Culture

What I Wish My Family Knew About How Their Vote For Trump Impacts My Life

Politics is a tricky topic for families and friends, especially when you are on opposite sides of the aisle. It’s hard not to take things personally when it comes to how those closest to you vote. Those feelings have been heightened since 2016 when President Donald Trump won on a campaign based on fear and hate. His rhetoric has never changed and his words and policies are having a real impact on the lives of millions, including me and my husband.

My family is a Cuban family living in Florida. They fit the description in more ways than one. They are a close-knit unit always visiting each other and having mini family reunions for every occasion. Covid changed that for a while but over time they have safely created a bubble with themselves. I am one of three in my immediately-extended family to leave Florida so they don’t see my life on a daily basis. I can only imagine that living in Florida would change that.

With the 2020 elections in just days, I have had some hard conversations with my family about things they’ve never understood or asked about. As a gay Latino man living in the U.S., my life hasn’t always been easy and safe. I grew up in a rural town in the Florida panhandle where it was not okay to be visibly and audibly Latino nor gay.

I was 16 when I had my first run-in with violent homophobia. I was at a keg party and I was pouring a beverage. A college student came up to me and asked if I was gay. Knowing the importance of self-preservation, I immediately said no. Without missing a beat, the man sucker-punched me in the face, called me a faggot, and ran to a waiting car that sped off.

My parents never heard that story. I lied to them when they noticed the welt on my face and told them I got elbowed at cheerleading practice. I know. I was a cheerleader and my parents couldn’t see I was gay. It was safer for me to lie and not let my parents know I was targeted for being gay, something they were in no place to accept are Cuban immigrants living in a rural, conservative southern town.

That moment instilled in me a fear that I live with to this day. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I always function at the level that I can be attacked at any time for being gay. President Trump’s rhetoric and administration has made that worse.

During President Barack Obama’s administration, I felt safe for the first time in a long time. I know that comes with some privilege, but it was the first time in in my gay life that I felt safe to be who I was. I came out to my parents. I became involved in politics to get people elected. I traveled as an openly gay man. I was no longer living in the shadows.

The 2016 elections shattered the feeling of safety and peace for me and my friends. Suddenly, all of us were on the chopping block as our rights and dignity were under attack again. The Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016 reminded me of how much hate there still was for people like me and the Trump campaign was fanning those flames. I was scared. My family didn’t understand why.

Most of my family voted for President Trump that year. It was a knife through the heart to know that most of my family was not concerned about my own safety and dignity. For them, President Trump’s election was more important than the very real threat he posed to millions of people.

I remember confiding in my family my fear that President Trump would try to eliminate marriage equality, won just one year before. I was made to feel like I was being dramatic. My husband and I got married the Friday after Thanksgiving because we just did not trust what the administration would do.

Four years later, Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito signaled that they want to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that made my marriage legal. How? With the help of Amy Coney Barrett, who was rushed in with just days left till election day. Marriage equality became law of the land in a 5-4 ruling.

This blow to the LGBTQ+ community comes after the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that LGBTQ+ people cannot be fired for being LGBTQ+. The ruling in June stated that LGBTQ+ were included in the Civil Rights Act under protection from discrimination based on sex.

The lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court to make discrimination against me legal was drafted by the Trump administration. The man my family voted for wanted to make me less than everyone else.

One of the first cases before the majority conservative court that could erode LGBTQ+ rights is Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The case, which will be heard the day after the election, will decide if private agencies that receive government dollars can refuse people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and even religion. How is this happening in the U.S. in 2020?

I am also a recently diagnosed diabetic. The Trump administration has been a hostile enemy of the Affordable Care Act since day one. The ACA, also known as Obamacare, has become increasingly popular with Americans, especially now during the pandemic.

Another case being heard on behalf of the Trump administration is a case to dismantle the ACA once and for all. This would throw millions of people off of their healthcare and would leave millions more with pre-existing conditions without healthcare.

A vote for Trump is a vote to strip people of necessary and life-saving healthcare. We have all read the horror stories of people dying of diabetes because they couldn’t afford their insulin. The Trump administration wants us to go back to those days. The court case could force numerous people to die from treatable and manageable diseases for the sake of profit over lives.

Republicans have no plan to replace the ACA. However, they have continued to lie to the American people and claim that they do.

There are several communities under attack right now. Black lives are at stake. Abortion rights are at stake. Healthcare is at stake. Immigrant rights are at stake. Trans lives are at stake. LGBTQ+ rights are at stake. Our standing in the world is at stake. The soul of our nation is at stake.

Under this current administration, I have seen my friends live in fear that they will lose rights. I have watched friends grapple with the understanding that they have lost rights.

My family claims to care for me, and I am sure that on some level they really believe that. However, as a gay Latino man living in the Trump administration, I have grown resentful. I resent that their votes are costing me and my friends their human dignity. I resent that their vote exacerbated the ongoing pandemic that has cost more lives than it should have. I resent that they ask why I don’t visit despite voting to limit my rights and freedom.

To my family members who have voted against this administration, thank you. Thank you for standing by my side. Thank you for understanding what is at stake for me and my marriage. Thank you for rebuking an administration that has caused unnecessary harm to millions of innocent people.

It is not too late to have your voice heard. Go vote. Millions of us are relying on you using your voice to determine the future of this nation.

READ: Remembering The Victims Of The Orlando Shooting, Many Of Whom Were Latino

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Here Are The Southern California Latino Politicians Gov. Newsom Should Consider For Kamala Harris’ Empty Seat

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Here Are The Southern California Latino Politicians Gov. Newsom Should Consider For Kamala Harris’ Empty Seat

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Now that Sen. Kamala Harris will Vice President-elect Harris, there is a lot of talk about who Gov. Gavin Newsom should appoint to the seat. There is a lot of pressure on Gov. Newsom to appoint a person of color and we agree. Here are six Latino politicians from Southern California that should be appointed to the vacant Senate seat.

