Last week, Michigan Representative Mallory McMorrow spoke out regarding a hateful attack against her by a supposed colleague. She spoke forcefully and eloquently about her background and how those who say they’re “for” kids by banning books and shunning everyone other than white males from privileged upbringings does a disservice to children in particular and our nation as a whole.
We currently live in a democracy, if we choose to fight to keep it. A democracy is signified by our votes for people who are supposed to represent our interests, all of our interests, within the bounds of our Constitution. To this day, Donald Trump is still trying to get Wisconsin politicians to nullify all 3.3 million of our votes, have the Republican-led legislature substitute its vote for ours and put him back in the White House. That’s not legal or constitutional, but our former president wants it anyway.
It is in our best interest as a nation to have every American who is eligible to vote, to vote. I’m even considering supporting Universal Voting in order to fix all the problems that current politics and gerrymandering have wrought. What can I do to make sure that I and other disenfranchised voters get our say?
Rep. McMorrow listed her qualifications. Here are mine. I am a straight, white, married, college-educated quasi-suburban senior citizen. I grew up in a village of 400 souls, all white. I learned about tolerance from my parents. Kids would call on Dad every evening to play ball and his rule was “everyone plays.” Girls got to play, even toddlers were carried around the bases to great applause when they got a home run.
I learned to read at age five and soon tired of kiddie lit. My aunt was an English teacher and we had a decent library in town so I learned about race from reading To Kill a Mockingbird, the horrors of war and genocide in The Diary of Anne Frank, and life in Death Be Not Proud. Our public school wanted to change to phonics for reading education and two mothers objected as we were already reading, so two of us brought our own books to school and read in the back of the classroom while the other kids learned the curriculum. My reading pal Steven only read kid-level books about sports. My choices at age 6-8 were my own, with some input from parents and Auntie L.
Divisiveness and hatred have come out from under their rocks beginning with the Trump presidency, giving credence to “both sides” of white supremacy. I was always a bit different and longed to be the same as all the other kids but settled for being different and accepted as such. And I always helped others feel as if they belonged as well. Years ago I heard from a grade school classmate. She and her little brother, my younger sister and I used to walk together from school to CCD (Catholic religious instruction) every week and the girls would taunt the boy mercilessly. He and I would walk together and let them know it didn’t bother us. Turns out he was gay, and his sister thanked me for treating her brother so well when she was being so mean to him. They’re now best of friends.
So what can we do about today’s unfortunate situation? Here’s what I plan:
I will vote and make sure my vote is counted and not vetoed by politicians who only want power.
I will only vote for candidates who support my right and the right of all eligible voters to be heard.
I will vote against any politician who has/had anything to do with legislation to curtail the right to vote and work to assure that all elections are held fairly and democratically.
I will vote against any candidate who discriminates against or tries to shame persons of another gender, color, religious background or sexual orientation.
I will vote against anyone who espouses ludicrous conspiracy theories. If you want to slander me by saying I’m intimately involved with martians who live on a spaceship in my back yard, you’d better darn well have proof.
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America is the land of the free, a melting pot by design. We should expect growing populations to be represented in our democracy. Calling everyone you don’t like a “pedophile” for no reason, won’t work for long. Ask Henny Penny, who kept telling all the villagers the sky was falling until they didn’t listen.
And stop hating groomers. My dog goes to hers for a nail trim every month and there’s nothing nefarious about it. And I use a hairbrush and comb every day. Aren’t those considered grooming tools?
Seriously, these personal attacks must end. Politics is the give and take of ideas, including the idea of compromise. Political opponents are just that, not enemies. This vitriol, constant spreading of hate and misinformation has no place in our society, no matter how much money it makes these politicians or companies spewing it.
Ms. McMorrow said it best in her conclusion, and I concur. “Hate wins when people like me stand by and let it happen. I won’t.”
Do something positive for your country today. And pray for Ukraine, Dee