Things That Matter

Catalina Lauf Is Running For Congress And Wants You To Know Her Mom Is A Legal Immigrant From Guatemala

Since the midterm elections, there’s no doubt there’s a new breed of politicians in charge on Capitol Hill. Some have labeled these new politicians as the “Freshman Four, or “The Squad,” and it’s made up of Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. They mean business, they stand up to President Donald Trump, and, clearly, they intimidate right-wing conservatives because they’re always on the defense. Republican lawmakers seem to consist of mostly white males. But, who is to blame for not re-energizing the conservatives? Trump, perhaps? Not necessarily. Looks like there’s at least one potential lawmaker who seeks to be in office as well, and she’s not white nor male. 

Catalina Lauf, a young Latina, is aiming to run for office despite having no experience in politics.

Credit: catalinalauf / Instagram

Lauf, a former Trump administration adviser, is seeking to take down the current the Democratic incumbent Lauren Underwood and retake the state’s 14th Congressional District in Chicago, Illinois. Like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Underwood also unseated a Republican in the midterm elections. 

There are a lot of similarities between Lauf and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, but make no mistake, these two Latinas are starkly different.

Credit: catalinalauf / Instagram

For starters like the majority of Republicans, Lauf is a pro-Trump supporter and believes everyone on the left is basically a hater who doesn’t understand what Trump is trying to do. 

“He’s not a racist,” Lauf told “Fox & Friends” this weekend. “People like my mom and my grandmother and many other Hispanic-Americans who have come here legally feel so insulted by that, because they did it the right way. And there’s a process for it. And you should be a law-abiding citizen. President Trump is doing his best to protect this country, and we should be enforcing immigration laws.”

The 26-year-old, who is half Guatemalan and half German, said she doesn’t ultimately care if people compare her to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. As long as voters know what makes her different from her.

Credit: catalinalauf / Instagram

“I’m not anti-anyone, I’m pro-America,” Lauf said on Fox on Monday. “But if there’s a contrast” [with her] it’s that I’m driven by a love for my country, not a hate for everything it stands for.”

So what does she stand for anyway? Peace, unity, and the American way. Her slogan is “Latina by heart, American first.”

“Today, angry voices seek to divide us by skin color, economic class, and where we come from. They use envy and bitterness, trying to convince us to surrender our personal freedoms for the false promises of socialism,” Lauf narrates in her campaign video. She also makes it clear that politicians like the four freshmen are making this country and terrible place. 

Lauf went on to say that the “Four Freshmen” are running on a theme that aims to break up what America is all about. “They forget that America is an idea, an idea that we are all created equal and that what we have in common is far more powerful than any of our differences,” Lauf said on Fox News. As to her policies, she said that she’s a big supporter of small business. “I’m a very big proponent of entrepreneurship and small business and that’s a big platform of mine. My district has a lot of small business owners and we need to ensure we’re creating an environment that really fosters that growth,” she added on Fox & Friends. 

Does she have a chance to take back the Republican seat? Perhaps. 

Credit: catalinalauf / Instagram

As we said, Democrat Lauren Underwood already took the seat from the Republican vote, and Lauf said she is certain her district is Republican at heart. She also said that Underwood is making pathetic attempts at trying to be part of the Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s squad by posing extremely left-sided policies. 

“I plan to offer a counter to that message, one that doesn’t tear others down, but lifts all of us up,” she said. “A message that focuses on what brings us together, not our differences, and how that commonality will help us get things done for our constituents and preserve the promise of the American Dream.”

At the end of the day, it all comes down to donations. Underwood raised $4 million in campaign funds for her winning election. Lauf needs to bring in more if she truly wants a chance. We just have to see how badly Republicans want this newbie in their corner. 

READ: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Clapped Back On Twitter After GOP Leader Refused To Call Her By Her Name

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

Culture

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

fidmart85 / cantstayput / Instagram

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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Marco Rubio Writes Letter Asking For TPS For Venezuelans After Republicans Voted Against It

Things That Matter

Marco Rubio Writes Letter Asking For TPS For Venezuelans After Republicans Voted Against It

Stefanie Reynolds / Getty Images

The Trump administration is letting Temporary Protected Status expire for hundreds of thousands of people. A lot of these people have been here for years and have started families and businesses. Republicans voted against TPS for Venezuelans so Sen. Marco Rubio is now asking Trump to do something about it.

Sen. Marco Rubio wrote a letter to President Trump asking for TPS for Venezuelans.

It is a break from the usual tactic of ignoring TPS needs in Florida by Haitians, Hondurans, and Salvadorans. These people are at risk of losing their TPS after the Trump administration decided to let those protections expire. Venezuelans started fleeing the South American country when the economy started to collapse. Many of them have settled in South Florida.

People immediately started to call Sen. Rubio out for his glaring inaction for years.

Venezuelan nationals have been coming to the U.S. for years to escape the terrifying situation in Venezuela. An economic downfall led to millions of Venezuelans going without food, school, medicine, and other necessities. The crisis was an international fascination as Venezuelans took to the streets and were killed for protesting against their government.

Senate Republicans refused to vote on a bill last year to provide TPS to Venezuelans.

In August 2019, Senate Republicans had the chance to vote on a bill that would have protected Venezuelans living in the U.S. A bill in the Democrat-led House passed but the Senate bill stalled because of Senate Republicans. The failure by the Senate to pass the bill has left Venezuelans vulnerable to deportation back to the country they fled.

“Not this week, I don’t anticipate movement on it,” Rubio told the Miami Herald back then. “I anticipate hopefully getting the administration to do something. That’s what we’ve been working on behind the scenes here, we’ve made a little progress on it. We have 17 votes already scheduled this week, a bunch of nominees, the spending bill, the veto override. The votes this week have already been scheduled.”

During this time, the Trump administration has quietly been deporting Venezuelans back.

Venezuelans nationals have been deported back to President Nicolás Maduro’s brutal regime. With no economic prospects, the deportations are sending people to their deaths as one in three Venezuelans aren’t getting enough food. This is just one of the many issues compounded on the Venezuelan people after years of economic and political turmoil.

Venezuelans are also pointing out how Sen. Rubio waited until after Amy Coney Barrett to fight for TPS.

Senate Republicans recently confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The confirmation was rushed to secure a conservative majority on the court and went against the wish of the American people. A majority of Americans preferred that the Senate wait until after the election.

There are four days left until the elections and every vote matters. Make sure you get out there and make your voice heard.

READ: The RNC Wants You To Think Biden-Harris Policies Are Socialist, These Cuban And Venezuelan-Americans Think Otherwise

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