Republicans, Please Hear Me Out

When I think of the most conflicted (and, perhaps, most frustrated) voters in this presidential election, I think of my dad. I don't know how my dad will vote come November--maybe he doesn't either, at this point--but I do recognize, from knowing him so long and so well, that there is not a candidate he can easily and confidently back in this election.

My dad is truly more of a libertarian than anything; socially progressive and accepting while fiscally conservative. His life has been the American Dream. He and my mom came from modest upbringings (my dad's life could even be described as a life of poverty), both managed to earn scholarships to engineering school, and both went to work full-time in their early 20's, living in apartments until they could take out a mortgage on their first modest, cookie-cutter home--a safe place in a developing neighborhood where they could give my younger brother and me opportunities they did not have.

And that is exactly what they have done. Paycheck by paycheck, coupon by coupon, cross-country move by cross-country move, my parents climbed the ladder of middle class America while hoisting my brother and I along with them, rung after rung. We both went to college, and I received my MFA from NYU, while my brother has taken graduate courses in computer science. We are still living a version of the American Dream so many families long to experience in 2016.

As I began pursuing my own career in the midst of the Great Recession, at a time when many young professionals going after white-collar jobs are kept on as long-term temps, when I'm still asked (even last week, at work) why I don't yet have kids or am not yet married (what? none of your business), I quickly understood where my dad's fiscal conservatism comes from. I really did. He and my mom have worked hard for every paycheck, against all odds, just like I'm working hard, against all odds, for mine.

But my dad's a chemical engineer, a guy of reason. We both thought the Republican Party would somehow keep Trump 2016 ("The Trumpening"?) from happening. For a short time my dad was behind Carly Fiorina, a candidate who, like Trump, was not a traditional politician. As the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and an adviser to John McCain during the 2008 election, Fiorina made a lot of sense--especially in a year when women's rights (including our treatment in the working world, in which she has succeeded tenfold) are finally coming to a head. When I think of how early she was counted out of the race, I want to ask of the collective Republican Party, What happened?... though I sort of already know the answer.

I was 14, only one week into my freshman year of high school, when American Airlines Flight 11 and United Flight 175 crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on September 11th. The news was on in every single classroom as all 2,500 students in my public high school, and all of the faculty and staff, watched the hijacked planes destroy a significant part of the Manhattan skyline in confused silence. Unsure of what to do or say, the school sent us home only an hour after classes began.

I made it back before my brother and mom. The attack was playing on loop in our house too. I asked my dad, "Who did this?" I asked, "What happens now?" No one was sure.

I didn't sleep much that night. The world could have been ending. At some point I sat straight up in bed and wrote pseudo song lyrics in my journal. I don't remember what they were, but the gist was that whoever had tried to hurt our country ultimately could not. If they meant evil against us, the powers that be surely only meant it for good, and time would reveal that was true. I was, and am, no patriot, but the dust of our nation's greatness that filled the sky as those landmark buildings crumbled reached me, all the way across the country in Beaverton, Oregon. It settled in my heart, leaving it friable and dark.

A day or so passed and I asked my dad, "Is there going to be a war?"

"There could be," he said.

"No! There cannot be a war!" I was a very outspoken liberal for a kid who didn't yet know anything about politics. Really, I didn't like it when guns killed people.

"So you'd rather have us sit here and be attacked?" my dad asked.

"You'd rather have us go out there and do the attacking?" I fired back.

He shook his head and walked away. "It's not that simple, Becky."

He thought I was naive and foolhardy, and having a bunch of people like me in charge of the United States would only leave us for dead. I thought he was being stubborn and ridiculous, and having a bunch of people like him in charge would simply annihilate all of Earth.

In reality, neither of our extremes were, or are, true.

But we both were pushed to extreme places because we were each shaken to our cores.

Looking back on it all now, as I remember 9/11 and write out feelings I've never expressed even once before, I realize my brother and I have come of age in a difficult time. It's hard to see it through all the iPhones and hybrids and streaming TV options, but 100% of my adolescent and young adult life--high school, college, grad school, and my first few years in the working world--have not been at all like what my parents hoped for their kids when they took out that first mortgage and enrolled us in Montessori school, prioritizing our safety and educations--our futures--over frivolous expenses and luxury for themselves. Now some part of them may wonder, what, exactly, was our effort for? What kind of future has it been?

We have all been frantically trying to recover the American Dream since September 11th, 2001. But just like any trauma, the fall of the Twin Towers asked us to look at our country as it was, to see what was not working, and to build ourselves up again from a stronger, though entirely fresh, foundation. The pendulum of American society has swung through so many extremes in the last 15 years that we are still struggling to settle on a steady, functioning middle ground.

