Diluting People Power

Awww, fall. The crisp breeze reminds you to pull out your favorite sweaters. The somewhat functioning college football (I live in a Big Twelve community) tells us that people are trying to pretend all is normal. But things are not normal. Covid-19 continues to plague communities worldwide. In the US, the 2020 Presidential election took place and a winner was decided. Or was it?

Unlike past election, United Statians eagerly participated in early voting and Election Day voting. In many states we saw long lines of citizens waiting for hours to cast a ballot. The media touted this as demonstrative of passionate citizens making their voices heard. That’s plausible.

Another plausible explanation is that we were witnessing voter suppression in action. In 2013, the US Supreme Court voted to invalidate key aspects of the Voting Rights Act. This important legislation was created in 1964. Its goal was to ensure that all US citizens had access to voting. For all who may not know, this was a real problem in the post-civil war US.

AND, IT CONTINUES TO BE A PROBLEM NOW.

After the US Supreme Court announced its decision, many States went into suppression mode. Texas initiated new “voter identification laws.” These changes made less people (and yes, I am talking US citizens) eligible for voting. Other States began “redistricting” efforts. These actions diluted the power of voters in individual communities.

The sad thing is that the people who want to reduce the powers of people are now being blatant about it. Republican Kansas state senator Susan Wagle was caught on video plotting with right-wing cronies about her redistricting dreams. By redrawing maps, she endeavors to remove US House representative Sharice Davids (the lone Democrat representing Kansas) from her seat and replace her with a conservative. The Governor of Texas changed the rules about ballot boxes. He limited them to one per county. Why was that a problem? Because 41 counties in Texas are bigger than the State of Rhode Island!

These actions are wrong. They strike at the chord of what we tell the world that it means to be “American.” Overseas, we want to tout ourselves as a beacon of democracy. Stateside, elected conservatives have embraced an authoritarian regime. Overseas we want to encourage people to embrace democracy and capitalism. Stateside, federal and state governments suppress people of color, women, and young voters.

Worse than the suppression of US citizens? These actions undermine our country’s position on the world stage. These actions cause safety concerns for military men and women serving tours overseas. These actions weaken the credibility of our diplomats. They even make it harder for US citizens to travel freely outside of this country.

My hope is that 2020 will be a wake up call for all. My hope is that people will remain engaged after casting their vote. Voting for one Presidential candidate will not be enough to get our country back on track. I hope that once the election is over, people will begin the real work of democracy. The items on my agenda are as follows:

Increasing the number of political parties

I don’t have a lot of ideas about how this happens. But, I do wonder why in a country of 330 million people we only have two major political parties. This puts our country at a huge disadvantage. And, it puts the political parties in peril. Case in point, after I became a naturalized citizen, I was so excited to register as a Republican. I reasoned that thanks to a Republican (Reagan), my family and I had been the beneficiaries of amnesty. If you do not know, amnesty ensured millions of undocumented immigrants the opportunity to legalize their status in the US.

Unfortunately, the Republican party beliefs are not what I believed. I understood it to be a party of small government. Now I ask myself how that same party now pushes for government control over the bodies of 50% of its population, The party that I thought encouraged civic engagement now seeks to oppress its voters. And, I do not understand how the party of Lincoln has now become the party of white supremacists. That used to be the goal of the southern democrats. Don’t believe me? Remember that guy George Wallace, governor of Alabama who fought integration of schools? Yeah, he was a democrat.

Abolishing the electoral college

This is my most ambitious wish. The abolishment of the electoral college would require an amendment to the US constitution. But, this change would ensure that everyone’s vote counted in future Presidential elections. Currently, the vote of the people does not ensure a Presidential win. We learned this in 2001 with Bush v. Gore and were reminded of this lesson in 2016 with Clinton vs. Trump.

Putting term limits on federal representatives

This is crucial to ensure that our public servants (i.e. representatives and senators) do not cross the threshold from serving the public to becoming political conduits of lobbyists and corporations. It ensures that representatives do not get to stay in power without bringing any real results to their constituents. And, it ensures that new ideas and younger people can contribute to creating the society that they desire. After all, it is younger people who must live longer with the outcomes of policy decisions made at high levels of government.

Reducing dark money in politics

Of course, money is a problem in politics. In 2010, the US Supreme Court issued its opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This case reversed years of campaign finance restrictions. It put power in corporations and the ultra wealthy by enabling unlimited spending in elections. It further reduced the power of the federal election commission to promote and protect this country.

But it is not just the decision in Citizens United that has turned our elections into a shitshow. Media also plays a hand. CBS chairman was quoted in 2016 stating that although Donald Trump may not be good for America, he certainly is good for the ratings of TV networks, specifically his.

This is not all. In 2020, NBC chose to host a Trump town hall meeting at the same time as ABC was running a town hall meeting for Biden. ABC’s program was scheduled earlier and intended to be a Presidential debate. When Trump pulled out of the debate, NBC rewarded him with his own town hall meeting on three of their channels. Instead of giving the people of our country the opportunity to watch both and evaluate their choices, NBC chose to create a fight for ratings.

These types of actions must stop. Our country’s future requires all of our participation. It requires us to have rules in place that protect all of our people. Our country deserves more than what corporations, politicians and outside actors (like foreign governments) are trying to push us to become. It requires all of us to remember that WE THE PEOPLE must fight towards ensuring that we will all have opportunities for LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

What ideas do you have to improve our country’s political structure?

Support Your Sisters

Ayuda a tus hermanas.

Whether you say it in English or Spanish, supporting other women is important.

