I woke up at 4:30 AM on November 5th, rolled over and looked at my phone to check my email — my daily procrastination before starting the day. In the darkness of my bedroom, dread and despair washed over me as I checked out the election news.
At 5:30 AM I headed out for a meditative run — repeating over and over: “Colorado, Florida, North Carolina…Oh no, what are we going to do?”
At 6:30 AM I walked into my living room and heard the noise I have come to dread – wheezing.
Fiona, the tiniest of 3 year olds, was struggling to catch her breath.
The morning filled up quickly: a trip to the pediatrician for a nebulizer treatment, a trip to the pharmacy for a new inhaler, Tylenol for the fever, her favorite show on the TV so I could debrief the election results with my team with the news that climate change deniers had been elected to federal offices in state after state…and soup for lunch, which went untouched due to Fiona’s steroid treatment.
Around 1:30 I realized she was not getting better – but worse. On the way back to the pediatrician I picked up my 18-month old and was told by our wonderful sitter that he had just woken up from his nap wheezing.
I carried two babies back to the doctor, their tiny bellies sucking in and out — trying to catch their breath. My arms were strong but my heart was breaking as tears rolled down my face and my mind begged for the angels (and amazing doctors) to take care of my precious children.
As I drove home my mind – finally – rolled back to yesterday’s election.
My kids don’t care if the Republicans or Democrats control the Senate. They don’t care if tax incentives for renewable energy are set to expire. They don’t care that both the environmentalists and the fossil fuel industry dumped millions of dollars into key elections. And frankly, neither do I anymore.
I only care that my kids can take a life-saving breath.
I care that my kid’s tiny lungs – along with thousands and thousands of others across the globe – are bombarded day in and day out with air pollution.
I care, along with thousands of parents across the country, that I have to keep my children home from school.
I care that my husband and I have to figure out our work schedules — that our family struggles when our child’s asthma is aggravated.
As parents, we care that for our elected officials, our children’s health is not as much of a priority as where the next campaign contribution is coming from.
Republican or Democrat – we don’t care. It is beyond time for families like mine to stop being poisoned by those in the industry who care more about their bottom line than about polluting our health.
The time is NOW for this family issue to become a central issue for all political parties.
I promise to work each and every day over the next two years, and beyond, to make sure that those serving in Washington, our states, and our cities, put the health and welfare of all American children above anything else.
Our children’s every breath depends on it.