By Samantha McLane
“The personal is political” was the mantra for the feminist movement in the 60’s, and currently it is a phrase that continues encouraging reflection and action on current issues regarding gender, politics, and the demands for a better society. In this new century, we women have new challenges; we have defeated many obstacles that were undermining our dignity as human beings, and we are now working on issues dealing with our new lifestyles. Men and women are now more conscious of the benefits of seeking alternative ways to live, and changing the roles constructed by society.
One of the spheres in which women have been participating more actively is the political one. Since the recognition of women as voters, the possibilities to be heard as individuals have publicized problems which were seen before as domestic ones, not as public concerns. Later, we have had women in Congress and the Senate, and recently we have had a woman contesting for the presidency (not to understate the successes of women who have become presidents in other countries). But as I started saying, the personal is political and the basis of all this political highlight is our participation as citizens in a democratic state. One way to achieve a political position is to exercise the right to vote. (If you are not registered as a voter you can visit www.votolatino.org or women vote).
Among the candidates who represent their positions in these campaigns, the person elected will be the head of the executive power and will put in practice his/her party’s ideologies. Points to ponder include the candidates’ statements on reproductive health, abortion, equal pay, and education opportunities. Moreover, how they approach the Latin community and how do they address their interests in it comprise other crucial questions.
Whatever your position is on either the Republican or the Democratic party, or indeed any other candidate, the important thing is to vote. To opt for a passive position in the elections will not make a difference. On the contrary, it will keep our interests behind. The only way a democratic state can function is with the presence of the vox populis, the voice of the people.
Another important consideration is that not being a citizen doesn’t exclude a person from the right to participate in political activity or to demand better conditions. As we can see, these political campaigns include in their agendas issues concerning both illegal and legal immigration, amnesty, human rights, etc. Latinas and Latinos participate in their communities, jobs, and public spaces and are therefore contributing to the development of the United States. Living in a town, village, community, or city includes having responsibilities and rights. We are affected by political decisions, so why not be part of them?
The more we participate in the political processes, the better our daily life and interaction with society will be.