Phyllis Bush: “Nobody’s Gonna Break My Stride”

Phyllis Bush is a retired English teacher in Indiana. She became active in the fight to save public schools in her state as the privatization movement gained steam under Mike Pence’s predecessor as governor, Mitch Daniels. Phyllis was one of the founders of Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education. She is a powerhouse, a passionate advocate with a wonderful sense of humor, and a wise woman. I met her when I spoke in Indiana at Purdue-IU in 2010. She came to hear me speak, we spoke, and we stayed in touch. When Anthony Cody and I were assembling a board for the Network for Public Education, I immediately thought of Phyllis. She joined our new board and has become one of its leaders.

Phyllis got some bad news a few days ago. She posted the following on her Facebook page, and I asked for her permission to share it. She graciously assented.

She writes:


There is a cancer in the body politic. Our lawmakers seem more intent on playing to the voters they choose rather than on serving all of their constituents. We have grown to expect that the Super Majorities will be more concerned with consolidating and maintaining power and control than with with governance. At this point, I see very little chance for a cure of this cancer.

There is also a cancer in the body of Phyllis Bush. On Friday I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Even though what lies before me feels like a kick in the teeth, I have chosen to be annoyed rather than bummed; in fact, this diagnosis has allowed me to give new meaning to the word pissment. I usually share my middle school mean girl thoughts and potty mouth only with my friends; however, when I was in recovery after my surgery and my doctor gave me the word, all I could think to say was the F word.

I know that my doctors will provide me with a course of treatment options, and together we will decide on a course of action that will provide a cure. Unlike politicians, they are in the business of doing no harm.

Having said that, I know that my family and friends will love me, support me, and make me laugh.

There are way too many injustices that I need to rectify.

There are way too many politicians who need my advice and counsel–and my nipping at their heels like a rat terrier.

There are two grandchildren that I need to see grow up.

Along with thoughts and prayers, here are some other things you can do:

1. Prepare yourself with facts and go talk with a legislator. Leave a one page fact sheet with his or her legislative aide, explaining the issue and how it will benefit him or her.

2. Write a letter to someone you love–to your mom or dad, your grandfather or your grandmother, your grandson or your granddaughter asking them how they are and telling them who you are.

3. Never lose your sense of humor or your sense of wonder.

4. Adopt a rescue dog or cat.

5. Take a kid to the zoo and/or to Zesto.

Years ago when I was in the midst of a difficult time, I used to pop a cassette in the car, turn up the volume, roll down the windows, and sing “Nobody’s gonna break my stride; nobody’s gonna slow me down” at the top of my lungs.
…and that is what I intend to do.

In the following days and weeks, as I learn my course of treatment, you are welcome to follow along (if you wish) as I begin this new adventure.

I know that all of you will join me in sending hugs and prayers to our friend and ally, Phyllis Bush.

from sarah http://ift.tt/2ovtUA1

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