I am a minority woman raised in the city of Chicago, in an impoverished neighborhood Both my white mother and (American born) Mexican step-father were very active in community politics and advocacy including volunteering for the neighborhood coalition. My parents, both democrats, often kept us kids at their sides. We too, volunteered right alongside. I even remember collecting money in a coffee as donations in order to raise campaign money for Harold Washington, Chicago’s first Black Mayor. I was just eight years old then.
My family was poor and relied on welfare assistance to survive. Despite my parents’ strong political views, I have never, to this day, yet seen the inside of a voting booth. Although my step-dad passed away 10 years ago, I can still hear his voice in my ear scolding me about how the world will never change and ”.. the poor will stay poor, and the rich will continue to get richer…” if we didn’t stand up and speak up for ourselves. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife the moment I told my mother that I had never cast a political vote.
I never let the fact that my family was poor, or that I lived in a high crime area much of my life, to be used an excuse to hold out my hand with the hope someone would come rescue me. I graduated high school and years later attended College which was paid for using both Federal Aid and Student loans. I worked hard and made the necessary sacrifices to secure my future. I became a Registered Nurse. There are people I know, and grew up with, most of whom were subjected to similar upbringing and environment. They chose to wallow in self-pity complaining it’s the system holding them back, making it impossible to get anywhere.
Regardless of one’s financial status, skin color, religion or anything else, the exact same opportunities exist and are available to ALL Americans. There are programs, scholarships, financial aid, etc. The catch is that you have to be willing to WORK for it and be proactive. You can’t expect a knock on the door from a fairy godmother holding your bright prosperous future on a silver platter.
I, even at that young age paid attention. Reduced government intervention economics, strong trade agreements such as the Canada-US free trade agreement, lower taxes and deregulation of the stock markets solidified the United States’ economic power. The American Dream was re-realized and the US was getting back on track. However, presently, our beloved country, although somewhat recovered from the horrible economic crisis in 2008, is once again in major trouble.
This November I will cast my vote. My vote will not be for the candidate with the proven track record for lying, deception, indifference, carelessness, and self-servitude. It will not be for a woman who turns a blind eye to adultery. My vote will not be for a woman concerned only for her own future.