Yesterday was a good day. I was able to write something meaningful. No offense to my friend Stuart, but writing about his stuff is not exactly full function for me. I am struggling a lot these days in the midst of a severe mixed state episode of Bipolar Disorder. I’ve closed my blog three times (I think, I’ve lost count) in recent weeks and am on leave from Live Action and The American Catholic because those things require a level of mental discipline and certainty that I don’t currently have access to. Things were so bad that I was having suicidal ideation. This is not as bad as actually making a plan to commit suicide, but it is the step before that. Having had a friend with Bipolar Disorder who committed suicide, I have some awareness that when I am thinking about those things in the middle of a mixed state episode, then I need help. I was going to go immediately to the crisis stabilization unit, but then, two of my four kids got sick with vomiting, and it was Thanksgiving, and so I didn’t go. By Saturday, the kids were better and a friend from church drove me to the crisis unit. I was on suicide watch for two days, went through a lot of group therapy, prayed many rosaries, was anointed by my priest, and was able to see a doctor who prescribed Prozac for me. After a couple of days, I had my bearings back a great deal. The doctor suggested I stay one more night, but I had reached the point where I was getting better and the other clients’ life stories were starting to bring me back down, and so I decided it was time to come back home. That is kind of where I am right now…still struggling, but getting better. It’s still an emotional roller coaster for me, and I am acting completely out of character for me frequently, but I have my hope back.
Yesterday, the phone rang and it was a Pennsylvania number. I know people in Pennsylvania, but this was not their number. Before I picked up the phone, I thought it “might” possibly (maybe?) be Rick Santorum. Lo and behold, it was! I was floored….but not so much in the sense that I was excited to talk to someone who is at least somewhat famous and who is also someone I admire greatly. I have, after all, spoken to him on the phone before. What floored me was that in the middle of a presidential campaign, this man took the time to call a broken woman in Kentucky to ask her about her health and to say he is praying for her. That is what floored me.
It’s no secret that for many months I was the only conservative blogger duking it out for Rick Santorum. Everyone familiar with the conservative blogosphere probably has some awareness of that. I have sometimes thought that I might actually be more of a liability to him than an asset. After all, I’m the “crazy” one who is very open with everyone about her mental illness. Not only that, I am physically broken with late stage Lyme Disease that doctors have told me I’m likely stuck with for the rest of my life. My body is constantly “on fire” in a sense, and there is really nothing that can change that. I told him when he called me, “Sometimes it feels as if I have no one, and then a presidential candidate calls me up and tells me that he appreciates me.” He was disappointed (rightly) to hear me talking that way. He said, “There’s always someone.”
I certainly know that now because he told me to keep his cell number. It’s in a place of honor — the front of the refrigerator — the only place that I can find a number if I really need it.
He said to me, “You’re an inspiration.” Why would he say that? Well, first of all, I’m sure he understands something about mental disorder considering that his father was a psychiatrist and considering that his daughter has a mental disorder, although it is very different from mine. But there is another thing that he “gets” and that I “get” that very few seem to “get” these days, and that is the importance of always standing up for what is right no matter how the odds may seem to be stacked against you. He knows that I am awash in a sea of physical and mental pain and he knows that, for me, holding on to truth with my bare fingernails in the midst of this suffering is very literally what keeps me alive. That’s why Rick Santorum called me and told me, “You’re an inspiration.” It’s because he knows the odds seem stacked against me strongly, and yet….I fight, because if I don’t fight, it is “game over” for me. If you think about it, we are in just such a time in America. If we don’t fight for what is truly right in America, it is “game over”.
There are passionate people in America who are good and decent people who are completely unafraid to say all of the things that need to be said — things that others are not saying. We find this special quality of fearlessness for the sake of what is “right and true and good” in Sarah Palin, Allen West, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and in people who are not so famous, like Mary Ann Glendon who declined the Laetare Medal because it was the right thing to do. I am not referring to people who can give great speeches or who look good on television or who can influence powerful people. I am referring to people who absolutely care about “good and evil” and who we absolutely know would do what they think is right even when no one else is looking and even when they will be vilified for it. I’m talking about people who are completely unafraid to stand in front of millions and say “That’s evil” to something that truly is evil, even if the millions would balk at the suggestion, and they would do it without trembling.
I may be a crippled and mentally broken single mom in poverty in the Appalachian foothills — a coal miner’s daughter — but to hold onto and speak up for what is true…that is the kind of person I have to be because, as noted, to do otherwise is death for me. Rick Santorum knows that about me, and that’s why he called this broken woman in Kentucky and said, “You’re an inspiration.” No matter how broken I may be, I will stand, and seeing that in the various people he meets in his travels is what keeps his hope for our country alive. I know that to be true about him.
America seems to be nearly as broken as I am. There are two movements now in America that are completely opposed to each other: the Tea Party movement which protests Big Government and the Occupy movement which protests Big Corporate. Powerful interests wield great control over “the little guy”. Corruption (which is essentially a secular word for “immorality”) is present on both sides. We ourselves are responsible for allowing this to happen because so many of us were asleep at the wheel. Too many of us are still more concerned about what the latest popular movie is than we are about doing what needs to be done to defend authentic liberty. Our country is broken, but no matter how broken it may be, there is in the midst of it people who are willing to stand up for what is good and right and true. There is now, and ever will be, a certain segment of people of character within our country who will ensure that America — the real America — survives. I am here to tell you that unless we elect people from within that element who are willing to stand before millions and say “That’s evil” no matter who it offends, it could mean death for America just as surely as it could mean death for me if I give up on what is good and right and true.
America, please inspire me. Keep America alive and make her strong. Replace Barack Obama with Rick Santorum.
With Gratitude to God,