Lauren Peterson
Words That Matter
Published in
5 min readDec 7, 2017

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OOne of the first things that made me feel better after the 2016 election was Rebecca Solnit’s book Hope in the Dark. “Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism,” she wrote. “And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection.” A few days later, I was out for a run when Lucinda Williams’ song “Joy” came up on shuffle: “You took my joy, I want it back.” It felt like the universe was sending me a message: Joy isn’t just a nice feeling. It’s a powerful force, a lifeline in terrible times. And when someone takes your joy, goddammit, you go out there and get it back.

The year 2017 was when I watched Donald Trump take the oath of office and become president of the United States, putting a painfully final end point on the two years I spent working on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It was the year I returned to my pre-campaign job at Planned Parenthood to help do battle with politicians who seem to have nothing better to do than try to shut down a women’s health organization. It was the year we started keeping all-purpose protest signs by the door for easy access, and the year of checking in with friends and family who fit into whatever group Trump happened to be attacking on that particular day. It was the year when, in a moment of panic, my girlfriend Liz and I wondered if we should run down to city hall and get married while we still had the right.

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Lauren Peterson
Words That Matter

Speechwriter, Badger, reformed figure skater, slow runner. Proud alumna of Clinton 2016, Planned Parenthood, Obama 2012, & UW-Madison.