I admit it, I am an emotional person. I have always felt moments of extreme sadness to extreme happiness. I think we all have to embrace our emotions if we want to stay sane. It shouldn’t matter if we are a man or a woman, we must let ourselves cry over the memories. Why am I telling you this? Well, I was watching a music competition show that opened their latest episode with a remembrance of the last 15 years in our lives. It mixed show memories with real events that happened in the United States over the last fifteen years. I wanted to give you some memories of events that have happened to us and why this is the most consequential Presidential election of our lifetime.
According to the 2000 US Census, we had approximately 280 million Americans. We started off the period with a new President George W. Bush who was inaugurated as our 43rd President. Less than eight months into Bush’s presidency, two hijacked jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center twin towers on September 11, 2001. We lost more than 3,000 people in that terrorist attack and it changed our country in that moment. Airline rules changed immediately, we were forced to give up some of our freedoms that we so enjoyed in the pursuit of happiness. We accepted the restrictions, but we didn’t accept the direction that this terrorist attack took us in the terms of politics. We had already lost the White House to the Republicans, but in all accounts, Bush was labeled as a pretty straight moderate. At least that is what I remember he ran on. He was the Republican establishment poster child. Americans bought it, so we had to accept his leadership. I will admit Bush brought our country together in those months after September 11. No one could fault him, other than his blank stare while reading that children’s book. But behind the scenes we had been deceived. He was not the man who brought us together, he was the very man who forced change upon us. We were deceived into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Investigations in Congress determined there were no weapons of mass destruction, but the Republican Party has used that to force their far right agenda on the people. President Bush was the one who created the Department of Homeland Security which told other nations that we were no longer open and welcoming to them. While it offered protection, it also changed the way our neighbors are treated. That treatment is the Republican ideology. They treat us as if we are under their control while claiming to be offering us freedoms. We invaded Iraq and claimed to free the Iraqi people in 2004. Yet, we are still in Iraq fighting a war that George W. Bush declared. Why do we give him credit for anything and why do we continue giving the Republicans a chance to push us even further right by allowing them to control our women’s bodies, our love lives, our families? We are suppose to be Of the people, by the people. Yet we have turned into a nation of elected leaders dictating our we should live our lives. These are not Democratic leaders that do this, these are the Republican Party and each of their elected leaders.
We suffered through fifteen years of GOP policies that protected the rich and corporations while further punishing the working class and the poor. After Bush took office, surveys of homeless service providers noted an remarked increase in familial homelessness. While the United States has always allowed homelessness, we can not deny the amount of homeless people began to explode due to the policies of the GOP by pushing people off of supplemental assistance in an effort to reduce the deficit that their Republican President left us with. If we want to speak in truths, we must acknowledge that we had a surplus until a Republican declared a never-ending war that has more than doubled our national debt. This was not President Obama. Sticking to facts, the current Democratic president has reduced our record-setting budget deficit from Bush. Because of the war, President Obama’s first budget was $1.4 trillion. Since that time, the Democratic President has sheared off nearly $1 trillion. His final budget proposed had us around $483 billion. This has been a major improvement with Republican obstructionism at a historic level. Those sacrifices have been at the expense of the people. But I must remind you that it was constant Republican pushback that took our rights away, forced our women back to the fears they experienced before Roe v Wade. It created a new generation of fearful women who just want to have the right to make choices for their own bodies. We are supposed to be a free people so why are we allowing our Republican candidates dictate what they want us to do. They are supposed to speak for the people, not to the people. I will never say that we have perfect Democrats because every politician has flaws. Honestly, can you say you have no flaws? We can not expect our leaders to be perfect representations of the ideal person. There is no perfect version. However, we must elect leaders that put our best interests in mind.
