Musin’ with Susan 8/17/21 – A Little About Who I Am

I finally realized I have never really introduced myself to SCDP. I guess it’s about time! So here’s a little about who I am, at least the me relevant to my service as SCDP Chair.

I’ve used this quote before in one of my Musin’s. That’s because it’s one of my favorites.

“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people—their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties—someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”           John F. Kennedy, PROFILES IN COURAGE

My name is Susan Whitlow. I’m a 71-year-old retired white woman, and most of my work career, teaching 8th grade English, was in Northern Virginia. But Bristol, Tennessee, is where my basic philosophies and attitudes were formed. Bristol is where I grew up and where I live now.

When I was about five years old, I purposefully drank out of a “colored” water fountain. That was my first public rebellious act. 

A year or two later, I awakened to the fact that boys could do things girls couldn’t, like go shirtless all summer, and I felt powerless—and angry.

My seemingly-innate indignation about racism and sexism led me onto a path of “ordinary activism,” doing what I’ve been able to do at different stages of my life to embrace, embody, cultivate, and spread my own awareness that we are all the same and that everything is connected.

I’m a life-long Democrat. The Democratic Party’s platform is one of human rights, equal opportunity, and simple justice. It’s the Party of inclusion rather than exclusion, progress rather than status quo, growth rather than stagnation, economic justice rather than unfettered capitalism, protection of the environment rather than abuse of our planet for one more dollar. The Democratic Party has been and is still the party of the future.

Today I work within the Democratic Party. That’s new, since the 2016 election. Before that, I voted for Democrats and was involved with different organizations, especially the National Organization for Women, that worked outside political party. After the 2016 election, I knew I needed to be more focused in my efforts of ordinary activism, so party politics is where I landed.

I love the quote above from John Kennedy. I, too, am proud to say I’m a liberal.

I love living in East Tennessee, in this small city in a big valley in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Yes, I know it seems we’re surrounded by people who believe they’re Republicans, but I’m not. I’m surrounded by like-minded people, because that is what I choose, and there really are plenty of us.

Here’s another quote I love, this one from DEAR MADAM PRESIDENT by Jennifer Palmeiri.

“. . . . When you fall short or the country gets discouraged, look beyond the loss before you to see what else is possible. You may need to set your sights farther in the future, dig a little deeper, and find the strength to keep going. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that any cause or battle you take on has to be won in order to have been worth doing. Believe that the effort you put into something that really matters to you is its own reward, whether your efforts succeed or not. If your cause is right, you will eventually prevail. Till then, stay true to your principles; if you will yourself to fight on, you will never be defeated.”    

I know my cause is right. I know we will eventually prevail. And I intend to fight on for as long as I’m able. This is a basic part of who I am and who I have always been.