Wednesday, November 7, 2012

politics and family

Earlier this week I got a cryptic email from my aunt & uncle who I haven't heard from in a long time:

Hey Jenna – The whole family is so proud of you. We know you are very dedicated to the good of humanity and working with other countries. We hope you know that we as a nation and middle class people need your age to realize that what is happening in our economy is detrimental to the country. We need a change – not what is happening. My friends and children are losing their houses and jobs. Is that what we want? Just think about it for you and future families. I felt impelled to send this email to you and would love to hear your feelings. We need to keep in touch. Love you. – [Aunt and Uncle]

Hmmm, this was sent to me just before the election...  We need a change...not what is happening [now under President Obama, I guess].  They're feeling impelled to contact me regarding their concerns about what's happening right now...  Could they be trying to make me think about voting for Romney?  Could they be presuming I don't follow politics and understand what's happening in this country?  Could they be assuming I'm just some ill-informed liberal on the brink of voting for Obama *gasp* AGAIN!?

Well, just in case any of these possibilities could be the case, here was my response:

Hi guys,
It's good to hear from you!  I'm sorry things have not been going well for your friends and family.  I know I feel extremely grateful to have found a job this year, if not I would not have been able to pay for my student loans or have any sort of healthcare coverage.  That's why, to me and many other people my age, student loans and healthcare are very important topics during this election season.  Student loans bear most of the debts my generation will carry for a good part of our lives, so it's important to have a president who understands these burdens and will work to reform them to make them affordable.  I personally don't want a candidate whose advice is to simply "ask my parents for money" to attend college.  For middle and lower income families, that is not an option.  That was not an option for me, but at least I was lucky enough to have parents who co-signed for my loans, many low income individuals who imperatively need an education to advance, don't have that option.

Healthcare is another extremely important topic for me and I'm so thrilled at the prospect of the Affordable Care Act.  Though ACA is not universal healthcare, we are taking a step in the right direction, as a responsible and powerful country, to take care of the people who live here.  Universal healthcare is a system that has been in existence in Europe and has worked exceptionally well for many countries there.  Is it perfect?  Certainly not, but at least those who need basic care will have access to it and that boosts the country overall.  Mitt Romney set up a successful form of universal healthcare in the state of Massachusetts.  You wouldn't really know it because he doesn't talk about it since it doesn't align with what his party wants for the country and he's quite good at telling people what they want to hear rather than stating exactly what he believes and wants for this country.  If I were him, I would be proud of this accomplishment.  I work for a non-profit in Montgomery County, Maryland, that assists clinics that provide services to those without health insurance.  Their patients are the "lazy takers," often working two or more jobs to take care of their friends and family but still can't seem to find adequate and affordable health insurance.  

I voted for a president who wants to allow a woman to make decisions about her own body, not to call back into question laws that were passed 40 years ago.  There are many other issues we need to be concerned about, just as you said, jobs, for example, rather than scrambling desperately to go back to a time in which men had more control over the bodies and decisions of women.  In addition, I voted for a president who wants a woman to receive the same pay as a man, who doesn't tell some distracting anecdote about binders of women that says nothing about bringing women beside men in the job market, not steps behind, as we've always been.  I voted for a president who would renew the Violence Against Women Act which protects thousands of women across the country from various forms of violence.  I voted for a president who, in his first days in office, signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which states that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that action, therefore protecting those seeking justice in cases of discriminatory compensation. I would not vote for a president who shares the party of individuals who have clung, with everything they have, to bigotry, misogyny and racism. 

In terms of those losing their jobs and homes, that is especially sad.  If I were in that position I would want a president who would stand with me and understand it was his responsibility to care about me, even if I'm within the 47% that "doesn't pay taxes or take responsibility for their own lives."  It is a president's job to care about the entire country, not just an elite few.  I could go on but I think this explains my thoughts.  I have a feeling we may not agree on these things, it might be best if we don't talk politics.  

Take care!


(No response from them so far but they may be in a fallout shelter or on their way to another country to live right now, so I'll give them some time.)


  1. I love you, my liberal friend! Not only did you stand up for what you believe in, you said it in such a dignified manner! Such a classy lady :)