President Obama promised us change.

For many Americans, these changes have felt long overdue--such as the ability for hourly workers to chose their own health care plan and have that plan be affordable--and have brought celebrated freedom to marginalized people, such as the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, declaring it legal in all 50 states.

But there are many, many people in our country who never wanted these changes. And they are showing up at Trump rallies daily.

After 9/11, after declaring war on Iraq, after invading Afghanistan, our nation had swung so far to the right that the left was called to action in their own way. While the right was adamant about fighting to secure our freedom, the left was asking, but what freedom is this? What kind of freedoms do we really all have? The question had to be answered. Change had to come.

In our post-9/11 world, the Republican Party desperately wanted to, and has tried to, return everything in our country to how it was before the terrorist attacks, as if nothing happened. As if our country was on a perfectly fine path until one bad day disrupted everything, and all we collectively have to do is figure out how to get over that day so we can get back to "normal" life.

That is one way of dealing with PTSD.

Another is to look at how everything was before so thoroughly and completely that you begin to see every flaw, every crack in your, or your community's, foundation. Then you must repair the cracks. You must address what was flawed before the trauma so that the trauma means something. So that, yes, you were knocked down, but you got back up again stronger, smarter, more aware, and more alive. I believe that is what the Democratic Party has been asking of the Republican Party since 2001. Yes, we should protect our freedom, but freedom for all.

When I was in college, I was able to spend the better part of a year traveling. I went abroad on scholarship, then used all my savings to backpack afterward with friends. It was me taking--for the first time in my own, singular life--advantage of something the American Dream had to offer me, a middle-class student. I wanted to understand the world. I was tired of teachers and textbooks telling me what it was all about. I wanted, so desperately, to go and figure it out for myself. And I could.

I learned two definite lessons that year. 1.) For all its flaws, this is the greatest country in the world, with the best system of government in the world. We are very lucky to live here, and we shouldn't forget that.

2.) Those in other countries who resent U.S. citizens and the U.S. as a whole predominantly do not resent us for what we have. They resent us for our attitude about what we have.

I was asked one, same question by different people in different countries, developing and First World alike, regarding our name. The first go-around went something like this:

"Why do you call yourselves 'America'?"

"Um... Well, that's just the name of the country. It's a derivative of an Italian mapmaker's name. Amerigo Vespucci. Or, that's what they teach us."

"I know that."

"Oh..."

"I mean, you are the United States. Why do you say you're 'America'?"

"It's the United States of America. It's just, like, a nickname."

"You don't understand. Canada is also 'America'. Mexico is also 'America'. North America. Canada doesn't call themselves 'America,' they are Canada, part of North America. You are the United States of America, part of North America. Mexico is the United Mexican States, part of North America."

"I guess...I never really thought about that."

"Then there is Central America and South America, all three named for Amerigo Vespucci."

"We don't...I don't know why we say 'America.' I guess we shouldn't."

"You think you are all that matters in all the Americas. You think you're all that's there."

I can only imagine what the world thinks of us now. We have a presidential candidate who embodies every negative stereotype of "American" people. He's asking us to become more exclusionary. He's telling us we (he?) alone deserve(s) things no other people in the world do. He wants to build a wall around this "America" to keep out, what? The other "Americas"? The other people in our same world.

"We did not find it difficult to deal with Bush and his administration, because it is similar to regimes in our countries--both types include many who are full of arrogance and greed." 

A country full of arrogance and greed. Those words spewed from the mouth of Osama Bin Laden, founder of al-Qaeda, perpetrator of the September 11th terrorist attacks. As we now stare down two different roads we can take into the future, I ask: What will we do? Are we who Osama Bin Laden said we are?

Osama Bin Laden was a hateful, evil person who acted despicably in the names of religious justice and national revenge. But he is not the only citizen from another country who has looked at us and been upset by what they've seen. He is not the only person who has hoped that the arrogance and greed of the United States will eventually be our demise. He also said:

"America is a great power possessed of tremendous military might and a wide-ranging economy, but all this is built on an unstable foundation which can be targeted, with special attention to its obvious weak spots. If America is hit in one one-hundredth of these weak spots, God willing, it will stumble, wither away, and relinquish world leadership." 

Our foundation was targeted. Our weaknesses have been exposed. And now, since 9/11, we have been struggling not to stumble so significantly that we're unable to stand again.

Donald Trump's political platform (if we can call it that) hits us repeatedly in our obvious weak spots. It's an attack on parts of our country and government that still need fixing, only now the attacks are internal. His words play off our gross "American" sense of entitlement--the one associated with our pre-9/11 beliefs, the one that limited freedoms for U.S. citizens for reasons such as race, gender (and, therefore, socio-economic background), and sexual orientation. As has been pointed out, it takes us back in time.