The majority wins every time, and you can’t cheat your way to a win. Yet, once our first African-American President took office, states immediately had a fear of voter fraud and began making laws that restricted our rights to vote. They invented this theory in order to reduce Democratic turnout of minority voters. These are facts. Since 2008, there have been 22 states that implemented voter ID laws, similar to the old Jim Crow laws that put further restrictions on our constitutional right to have equal access to the ballot box. We are repeating history and this was the worst part of history. We can not ignore the increase in racism, Islamophobia, and LGBT discrimination that has occurred over the last fifteen years due to Republican policies and actions. Our African-American citizens have never escaped the institutionalized racism that has been built into our laws by Republican members of Congress. Housing discrimination, communities deprived of financial resources, allowing predatory lending by weakening the Frank-Dodd legislation that was to protect them from another financial crisis. Everyone blames the African-Americans for their own issues, but we can not be that naïve to ignore what we see happening in our minority communities. Yes, the poor have been always been labeled as a minority class, yet they are still equal under the Constitution. We have Republican candidates who have treated these communities even worse under President Obama, as if they wanted to punish the people for electing the African-American. Sorry, but this is just my observation as someone on the outside looking in. I don’t understand their struggle because I didn’t experience it, but that doesn’t mean I refuse to acknowledge what I see. I don’t think we must punish any citizen by eliminating their Constitutional right to live free of oppression, free of discrimination and free from police brutality and discriminatory criminal laws.
A study in 2012 discovered that police had killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012 alone. The last time we saw this amount of obvious bias with the police was during the height of the Civil Rights era in 1963. The actions are the same, the defenses have evolved. Now our fellow Americans get labeled monsters, beasts, rushing for the gun. The list goes on and on. Why is it only the minorities that get labeled as defective or a danger to society? Yet, the current list of Republican candidates refuse to acknowledge the struggles of our current population. We have also seen a remarked rise in hate groups in the United States, yet the current leading Republican candidate went on national television and refused to condemn or disavow former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke or the many white supremacy groups who have openly endorsed him and provided SuperPAC support to include robo-calls to our friends and neighbors. Donald Trump claimed it was a bad earpiece as a reason to repeated refuse to disavow any support from people who would want to take the rights away from the African-American community. He has made himself immediately unelectable, but the truth is the rest of the Republican candidates are promoting similar policies that would further push our minorities deeper into debt and poverty.
Discriminatory laws were put in place in many states that eliminated or restricted the rights of our LGBT citizens. While they won the right to get legally married in every state, those Republican led states immediately began seizing control of the fight by implementing restrictive laws that said you could deny the rights of LGBT citizens because Republican leaders feel that they are less than equal. They will say that they are just denying special rights, but nothing that LGBT citizens want are special rights. The Constitution gives everyone one set of rights whether we like it or not. When you say that rights are only for certain people, that is denying rights period. Yet, the current set of Republican candidates already want to carry out more discriminatory laws in an attempt to remove the rights of people. Women won the right to control their bodies in an historic Supreme Court decision in 1972 labeled Roe v Wade. Yet every current candidate wants to carry out a law that would repeal those rights simply because of their religious beliefs. The Constitution grants us the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion. Laws should not be implemented that give one religious belief the right to dictate what is morally acceptable. Yet, these candidates want to do that. Where does it stop? A woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body is a right, why are we allowing our elected leaders to take that right away? If you elect a Republican, this will happen.
I am not telling you who to vote for, because that is your right. Each candidate has a platform that proposes which direction they will take our country. All I recommend is to vote with your mind, instead of your heart. Emotions cloud our judgement and we make silly mistakes in an emotional moment. We have two amazing candidates on the Democratic side. We have a Democratic socialist who wants to offer some amazing policies, and while I agree with many of his proposals, I must also use my brain and determine how these goals would logically be achieved. On the other hand, we have a Progressive Democrat who has moved further left from her moderate stance which brings decades of public service and the first former First Lady to ever serve in the Senate and to represent the United States as Secretary of State. I have watched as both candidates have pushed their agendas while their supporters have slung mud from both sides without debating the real content of their policies. We are better than this. We must sit down and look at their real records, their real voting history and their real accomplishments. When our primary season is over, we must support our Democratic candidate if we want to end the cycle of oppression and hate that has invaded the Republican Party. This is the election of our lifetime and we may not get another shot at ending the control that has taken over our lives in the last fifteen years.