Thursday, June 22, 2017

Stand Your Ground - Lose Paychecks

It is no secret I absolutely cannot stand Donald Trump.  Couldn't stand him in the 80s when I was growing up, couldn't believe he got a reality TV show in 00s and, well, you can imagine how I felt this past November. Or don't imagine.  Read what I wrote before and after his election "victory".

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I knew my stance against Trump would not be popular with some. As the year went on last year and into this year, I lost sponsorships, speaking deals, and other sources of income because I refuse to speak nice.  Ironically, that straight talk is what those who voted for Trump said they liked so much about him - he spoke his mind. And while I could surmise there were some paychecks I lost because of my fervent nature of talking about how horrible of a human being Trump is, and some had told me so in person or over the phone, I didn't have anything as striking in my hand as I did today when I woke up to this email.

This was in response to an elongated exchange of emails, texts, phone calls, etc about me being a featured speaker at a particular race. For those who don't know, speaking is one of my main sources of income. I speak at schools, economic summits, land title associations, cruise ships, massive banking institutions, etc. I have a fun story and I am good at telling it - relating it to whatever place I am in.  Having run 52 Marathons in 52 consecutive weekends, however, speaking at a marathon is a layup.  That's my audience.

For some context, this email was in response to my message which was following up on our last exchange wherein I said:

"Would love to speak to you about 2018 as I definitely do not want to get a late start in working together.  What would you need from me to make this less work for you?"

Suffice it to say I wasn't expecting that. Now, I have debated naming this particular race specifically because my intention is not to shame them. I also know they are not alone. But if you want to know who it is so you can say no thanks, drop me a line. Happy to do so privately.

In addition, let me nip a few things in the bud.

1. This is not necessarily a First Amendment abridgement. So many well-meaning people were getting up in arms with regards to this. No one was stopping me from saying what I wanted. I said it and knew there may be consequences.

2. We didn't have a contract signed at this point. As such they were not going back on anything concrete.

3. No one has to hire me to speaker for anything. It is always a choice.

Having said, that what bothered me most about this was the combination of how long we had speaking about working together coupled with the fact that the people who supposedly agreed with me appeared to be "warning" the person I spoke with (who also agreed with me) to not get involved with "my brand." Ugh. If you want to disgust me, call me a blogger. A close second is to talk about my brand.  (And who exactly was warning him and why? Warning him about what? Having a spine?)

IF I have a brand it is standing up for the weak, disenfranchised, powerless, historically underrepresented or minorities, or just fighting for basic human decency. Sometimes I get angry and intolerant of hate, ignorance, stupidity or malice.  I never said I was a tolerant one (so stop with the the "Oooh look at the tolerant left!" comments.  Tomi Lahren tried that with me and even her physically-threatening minions didn't stop me.)

So that's my brand. I am not overtly political - I am overtly anti-Trump/Trump sycophants. I can't stand religion but some of my best friends are Mormon. I think Ted Cruz is a soulless succubus but if you want to vote for him, we can probably find shared ground.  But Trump is where I draw the line.

Because of my stance, I have lost all of what I have said I have lost. That's fine. But those who are on my side of the aisle, or who see things the way I see them, haven't stepped forward to support me.  Sure there are likes on Facebook or retweets on twitter. BFD. Where are the social justice warriors when someone who is fighting for all the things they are fighting for, but more publicly and with more to lose, when I need someone to say "Damn right we want to hear you speak!"?

This may sound a bit bitter and that is because it is.  This email I received doesn't stop me from speaking elsewhere. But it sure does have a chilling effect on whether I think speaking my mind is wise course of action. If people who supposedly agree with you still won't stick their neck out a touch to work with you, how can you expect to make a living do what you do?

If I had the same stances about Obama or Hillary and this was the end result, I wouldn't be writing this right now. I would be on Fox News talking about the snowflakes in their safe spaces. Hell, Mike Huckabee would have already written a horrible pun in a tweet by now. (By the way, Mike, your son murdered a dog. No one ever forgets this. Block me all you want.) Instead, fortunately, I have an outlet here on a website which attracts a lot of attention.  Obviously it does or I wouldn't have received the above email.

So who is willing to help me out and pick up the slack?  My speeches rarely touch on anything even remotely political.  I take my personal experiences coming from a poor family, where I put myself through college and law school, have accomplished some impressive athletic feats no one else ever has done, all while suffering from a liver disorder and use my experiences to inspire others to chase their own dreams.


That's one hell of a brand. 

I can be reached at danerunsalot@yahoo.com if you are looking for your next keynote speaker.

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