A Future Worth Fighting For

My wife and I struggled for a long time to have a child. We did everything short of IVF, and spent a lot of money on fertility treatments. Several miscarriages later, we dried our tears, threw up our hands, and left Austin for a while. Things were just too sad for us to stay. We sold our house, put our small business on the market, and moved back to Washington, D.C., where we’d lived and worked as a young couple.

Six months later, Laurie called to tell me she was pregnant.

If you’ve been through a miscarriage, let alone several, you know that a new pregnancy brings joy at the news and terror at the possibility of losing it. We hung in there, and finally, finally, the pregnancy made it past the first few months. We were going to have a baby, due in late August/early September.

A month before our son Henry was born, this story broke:

Large crater appears at the ‘end of the world’
Mysterious ‘gigantic’ hole in remote region spotted by helicopters over gas-rich Yamal peninsula.

This story froze my blood. If that crater were caused by the collapse of frozen methane, we could be in serious trouble. It could be a sign that the permafrost was melting, and the thought came to me that climate change was about to enter a terrifying new phase.

And then I thought: Oh Jesus. Our son.

Our son had to be dragged into existence. Several miscarriages, 22 hours of labor, a C-section and a lot of surprisingly violent tugging by the doctors in the delivery room pulled my Henry into this world. He didn’t want to come, but we brought him here because we needed him, and we wanted to love him and have him love us back.

Hi, son.

That night in the hospital, I stood there while they cleaned him up, wrapped him in a blanket, and put him in the plastic baby bin you see in hospital nurseries. I remember the first moment he looked at me. And right there, staring back at me with my eyes and his mother’s smile, was the future.

Joy, mixed with terror.

I don’t sleep much anymore, and it’s not just because I have a toddler. I hear the clock ticking. I know that by the time Trump’s term in office ends in 2020, we must halve carbon emissions to stay on track for a relatively stable climate. I know that if we don’t zero out the U.S.’s net carbon emissions by 2035, global temperatures will hit 4°C above pre-industrial temperatures by the time Henry retires.

Goodbye, civilization.

I want my son to inherit a livable world where he is free, prosperous, and happy. I want to know he’ll get care when he’s sick, an education that doesn’t bankrupt him, and a job that isn’t starvation wage slavery. I need these things for him. We can’t have dragged him here to break the bad news that everything good in the world is about to go away.

Corporate power will kill the future in its crib if we let it. If we don’t stop letting it manhandle us, Donald Trump is just the first of many shocks that will unmake the world we’ve all been hoping for, laboring for, dragging into existence. Lately, it’s hard to even think about our hopes for the future, but here’s what I know: if we don’t stand up and fight back against the corporate assault on our country, right now, we will lose it all. The future will miscarry.

Climate change isn’t the only killer effect of the corporate attack on our democracy. Most Americans want health care enshrined as a right, but instead, countless will die without insurance thanks to the recent vote in Congress on the AHCA. Intensifying inequality is literally killing people. Communities of color languish in a mass-deportation-and-incarceration-for-profit system that robs more Black people of their freedom than did slavery. These pressure points could blow like a methane crater in Siberia, signaling game over for our civil life together. And that means we have to organize and remove corporate power’s puppets, right now.

One such power-holder who must go right now is U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. You know about his water-carrying for fossil fuel companies, but you may not be aware of his proposals to end birthright citizenship to make minorities easier to target; or that he works to erode your privacy rights and liberties online on behalf of big corporations; or that he’s set up Trump’s attack on the media for years. And of course, he voted to take health care away from tens of thousands of his constituents — and to do nothing while 83,500 more lacked health care to begin with.

Smith sees Trump as his vehicle for the exact same corporate agenda he’s been pushing for years. That’s why Smith was the first congressional donor to Trump’s campaign. That’s why he takes to the House floor to brag about Trump’s bull elephant stamina (I kid you not).

This guy doesn’t care about my kid’s future. He doesn’t care about communities abused by corporations. And when you need him to stand up for you against corporate bullies, he checks his corporate-PAC-funded balance sheet and decides you’re not worth it.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you are worth it — that the future we’re hoping for together, laboring for and dragging into existence together, is worth it. We’ve nurtured it through so many heartbreaks. We’re not going to let these people kill it in the crib.

I’m running against for Congress against Lamar Smith in the 21st District of Texas. I’m working to build a movement here to unseat a corporate-backed Trump supporter and replace him with a progressive who will stand up for people being abused by corporate power.

Donate to send Derrick to Congress!
Help us fight corporate bullying & climate science denialism in Washington!secure.actblue.com

As I’ve traveled around the district these last few weeks, I’ve been deeply moved by people who understand that, even in a nominally red district, we must fight the corporate assault on our politics and our economy. We’ve also started to capture imaginations nationwide, having garnered some great news coverage in The Huffington PostMother Jones, and other outlets. I’ve been thrilled to get strong encouragement from climate scientists like Dr. Michael Mann, members of the resistance like @RogueNASA, and even pop culture icons like Lucy Lawless.

News stories have called me a “nerd for science,” and that’s true. But more than that, I’m a proud progressive Democrat who believes in a vision of America where we don’t write off anyone, where you can commit to the common good or see yourself to the exit, and where corporate power gets knocked back in its place any time it tries to undercut our freedoms for profit.

I’ve been a member of the progressive community for years, and I hope during that time I’ve earned your trust. If so, please donate what you can to our campaign to put corporate power to pasture. We need every dollar, every minute of volunteer time, every talent you can lend us to fight corporate power and win. Please visit my website at electcrowe.com for more information about the race. (You can also find me on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.)

Bringing our Henry into this world was a long, heartbreaking struggle. But listening to him roar like a T. Rex at his mother and then tell her “you’re very nice, Mommy,” while I write this — every bit of the struggle was worth it.

Our fight against corporate power will be heartbreaking and hard as well. But let me tell you about an image I have that keeps me going: It’s my boy, rushing in to some hospital room on the day his first child is born, fresh from a job that pays him well. He and his spouse just started paid parental leave. He picks up his baby, and his first thought isn’t, “How are we going to afford this with all my college debt?” or “Can we pay the hospital bill?” or “Was it selfish bringing him into a world that can’t feed itself?”

Instead, in my vision, he just holds that baby and thinks about his high hopes for its future — the future that all of us are going to make possible by fighting corporate power today.