I have been staying away from saying anything political on this blog. Not because I don’t have an opinion but because I’m not particularly well versed in everything politics. I know enough to be able to carry a conversation about the issues, but ask me a candidate’s voting record or previous accomplishments or failures and I’ll stare at you blankly. But it’s time I say something.
I am a product of legislation.
Let me explain.
I wouldn’t be the person I am if it weren’t for the Immigration Reform Act of 1986.
My mom would have never became a citizen.
She may have gotten deported.
I may have been born in Mexico.
I might never have learned English.
I possibly wouldn’t be able to communicate with you right now.
I may have died of malnutrition after I got sick from the fever I had.
I may not be alive now.
Even if she managed to go undetected she would have had a hard time finding work that paid decently, had very few rights against injustices and we would have always lived in fear of being deported. The access I have to education, public services and employment opportunities is all because of that fateful law.
This would have not been possible if President Ronald Reagan, a president voted into office by the people never advocated for and pushed for this act.
Then there’s all the Supreme Court cases that have given me rights. Here are all the rights I’ve gained thanks to the Supreme Court over the years.
Separate but equal being struck down
The right to a fair trail
The right to choose what I want to do with my body and when and if I want to have children
(Let me remind you who elects justices to the Supreme Court, ahem the president)
Here are a few other things I also don’t take for granted:
That if I wanted to and circumstances called on it my country could help me get back on my feet if I lost my job or couldn’t afford groceries
That I am guaranteed a minimum wage
That children don’t have to be forced into labor
The right I have to vote as a woman and as a person of color
That I am considered a citizen because I was born here
That I can’t legally be discriminated against on the basis of my sex, culture or religion
That my mom wasn’t forcibly sterilized during her time in California because the practice was legally ended just 15 years before her arrival
That I can legally nurse in public
That I could take time off after my son was born and not fear losing my job
There are many more.
Laws protect me and give me rights that make living in the United States an incredible right that I am always thankful for. Laws that are passed by elected officials and upheld by elected officials. Presidents, senators, house representatives.
Are all the laws perfect? No. We as citizens have a job to keep our elected officials accountable. That’s why we have activism. That’s why we had people like Susan B Anthony, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Gloria Steinem.
But one thing that scares me is I have been given so much freedom and so many rights and someone’s whole platform is finding a way to take those all away. A platform where he won’t acknowledge the existence of global warming, who calls women pigs, who wants to cut spending to education, that discriminates against the poor, that wants to cut public funding.
I have a friend who says he has faith Trump won’t be elected to the White house.
Have you seen the polls recently?
Trump is ahead of Hilary.
That scares me.
I’m not so confident in the American public.
So that is why I am pleading you, friends who won’t vote, friends that don’t want to support Hillary. Hear me out. I voted for Bernie. I voted for him because I believed in what he stands for. Not because the boys were with him as some had said of his supporters.
But Bernie has conceded. He knows this fight isn’t about him in office. This isn’t about him or I giving up on our values.
I value life, I value independence, I value experiences, I value hard work, I value free expression, I value differences.
The other issues? I care, but they’re not my top priority. Hillary was not my top choice, but she is not the enemy.
A citizen is powerless if his birthright citizenship is taken away because his parents aren’t U.S. citizens. A woman is powerless if she doesn’t have the right to choose what she wants to do with her own body. A couple is powerless if they can’t love each other and be partners in life. A family is powerless if they can’t get help when they need it. Our safety is at stake when we allow ideas of religious exclusion, sexist rhetoric and eugenic minded thinking rule this country.
I’m not trying to guilt you into voting.
But we have 1 Supreme Court seat up for nomination and 3 that the public thinks will open up during the next presidents candidacy.
We have senators to vote for.
We have house representatives to elect.
The other party already has an advantage that almost 40% of the population doesn’t vote.
And there’s approximately 11 million people that live in this country who CAN’T vote.
Who we elect into office affects them, it affects me.
So I am pleading you to vote for your fellow citizens. For your rights, for mine.
Photo via Visual Hunt