We can win this

Published 5:17 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I spent Nov. 9 trying to cheer up my friends and family. My mother called me crying, worried that the economy was going to end up in the same place it was when George Bush left office, when everyone was getting laid off and losing their homes. We were all in shock. We had assumed that with minimal participation on our part, everything would turn out fine. I was disappointed by Hillary Clinton, so, like all too many others, I just figured the people in charge would figure it out. Well, that did not happen.

Last week, I read that politicians like Bill Cook and Walter Jones are trying to shut down the first and only wind farm in North Carolina, a project directly connected to the opening of a data center for Amazon. I have never seen people so intent on eliminating and destroying a tax base. Full-time jobs with benefits, climate change, parental leave, affordable colleges, cleaning up coal ash ponds — these are not their concerns.

These people do not represent me. The only way they win is by manipulating districts and keeping people from voting. In the case of Donald Trump, they win on a technicality. We watch them take the few benefits we have while billionaires keep amassing more money and power, and our response is to complain about it on social media.

I am one of the 20 million people who today have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, but I am unsure how much longer I will be able to afford it. At this moment, my representative, Walter Jones, is working to take away the tax credit that helps me afford my payments. What good does it do to take away people’s health insurance? Every rural hospital in the state will close. I am angry and frustrated. I am taking it personally.

I made a mistake. I did not take the 2016 election seriously. My mother and I went to the Women’s March in Raleigh on Jan. 21, joining people across the globe in a historic show of solidarity. It was a testament to the power of women and gave me hope as we move forward. It was my mother’s first demonstration. I have also assembled a group of people locally who will stand up to for health care, women’s rights and our environment. I am not leaving this up to anyone else this time. This is an unprecedented time in our history, but there are some things that still hold true. Things get better when we come together, when we resist and when we believe we can win.

Attila Nemecz is a Beaufort County resident and director of Pamlico-Albemarle Wildlife Conservationists, a branch of the North Carolina Wildlife Association.