The great battle taking place in the world today is not between Republicans and Democrats, black and white, or rich and poor — but between optimism and hopelessness.
America is facing a pivotal moment in history. We have a choice that could affect the lives of every single being in our world. A choice that goes beyond this election. A choice that is about our values, not just as Americans, but as human beings. The whole world is watching as we make a choice that could set a precedent for billions of people in every corner of the world, who will either see that the politics of fear, prejudice, exclusion and bullying can be successful or that that style of leadership will not be tolerated.
Every day I wake up wondering what new scandal will be revealed, or what inflammatory statement will be splashed across the media — while important political issues are swept under the rug.
I’m worried about the futures of my sons and the example set by a president who publicly shames those who oppose his views rather than engage in meaningful dialog. I’m worried about how today’s style of politics will influence our next generation of leaders. Young people watching this election are seeing a leader who exemplifies that the path to success is to bully and intimidate those who stand in your way and that the way to get elected is to stoke the flames of fear and prejudice.
Politicians around the world are watching this too. This is no longer just about who our next President will be — it’s about the way in which politics are conducted in future elections across our planet.
Are we destined to live in a world that repeats the problems of our past?That uses hatred for political gain, bullying to silence those with differing opinions and fear to instill division? Lately it’s been feeling that way.
On November 8, we all have a choice to make that will affect the life of every single being in our world. A choice that is about our values, not only as Americans in the United States, but as human beings in a global community.
We have the opportunity to choose whether we support a platform of intimidation, sexism, and bigotry, or if we will invest our time and energy in the discussion of ideas, the celebration of diversity, and open-minded collaboration for the betterment of all people.
I grew up in a mixed family that taught me to value that diversity and to see it as a strength instead of a weakness. And when I meet people around our country everyday and see the positive things they are doing and how deeply they care about our shared future, I see that there is hope.
Most of us agree that our system needs fixing, but the question is what will we replace it with? I believe we need a viable third party that is not beholden to corporate interests, or gripped by the bigotry and prejudice of the past; a party that puts the needs of working people and the planet first.
But right now that is simply not a choice we have, and as Bernie Sanders has said over and over again, “Now is not the time for a protest vote.” There’s just too much riding on this election. Our elected officials may not meet every checkmark that we believe in, but that doesn’t mean we should stop fighting for the best leaders possible.
Every vote is a voice and every voice matters. So when you go to the polls, or you fill out your mail-in ballot like I did last week, go there remembering the love that you have for your kids, family, community, nation and our world. Walk in with the best intentions, knowing that the outcome of this election will be felt for generations and for that reason, your vote will send ripples around the world.
The greatest danger to any society is people who have lost hope. I am asking you not to lose hope.
We won’t wake up the day after the election to find that everything has been fixed overnight. We will still need to work 365 days a year to remedy the problems we face daily. But if on Election Day we truly step into our power as a unified force for love, equality, and progress, we can wake up on November 9, confident that just by voting, we used our voice to choose optimism over hopelessness.
Originally published on November 4, 2016 via Medium.com.