Over the course of the last year, I have had complex feelings about what it means to be a woman in this world. On the one hand, I feel comfortable identifying as woman. I always have. I have never minded the mandates and conventions placed upon my gender even though I may not have always abided by them. But over the last year, I have found the cultural backlash against women to be overwhelming. Depressing even.

For that reason, I plan to make 2021 my Women’s Appreciation Year. This means that I am going to take active steps to appreciate and support women. I endeavor to fully embrace this concept in a number of ways.

Arts

In the arts arena, I intend to focus my purchasing power on female artists, authors, actors, and musicians. Beyond that, I am going to take extra steps to introduce my friends and family to those that I love. As gifts, I will consider giving the gift a of book written by a woman. I will write a positive review about a blogger and share her through my social media. I will create a playlist with women’s music that moves me and share it to my colleagues.

Business

There are many ways to support your sisters in business. First, contemplate all of the friends and family members you have that are in direct sales. Second, think of all of the things you purchase from your favorite big box retailer. Finally, think of the friends that you can purchase from instead of the retailer. Need skin care? Talk to your cousin who sells Rodan and Fields. Want to try a new mascara? Give your friend whose been a long-time Mary Kay consultant a call.

The key to purchasing from friends in this manner is to purchase ahead of your needs. You do not have the luxury of running out of a product when you purchase the direct sales method because it can take a few days for your purchases to come in.

From there, expand your horizons. Check out women owned businesses in your town. Don’t know how to find them? Call your local chamber of commerce or use your favorite search engine to discover women owned businesses.

Professionals

I am talking attorneys, accountants, and doctors. If you have never done so, consider hiring a female professional. If finding a female professional seems onerous, stop sweating. Call your state’s accounting, bar, or medical association for a list of referrals. Ask your friends and family members about professionals they have used in the past. Finally, start looking at business websites after a search engine check of “Female Attorney” (or accountants or doctors) and the name of your city.

Now it’s your turn…

How do you plan to support women in 2021?

Identify Your Goals

Every year, I try to challenge myself by trying something new. Most years, I forget my first of the year promise. By the second quarter of the year, I get busy with the day to day responsibilities that are part of my career, family, and personal obligations. And, I fail to accomplish the things on my aspirational list.

But this year, I have promised, will be exceptional. This year, I plan to share my fiction and nonfiction writing with the world. I plan to open up a conversation with Latinas worldwide who are navigating the numerous tags that identify them to the world.

But, I recognized that having an exceptional life requires exceptional efforts. For that reason, I began four months prior by preparing a future-focused plan. I not only backwards engineered my plan by contemplating my goals, my deadlines to accomplish said goals, and the current efforts that I must continue to exert in my life. I have created an excellent game plan for success.

What do you dream?

Plans require VISION.

But, before I could do all of that fun planning, preparation, and plotting, I had to start with the most important thing… A GOAL. Identifying my goals was crucial to creating my plan for success. If you wish to identify your goals as I did, check out the list of questions that I asked myself to identify my goal. I hope the list will help you begin an important conversation with yourself.

If these questions help you or you want to share any additional questions you use to help in your personal development efforts, comment on this post. You can also communicate with me at my Facebook page @AmadaAcostaAddair, Let me know how they work. I will start checking in on the steps you are taking to accomplish your goals.

5 Questions to Help You Identify Your Goals

What are three goals you wish to accomplish in your life? (or, In the next five years? In the coming year?  Etc. Think of any three goals. You are strong, hard-working, and achievement-oriented. You crush goals. Only you can limit your dreams.)

What are five steps which you must take under each of these goals in order to accomplish them?

Are there any time limitations or requirements you must meet in order to complete your goals? (I.E.- I wish to become a teacher. I must obtain a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate in order to be a teacher. A bachelor’s degree takes approximately 4-6 years to complete.)

Do any of your goals require a certain amount of financial investment? If yes, are you able to make that financial investment at this time?

Which of these goals are you going to start working towards today?

What is the first step you need to take to get started?

What is next?

I hope these questions have helped you identify the goals. And, I hope that they help you evaluate whether or not you can begin to work towards your goals today.

Once you have identified the goals you have for your life, it is easy to create a future-focused plan that can be executed and accomplished. You deserve to live the life you envision for yourself. However, it is important to remember that amazing opportunities come from extraordinary efforts. Therefore, you must now use the goals you have identified to create the plan. It is as easy and hard as all of that.

Do you want to  discuss how to create a plan from your goals? Wish to discuss your goals in greater detail? Remember, identifying your goals is just the first step. Now that you have determined what goals you have the time and money to accomplish, you will need to create a plan.

 

What question(s) would you have added to my list of five?

The Journey Begins

Hello! Welcome to my first blog post. For a long time I have dreamed of becoming a published author. I would write things that were never shared with anyone else. I kept my desire at bay by writing and forgetting.

Over the last few years, I have felt a strong desire to share my voice. I have wanted to read and hear Latinx voices like mine. And I have realized that it is my job to add those voices to the America’s conversation.

I want to share non-fiction essays on empowerment, immigration, gender, race, and sex. That is the goal of this blog. Additionally, I will share short stories (written by me) and pop-culture review (books, music, movies.) I have some other ideas that I will be preparing and fine tuning with which I want to surprise you. Please take time to read and share with whomever you think would be interested in these topics.

Moreover, I want to hear from you. As an aspiring author, I want to communicate reflect the voices of women like you and me. And, for that reason, I want you to talk back. I want to hear you and get to know how you live your best life.

Thank you for reading this. And, welcome to my world.

Con Cariño,

 

Amada