Summer of Feminista: Confessions of a Disgruntled Voter

This week we welcome Michelle from xishell words!

I have a confession: I haven’t been paying much attention to the upcoming presidential election. There, I said it. I consider myself to be a progressive Xicana Feminist, so it’s kind of embarrassing to admit it. But now that I have and that I’m thinking about it, I really haven’t paid much attention to any presidential election- possibly ever. I’ve read articles, watched some TV, but I’ve never done in-depth research into a candidate’s position on this or that because I know that I’m going to vote for the Democratic candidate. I’m not a Democrat. I’m most definitely not a Republican. I’m ideologically opposed to our current two-party system, what is the name for that? From my perspective, there isn’t much of a difference between the candidates when it comes down to it. What Republicans say frightens me, what they do terrifies me; what Democrats say sometimes encourages me, other times, confuses me and then what they do, frightens me. Either way, I’m frightened. Sometimes, based on actions alone, I can’t tell the difference between them. So what is a person like me to do? I want to participate in my civic responsibility but feel discouraged by it all.

I am disillusioned by the state of our “democratic” process and have been since I’ve been of voting age. How much does it really matter who is elected? If Gore had been elected in office, when 9/11 happened, would it have been handled very differently? I’m not trying to defend the Bush/Cheney office, I just don’t think it matters all that much who is the head when the body is a puppet being manipulated by corporate greed. And although I sound like one right about now, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m just a Disgruntled, on the verge of Apathetic, Voter. Which is sad because the truth is I care a lot.

I care about education. I want to see children taught critical thinking skills and their imagination and interests encouraged. I wish for higher education to be available and accessible to everyone who pursues it. And if students are instead interested in vocational trades, I want them to be recognized for their skills and contributions as well.

I care about the economy and jobs. I would like to see all the different levels of work valued for their contributions to our economy. And for industries to be encouraged to operate from where they live because maybe then they will consider their impact and invest into the community more than floating multi-national corporations do (maybe?). That we cease our dependence on non-renewable resources so that by the time my child is an adult, he won’t be living in some post-apocalyptic dystopia.

I care about healthcare- from the inside out. I want to see holistic repairs of our minds, bodies, and emotions instead of one-size-fits-all pills. I want for our government to put as much effort and resources into preventing diseases as we do into pharmaceutical treatments. I hope that someday a person of any age, income, class, and immigration status can receive affordable, fair, and high quality care without worry or discrimination.

I care about immigration. I want humane and compassionate policies that recognize U.S. involvement and dependence on illegal immigration. There is no short cut solution- these are real people in real struggles trying to do the best they can for themselves and their families.

I care about health and safety for all, and given recent developments, women in particular. I want for all people to have access to health care, have autonomy over their bodies, to be protected from threats of and actual acts of violence and abuse, and valued for their full range of capabilities.

I care about our food system. I would like to see more locally based agriculture free of GMOs and pesticide, hormone, and antibiotic abuse/over use. I want the people who grow and harvest our food to be paid a living wage, have access to humane and just working conditions. I wish for healthy and whole foods to be available to everyone; ending corporate subsidies for corn and soy crops that make an ear of organic corn more expensive than a two liter of soda.

I care about our water supply. I want it to be protected from contamination and pollution- for it to be used and shared wisely as well. And I want clean, safe water to be accessible and affordable to all. Something it seems will become more of a “hot topic” in the future as our natural resources continue to dwindle.

I care about the safety of the cosmetic and home products we use everyday. I want to use products that are safe and non-toxic without having to do hours of research before hand. I don’t want to worry that my cumulative exposure to the toxins in these products may contribute to cancer, birth defects, pollution, asthma, hormone disruptions, etc.

I care about the environment. I have a young son and I want for him to be able to swim in the ocean, play in the rain, experience wildlife, and feel a connection to the natural world. I don’t want him to have to go to a museum to see photos of what the planet and its inhabitants used to look like.

I care about marriage equality. Which I kind of resent having to add here because why should the government be involved with who we choose to commit to? People who wish to be married, should be able to do it in whatever way is best for them: religious, spiritual, cultural, business, whatever. And those who don’t want to be married in any of those ways should not be deprived of benefits or privileges for their choice either. Relationships are too personal for legislation, in my opinion.

I care about the global community and our place in it. I want the U.S. to be seen as an accepting, compassionate, considerate, and fair county. A country that puts human rights above profits when it comes to international interventions.

So you see, its not that I don’t care. I just don’t know that our elected officials do. And if they did, I suspect and fear that corporate interests and bribes and threats and conflicts of interests and whatever else I don’t know about, have rendered them powerless to do anything substantially meaningful. I vote because I can, because it’s a privilege my immigrant family struggled for, but does it really matter? The only power through voting I see is in local politics, the national field just feels like a complete loss. Unless and until we find a way to remove corporate greed from our politics, we’re in over our heads, or maybe more accurate, out-resourced.

How do we create meaningful change within our current system? Voting is the existing tool and it just doesn’t seem to be working out very well. Is it just me who feels like this? Am I too impatient? With the way things are going, my prediction is that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Which frightens me a great deal. But come November, you will find me at the voting booth. Putting in my two cents, hoping for the best and bracing myself for the worst.

Summer of Feminista 2012 is a project where Latinas are sharing their thoughts about Election 2012. Viewpoints can be liberal, moderate or conservative. Academic statements. Personal stories. Learn more or how you can join the Summer of Feminista. This is a project of Viva la Feminista. Link and quote, but do not repost without written permission.