Mr. Toupee Takes All?

Oh–was the election rigged? It’s 1:00 a.m. and the New York Times Website shows that Mr. Toupee is galloping away with the electoral college.

The real crime in America is that people still hate each other for no reason.

Women are still being attacked and discredited simply because we dare assert our right to decide when and whether we want to have babies.

I was the victim of a traumatic racial attack when I was in graduate school. Yet still I’m not keen to go around attacking people for being racists. Even Eric Michael Dyson can label all white people racist–and I don’t care that this talking head perpetrates division in America.

I’ve talked about the solution before in these blogs: change will occur one-on-one that is person-to-person when each of us decides for ourselves to act for the greater good–to use our god-given gifts to better ourselves and others in the world.

It’s time to choose to love our neighbors as we love ourselves–the only true message of Jesus that counts. The time is now “to decide to love”–like the priest said in his homily at a neighbor’s daughter’s wedding that my mother and I crashed in the back pew.

The time is now to understand that only human beings have the power to effect change for ourselves–no one else– absolutely no one in power holds the key to our success.

Civil discourse has been long gone in America. Civic duty has been long gone in America in this age of reality TV shows.

The ABLE Act might be repealed. The gains mental health advocates have made with historic legislation might be repealed.

Patti Smith’s song title says it all: “People Have the Power.”

We have to look out for each other when our government isn’t looking out for us. We have the power to control our destiny now more than ever.

Five years ago I had the chutzpah to claim that most people can recover. I stand by this assertion today. Our recovery is in our hands–no other person’s–I made this clear in my memoir Left of the Dial when I chronicled how I fought to have a better life.

Today even with all the hate in the world I choose to focus on what’s possible–that things can turn around if each one of us has what I call the “radical grace” to reject the hate and to love ourselves first of all so that we can then love others.

Mr. Toupee: I’m not going away. I’ll be a mental health activist for the rest of my life because I believe in my vision that people can recover.

We will recover from the hate in the world–even if we do so “piano-piano”–slowly-slowly as the Italians say. Yet we will not only recover, we will thrive as children of God–because my God loves gay people, and I’m Christian too.

It might seem like our milestones are now moving targets.

Yet always be hopeful. The best is yet to be. I will continue to champion recovery for everyone. Until my story is the rule not the exception I will not be silent.

I will not stop advocating for everyone touched by a mental health challenge to have the right to get the right treatment right away.

There is a narrow margin of victory for Hillary Clinton to come through in the early morning hours. Let’s hope for an upset.

Even if it turns out she wins our moment of reckoning has come.

For those of us climbing the thread-worn stair we need to speak out.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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