By Tyler Haggerty
America is at a crossroads. America is in danger. This republic, the first of its size or scope since the age of Rome, was born at the dawn of an era of democracy. Led by the idea that it is we the people who hold the power in our society, we lit the way for the fledgling republics that followed in the wake of our revolution. We became a symbol of freedom across the world. But now the symbol seems to be fading.
The question of the hour, to quote former President Obama, “…is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.”
Anytime it seems that the federal government wants to try to pass meaningful legislation to help us citizens, it always ends up being wrapped up in the theatrics of politics.
We cannot be satisfied with the status quo, nor can we allow ourselves to be bogged down by the burden of cynicism. Cynicism is the death of hope.
Right now, every state in the union has either proposed or passed a law that massively restricts voting rights. With corruption of government and the crumbling of voting rights, our leaders will be unable to solve the many challenges that lay ahead. So it must fall upon we, the people, to remind them that they work for us.
Right now in the Senate, the Freedom to Vote Act is sitting in the Senate chamber awaiting to be voted on. If passed, it will make Election day a national holiday, restrict gerrymandering and dark money in Congress, secure elections, create a paper trail, and prevent foreign interference in our democracy. If we as citizens join together to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, we can make America the great place that we all know it can be. We can become a country that is truly worthy to call itself a symbol of freedom and peace for the rest of the world.
I am twenty years old. Climate Change is here and there is no running from it. If we do not act now to try and mitigate the damage, my life and the lives of my children could be met with unimaginable suffering.
I am on the Autism spectrum with anxiety and ADHD. The Affordable Care Act allows me to stay on my parents’ insurance plan until I’m 26, at which point I will hopefully have a job that allows me to have insurance despite my preexisting condition (Or we’ll have decided to implement socialized medicine). This historic piece of legislation was only able to be implemented because of the dedication of Congress and the leadership of President Obama, and the people who got them all elected.
The Freedom to Vote Act will greatly impact the lives of those in the disability community and their ability to participate in the democratic process. For those who cannot wait in lines or make it to the polls, mail in voting is a key tool for them to make their voices heard. Especially when so often members of this community have been disregarded by society.
I am the son of a lesbian couple. I grew up during the marriage equality movement. I have seen and experienced the positive impact that legislation can make on people’s lives. With the repeal of DOMA in 2013, my parents were able to finally be legally married. With the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 after Oberfell vs. Hodges, my non-birth mother was able to adopt my siblings and I.
These decisions were made by Supreme Court justices appointed by elected officials. This progress would not have been made if not for our democracy.
The purpose of public service is not to gain power or fame, it is to help people. Senator Krysten Sinema has an obligation to us, the people of Arizona who chose her to represent us, to ensure the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act, even if it means reforming the filibuster.
The right to vote is sacred.