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In Good Conscience

I cannot, in good conscience, stand idly by any longer.

I have chosen as a career to do battle, every day, against the awesome and mighty power of the state. To speak for those who society doesn’t want to listen to. To stand in the way of the gears of a machine that doesn’t care for the lives of the people it grinds up.

This line of work is hard. It eats at the inner workings of your soul in a way that I don’t think any other line of work quite does. I know doctors and surgeons see the ravages of nature (and stupidity) do terrible things to people – that is horrifying, and draining. Soldiers go to war to kill the enemies of their state, and that is horrifying too. But there is a special kind of horror in watching the carelessness in which our government treats its most vulnerable, our most needy. It chews you up inside, and changes you, in a way that I can’t quite explain. You know more, you trust less, and yet… you love. I think you love because you have to, because if your capacity to love despite the darkness does not grow… then, well, I fear there would be no point.

But it drains you. To love means that you can get your heart broken. I get mine broken every day. And I can tell you it never stops hurting.

But you also learn to stand up, somehow, despite the heartache. Not always. I’ve seen so many people – good, honest, well-intentioned people – be chewed up and spit out by this machine. I don’t think that this type of work is meant to be kept long term… But I digress.

Today I stand up. I’ve been in tears this entire morning, since I saw the headlines. And I’m trying hard not to despair. I’m trying hard to love.

I cannot, in good conscience, allow for anything less.

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