people are themselves survivors and are heroes just for getting out of bed every day, let alone fighting for other victims.

I was forced out of a job I loved and was damned good at, for reasons I still don't understand. I found a new job, only to be fired four days later. The guy who hired me told me I was an "embarrassment." I was still trying to remember where the break room was. I started another job in January of this year, and am pleased and relieved to say it is a joy to work here.

Eight years.

I'll bet if you look over the past eight years of  your life, you'll see joys and sorrows, triumphs and setbacks. Most of us are too damned busy to go out and protest against a politician. We have lunches to pack, laundry to wash and fold (and maybe put away), bills to pay. We have to get a teenager through geometry and a second-grader ready for First Communion. We have to help plan the parish bazaar, or makes meals for a neighbor who just had surgery.

Eight years. I have to say that - politically - I haven't been too damned thrilled with politicians in the past eight years, especially the President of the United States. But then again, I've never been too damned thrilled with politicians.

Here's the deal: every four years, one side wins and the other loses. And we Americans still have to get on with doing what we do. Right now, we need to decide: Is "what we do" tearing each other apart? Is that who Americans are now? Are we so politically divided that we will call each other "bigots" across the table at Thanksgiving? Do we divide our friends by whether or not they agree with us on every damn thing that comes down the pike?

I hope not.

I'm not too damned thrilled with the current President-Elect. But I've got bigger things on my mind. Am I being charitable? Am I doing what God's will is for me? Am I praying enough? Am I truly seeking what God wants? Am I serving my family and my friends.

In eight years, will I be a better person than I am today? Eight years.

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