When meeting voters on their doorsteps, my talking points have been recently reduced to ‘vote for Democrats’. But I’m missing something here. I’m missing a lot. This is the closing argument, not the opener.
Blatant racism is what got me involved. Our country has changed, and it has now become acceptable to be openly racist. This is what I’ve seen in the rural Ohio. Hispanics are being demonized, whether Puerto Rican, Mexican, or Central American. It doesn’t matter if they’re US-born citizens, if they came here to go to college, if they’re escaping violence, or if they came here to work horribly long hours in fields or slaughterhouses. In rural Ohio (and possibly throughout America) they’re all seen as ‘not like me’ and ‘not white’.
This is especially an injustice for laborers. Our economy has been propped up by this illegal labor, whether it’s been to make homes and landscaping more affordable or to make produce and chicken cheaper at Walmart. We’ve all benefited, yet how quickly we point the finger at the laborers for breaking the law and purportedly making our country less safe.
As a college-educated white woman, I haven’t experienced racism. Sexism, sure, but not racism. But I’m married to a Puerto Rican and have half-Puerto Rican children. In some places, like our elementary school, I feel like we’ve made great strides in accepting everyone regardless of skin color. My daughter has best friends that are Hindu and Muslim. My daughter was appalled learning that MLK’s best friend was told not to play with him because he was black. We don’t refer to people by skin color in our home.
Outside of our school, the racism starts. Boomers seem to carry the majority of the racism. In the past few months, I’ve heard several family members spew ridiculous opinions against non-whites. For whatever reason they believe, they feel threatened by non-white people.
I feel like this has been a rapid change. In 2005, when my husband and I got married, we had 40 Puerto Ricans come to Coshocton and were welcomed. I don’t think that would be the case today.
I don’t know when this started. Fox New has fanned the flames, and probably by most measures, started the fire. Having our first African American President played a role in creating a backlash. Social media has played a role. Gaming, Breitbart, Russians, Republicans, they can all be blamed. This started before Trump, but he’s at the helm now. He’s Racist-in-Chief, and this is why we need to fight. This is why we need checks and balances in government. This is why we need to obliterate our complicit Republican-majority Congress. THIS is why we need to elect Democrats.