I vote

by Emily Withnall | November 1, 2020 2:33 pm

Mural promoting voting power in Montgomery County, Maryland.

I vote because I’m a mother whose kids have suffered the consequences of policies and political decisions that negatively affect them. I vote because I’m a single parent who has to provide for my kids with meagre child support assistance. I vote because we all qualify for Medicaid, but even so, my kids have been denied medication they needed because Medicaid wouldn’t cover it. I vote because I have possibly inherited a kidney disease but don’t want to find out in case it becomes evidence of a “pre-existing condition” that will lock me out of the healthcare I need. I vote because if I try to advocate for more child support, our food stamps will be cut. I vote because our rent went up and because our housing costs may well keep increasing. I vote because my oldest kid is a senior in high school and will graduate in the spring to face early adulthood in a broken economy and in a country with charred forests, hurricane swept coasts, and deep racial and economic inequity. I vote because my kids have the right to their own bodily autonomy and the right to choose, for themselves, whether they want to have children. I vote because kids born into poverty are treated like criminals and they deserve better. I vote because LGBTQ+ kids make up the largest percentage of homeless youth and they deserve better. I vote because public schools are often the only place some kids are able to eat. I vote because Native women keep disappearing in Montana and across the United States and Canada, and because jurisdiction laws and racism have resulted in the problem spreading–not stopping. I vote because where I live, peaceful Black Lives Matter protests were shut down by armed militias, and armed militias are allowed to occupy any space and threaten anyone with no repercussions. I vote because I live in a place with a zero percent vacancy rate in housing. I vote because the only way you can get housing where I live, when there is a vacancy, is if you are white, have good credit, and no criminal record. I vote because our homeless population is growing and growing. I vote because political and climate refugees have a right to seek asylum here. I vote because families need to stay together. I vote because children should never be placed in cages or taken from their parents. I vote because every child deserves to be treated with dignity and compassion. I vote because every child deserves access to high quality child care and education. I vote because our water and air belong to all of us–not to corporations. I vote because I want to curb the earth’s destruction for my kids and for every generation that follows. I vote because I believe in green energy and the ways it will reduce harm to the earth and create jobs and opportunities. I vote because I have Covid-19 and I want leadership that will help manage the pandemic so others don’t have to experience what I have. I vote because I have been working in the gig economy for five years and I’m tired. I vote because I believe workplaces should care for their workers and be accountable to them, whether they are staff or contract. I vote because I believe in unions and workers’ rights to organize and to advocate for better pay and working conditions. I vote because I believe that corporations should not be accumulating massive wealth off workers’ backs. I vote because people have value and worth beyond what their job is or how hard they work themselves to the bone. I vote because I am gay and I deserve the same legal rights and rights to love whom I choose as anyone else. I vote because my kids have had to hide behind classroom desks for hours and pee in a trash can because of a suspected active shooter in the hallways. I vote because politicians keep legislating discrimination. I vote because conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people is still legal where I live. I vote because abusers, even when convicted, get to keep their guns. I vote because abusers have more rights than victims. I vote because our “justice” system is designed to protect those who already have power and I want to change that. I vote because our jails are disproportionately filled with people of color and indigenous people. I vote because our jails are filled with people who haven’t even been charged yet. I vote because the cash bail system needs to be abolished. I vote because teachers aren’t paid nearly enough for all the social services schools have to provide. I vote because CEOs are paid far too much. I vote because universities are run like businesses and I don’t know if or how my kids will ever be able to attend if things don’t change. I vote because my children are watching. I vote because kids everywhere are watching and they deserve more.

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