America’s Choice: A Referendum on Progress
By. Raimondo Graziano
~ Written before the 2016 Presidential Election
Every election we hear the pundits and the papers proclaiming that this election is the election. A defining moment in American politics, we hear how the world is watching. While the latter is assuredly true, the former can at times be an exaggeration. This election year is not the case. Not only is the world watching who Americans will choose this November, but the sanctity of our democracy hangs in the balance. We have watched for over a year now this Presidential election play out through a brutal primary season on both sides of the aisle. No matter how bruised or disillusioned you may feel at the whatever losses or disappointments you may have in regards to this election, it is vitally important that every American eligible to vote does so.
Whether you are a republican, a democrat, an independent or a third party voter we all must remember that we are American citizens first, neighbors, brothers, sisters, coworkers, family and friends first. We are Americans, and on election day it is our responsibility to each other, to the promise of tomorrow, to the gains and strides we’ve made these past eight years, to remember and hold fast to the idea that we are all Americans, and we must ensure that when we are in the voting booth that day, we make the choice that will uplift our nation and not plunge us into uncertainty, division, bigotry and hatred. While there are many Americans who feel as if they are left out, who feel that they have been forgotten, I ask them this – truly look into yourselves, look into yourselves spiritually, morally, ethically and ask yourself: who do you want to hold the office of the Presidency of the United States?
This election is bigger than party. This election is a referendum on our progress as a people. The strides we’ve made internationally, through diplomacy and through joint agreements as well gay rights, women’s rights, fairer pay and more affordable college can be put to a halt. Progress is difficult for many; they cling to a past that was not inclusive to the diversity of our great American culture and geography. We have to recognize that our past is not perfect, reflect on our wrongdoings and move forward together to forge a stronger more united and empathetic people. We cannot regress and turn our anger at the current political reality into electoral madness.
For many Americans, the choice on either side is not favorable, but do we want a President who has been cited as a major global security threat? Do we want a president that will give further tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, while leaving millions in the lurch, threatening to tear apart families, and rip apart the fabric of our democracy?
Do we want a president that is open to the use of nuclear weapons in a conventional setting? A man who has dodged his taxes and has said that he has built his wealth on the backs of the ‘little guys.’ This is not the America I know, and I refuse to sit idly by while it is hostilely taken over. America first. It sounds righteous. But it is not so. America first means skirting our obligations to our allies abroad. It means abandoning values that have uplifted American families and have added to our great history and diversity. It is selfish and reflective of the candidate a once great party has put forth as their nominee. For those who speak of third party candidates as a viable alternative, they are wrong. To vote third party this election would be monstrously irresponsible. Anger at the current political reality should not in this case be a rallying call for a protest vote. Not this November.
This election Americans have a clear choice. Do we continue to progress as a nation, or do we regress into uncertainty? For myself, for my family, for my country – I am with her.