Hilda Solis

Solis’s political career started in 1992 when she ran for and won a seat in the California State Assembly. In that position, Solis made her presence known and was a crucial voice in the debate on undocumented immigrants backing legislation to make college accessible to undocumented immigrants living in California. Since then, Solis has served in the California State Senate, represented California in the House of Representatives, served as Secretary of Labor under President Obama, and is currently on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Solis has history, experience, and knowledge of politics from local to national levels. In that time, Solis has backed and written legislation and policies on every issue ranging from domestic violence to the environment.

Robert Garcia

Garica is the current mayor of Long Beach and has established himself on the international stage. As mayor of Long Beach, Garcia has worked tirelessly to address climate change and establish strong trade partnerships with countries around the world.

As an openly gay politician, Garcia has used his time in office to work to expand LGBTQ+ rights around the world. The mayor has visited Peru and Honduras Victory Institute and the State Department to take the fight to Latin America.

Nanette Barrágan

Barrágan is currently a congresswoman reprensenting California’s 44th congressional district. The congresswoman would bring a legal background often needed by members of the Senate. Barrágan started to get involved with politics working on African-American outreach for the Clinton administration. Barrágan also spent time working with the NAACP working on health policy and racial health disparities.

Barrágan was one of the members of Congress to go to the U.S.-Mexico border during the Trump administration. Barrágan recorded and exposed the conditions of people legally seeking asylum under Trump’s assault on migrants.

Kevin de León

De León started his political career in 2006 when he was elected to the California State Assembly. After a brief tenure, de León was elected to the California State Senate where he worked on a wide range of issues. De León worked with his colleagues on issues like affirmative consent, the environment, gun control, and transportation.

De León ran for the Senate in 2018 against Sen Dianne Feinstein and lost. Now, de León serves on the Los Angeles City Council filling José Huizar’s former seat. Huizar stepped down due to an investigation into corruption and birbery.

Norma Torres

Torres has had a steady career in politics starting on the Pomona City Council before becoming Mayor of Pomona. From there, Torres served in both the California State Assembly and State Senate before becoming a member of Congress representing California’s 35th congressional district.

As a member of Congress, Torres has worked on the following committees:

  • United States House Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
  • United States House Committee on Rules

Alex Padilla

Padilla has been a public servant for California for decades serving as president of the Los Angeles City Council before being part of the California State Senate. In 2015, Padilla became the Secretary of State of California. In 2017, Padilla pushed back against the Trump administration and refused to turn over voter data to the administration. He then went on to win reelection with 64.5 percent of the vote in 2018.

Padilla is currently the favorite to be Gov. Newsom’s choice to fill Vice President-elect Harris’ vacant seat in the Senate.

READ: Kamala Harris’s Husband Is Quitting His Job to Become America’s First ‘Second Gentleman’

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Maduro’s Attempts To Deprive Venezuelans Of Oxygen To Coerce Voters Rings Eerily Similar To Trump’s Threat To Withhold COVID Vaccines From New York

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Maduro’s Attempts To Deprive Venezuelans Of Oxygen To Coerce Voters Rings Eerily Similar To Trump’s Threat To Withhold COVID Vaccines From New York

JUAN BARRETO / Getty

It is one of the oldest binding oaths in history: the Hippocratic Oath outlines a physician’s duty to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability and to do no harm.

Still, somehow, 16 members of Cuba’s medical missions to Venezuela say that they were forced to abandon this promise while serving patients. A new report by the New York Times details how these physicians detailed a system of deliberate political manipulation in which Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro Moros used coercion of their services to encourage votes for his Socialist Party.

According to the doctors, various tactics were used to secure votes from patients including the denial of treatment for opposition supporters.

“The Cuban doctors said they were ordered to go door-to-door in impoverished neighborhoods, offering medicine and warning residents that they would be cut off from medical services if they did not vote for Mr. Maduro or his candidates,” writes the New York Times in their latest report about the ongoings in Venezuela. “Many said their superiors directed them to issue the same threats during closed-door consultations with patients seeking treatment for chronic diseases.”

One former Cuban supervisor reported that she and other foreign medical workers were provided with counterfeit identification cards so that they could vote in an election. Another doctor claimed that she was told to give elderly patients “detailed” voting instructions.

“These are the kinds of things you should never do in your life,” the doctor, who spoke to the NYT under the condition of anonymity, stated.

These accounts of manipulation and fraud under Maduro’s legitimate time as president serve as a sort of parallel to the ones Americans face post-2020 election.

Just as Biden supporters have had to combat Trump’s grossly false claims about a “rigged” election, Maduros’ opposition-controlled legislature have had to fight combat claims by Maduro and the results of his undemocratic election.

According to New York Times, “Mr. Maduro’s opponents often accuse Cuba — which has long depended on oil from Venezuela — of propping up his embattled government by sending agents to work with Venezuela’s intelligence agencies, helping its ideological ally crush dissent.”

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the New York Times report are claims that doctors saw medical supplied hoarded until the May election. (Oddly similar to remarks that Trump has made about withholding a COVID-19 vaccine from New York City.) One physician, Dr. Yansnier Arias, claimed that his supervisors expressed a desire to “flood hospitals” with supplies just before the vote was made in order to make voters believe that Mr. Maduro had solved the country’s shortage difficulties.

“There was oxygen, but they didn’t let me use it,” Dr. Arias told New York Times.“We had to leave it for the election.”

According to New York Times, Dr. Arias defected from the Cuban government’s medical program last year and now lives in Chile.

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