I used to be a registered Democrat. But I gave that up during the Clinton years, when the Democrats and their Republican cohorts dismantled welfare and passed NAFTA, with its devastating effects for workers here and abroad. The parties together also passed laws to imprison people for much longer. The Democrats say they represent the common people, but their actions say otherwise, and it goes against my interest as a working-class Chicana to support them.
I didn’t switch to the Republicans because in Arizona, where I grew up, party leaders were viciously going after people of color and immigrants. Instead, I went through a prolonged period of blissful apathy before joining the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP). The party’s optimistic outlook for solving economic inequality and hardship by getting rid of capitalism made sense.
Now I am running for vice president as a Freedom Socialist candidate because the state of this “golden land of opportunity” is ever so depressing. We have got to step up the resistance.
Growing poverty is alarming. So are the out-of-control costs for healthcare, food, shelter, and education. The incarceration rate for the poor and people of color is exploding. The assault on reproductive freedom is stripping women of basic rights. The detentions, raids, and deportations of immigrants are abominations — as are the multiplying U.S. wars.
I could go on and on. But the point is things need to change and it is urgent that they do. Yet, the Democrats and Republicans compound the problem with policies that will make the rich richer via more mega tax breaks or corporate bailouts.
And what have they done for the non-rich? Another reason I am running is all the cuts to education and social safety net programs.
My parents relied on welfare, food stamps, and public housing to get by. Without it, my brothers, sisters, and I would have had unstable, chronically homeless childhoods. My mother was able to take advantage of a job creation program for welfare recipients that allowed her to go to nursing school and leave welfare behind.
If my mother had to rely on welfare now, we would be in desperate straits, because today we have neither real welfare nor effective programs to escape poverty. I say let’s bring them back. No more cuts!
Where will the money come from? Let’s begin by taxing corporate profits, ending all wars, and diverting Pentagon funds to pay for social needs. Let’s end the politicians’ pitting of elders and the younger generation against each other for economic resources and put seniors and youth, together, in charge of the budget!
Every four years this sham gets played out where we are asked to vote for change but, in reality, everything remains the same — or gets worse. The Durham-López campaign offers a chance to vote for what you deserve.
Also see: Stephen Durham: What is a vote worth?
Also see: Their platform and ours