If you had told me seven to ten years ago that I would be spending months filled with worry about midterm elections, then I would not have believed you. If you had told me I would spend the evening of the midterm elections in a frantic and borderline hysterical state, then I would have laughed in your face.
I’ve been a voter, but I did not actually care about most things for which I was voting. I thought it was absolutely not worth arguing about politics, and if someone started talking politics, then I peaced on out of there. It was not my problem. Other people’s issues were theirs to manage, and I simply could not be bothered. I truly thought that if you just tried enough, then you would be okay. That all of these problems that people face could all be boiled down to basic lack of human responsibility. I am embarrassed that the first quarter of my life was spent in such willful oblivion and with such ill-informed views, but thankfully, people can change. And I did.
It’s taken me too much time to unlearn and relearn a lot of things, and I still have a long way to go in too many areas to count. I still discover deeply ingrained beliefs, prejudices, and biases that negatively impact how I view various people, and I am working every day to confront them and change my thinking. Despite that, I can clearly see now the injustices, discrimination, bigotry, and systematic oppression that steals opportunity, safety, and a general sense of well-being from too many people in this country.
Every vote we cast is either to stop change or make change. As a country, we are in a constant state of push and pull with wanting progress while simultaneously fighting progress. But we have to change. We have to do better. It infuriates me that the President and his leadership continues to peddle the crap narrative that by lifting others up, then the rest of us have to sink. There is plenty to go around. You might not get everything you want and your expectations might not be met, but this country has enough for all of us to be here and to live better.
Keeping other people down or out of the country will not help you. You will not get a raise because you voted for someone to crack down on immigrants from Iran. There is nothing for you to gain from stopping immigration. Nothing. There is nothing for you to gain by limiting reproductive freedom. There is nothing for you to gain by refusing to recognize the transgender community. There is nothing that you will lose by believing survivors of sexual harassment and assault, and there is nothing to lose by demanding the end of our societal acceptance of these behaviors. There is nothing for you to lose in demanding justice for people of color who are wrongfully killed by law enforcement. There is nothing for you to lose in supporting accountability for police brutality and excessive use of force.
Truly, I don’t understand why these are political issues at all, but here we are.
I don’t understand why ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare is a bad thing. Each and every one of us will face health challenges. None of us are immune from cancer, car accidents, strokes, dementia… No one deserves to die or live without necessary medical care because they had the shit luck of being born poor or losing their job or having a spouse/child who already had a medical issue that got the family dropped from coverage.
No one deserves this. We are talking about people. And life goes sideways for good hardworking people every minute of every day. Most of us could find ourselves in poverty and without insurance if just a few things in our life go south. You do not deserve to slowly and painfully die from cancer because of your income. Go spend some time talking people who have experienced homelessness if you do not understand how quickly life can come unraveled.
Anyway, thank you to every one who voted in this election. It was a record turn out in numerous categories which is fantastic. I hope you cast your votes to make this country a place where each person deserves basic human rights and can live with dignity. We are more alike than we are different, and we are all in this together whether you like it or not.
Some good things happened last night and we have some fresh faces to look forward to. Beto, Abrams, and Gillum aren’t done. They all accomplished something important, and we need to keep backing them on their future efforts. They challenged the status quo, and that is something to be proud of.
Ending with something hopeful, I love this video by Khalid and Sean Mendes for their single, “Youth.” The line “Pain, but I won’t let it turn into hate” is something more people in this country could stand to hear. Each of us carries our own pain and struggles, but that does not mean we should vote for people who will stir up hate to cause more pain for someone else.
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