Many people do not want to fully face September 11th. Many people just want to go back in time. But the American Dream is no longer there.

Liberty and justice for all has been redefined. It needed to be redefined. Ignoring this need is part of what weakened our foundation, part of what caused us to struggle so much after al-Qaeda hijacked our planes. Now that we have come to see, as painful as it has been, that in order to secure any freedom, our definition of freedom must include rights for all United States citizens, liberty and justice for all is again placed in front of us. The "United States Dream" is still here, and it is better than ever, but it is something we can only obtain by moving with time, not against it.

As an outspoken feminist, I recognize that these long-overdue discussions about women's rights, systemic racism, and legal protection and opportunities regardless of sexual orientation can feel like an affront to straight white men who mean no harm.

I see it wear on my dad. "I am a feminist," he said to me years ago, maybe even while I was still in high school--before I even fully understood that I, too, was a feminist. And its true, my dad is very, very much a feminist. My dad wishes no systemic harm nor inequality for any person.

But my dad is a straight white man, the type of person to whom the founders of our country bestowed the promise of the American Dream, and he recognized the opportunity, seized the opportunity, and saw the opportunity through to fruition. He did it. He did what our founding fathers hoped he would do. He took nothing for granted, and he worked (and still works) very, very hard. He has lived the promise of our country to its fullest.

Now we have reached a point in time, during his lifetime, in which we must recognize that straight white men are no longer the only type of people who need legal, constitutional, and societal protection and assistance to seize the Dream in the same way straight white men have been able to over the past 240 years. In his lifetime, we are talking about what my dad technically is, a straight white man, as if he, a non-discriminatory human being, is the problem.

He, and all straight white men like him, are not the problem.

But we have to be able to pinpoint in discussion what we want our future to look like. We want the future for all people in the United States to look like what has worked in the past for straight white men. That is the only reason we need to make distinctions. For discussion. Not for alienation.

Republican men, please know this isn't about you. It's about us. Please help us to have lives like yours.

My mother, similar to my dad in every way except for her gender, has experienced a slightly different version of the American Dream, even as they've traveled a mostly parallel trajectory for the past 30+ years.

My mom has achieved things I can barely comprehend. She entered the working world in the late 80's as a female computer programmer. Yes. An accomplishment not even sustained in 2016 for a full season of HBO's Silicon Valley.

Starting out in the white-collar workforce allowed to her advance in the white-collar workforce, which she has done, then done again and again. There have been times when my dad earned a greater salary than my mom, and my mom struggled to find better work. There have been times when those roles were reversed. There have been times when both were working jobs they enjoyed with people they liked and were earning a good amount doing them.

But a few years ago I asked, "Mom...Have you always been paid equally to men doing the same job as you?" All she said was, "Nope."

My mom receiving equal pay, and therefore an increase in income, would not have been an insult to my dad's work and his income. It simply would have meant more money for our family. Her gain would have been a gain for all of us.

I have never received equal pay for equal work. While working a paid internship for a major corporation, I started at minimum wage ($7.25 in the state at the time, and still our federal minimum wage today), while a guy doing the same job, he told me, who not only didn't have a masters but also did not finish college, started at $10/hr. A difference on par with the national average today. Receiving equal compensation would have meant an increase in my income of $110 a week, or $440 a month, or $5,280 a year. (This excludes the financial increase I would have seen regarding overtime pay--and I worked a minimum of one hour overtime every single day at that job--as my time-and-a-half pay would have been $15/hr.)

At another job, I learned from a male employee with the same qualifications as me, who was hired a year after I was to do my same job, that his starting salary was $7/hr. more than mine. Or, a difference of $280 a week, or $1,120 a month, or $13,440 a year. Even with a year of experience at the job under my belt, I wasn't offered a raise. While training on programs I then knew by rote, he made $13,440 more than I did annually. (This excludes the financial bump I would have received for overtime pay, as my time-and-a-half pay would have been a whole $10/hr. greater than the time-and-a-half pay I actually received at this job.)

The difference would have kept me from needing financial assistance from my parents, and would have allowed me to save money. My gain would have, again, meant a gain for my whole family.

Women's rights are human rights, and securing them is not an affront to men. Women living better lives will mean men can live better lives too. Greater financial, legal, and social freedom for all minority groups will, likewise, benefit everyone.

In their speeches at the RNC, Donald and Ivanka Trump promised equal pay for equal work for all women. Ivanka even went so far as to declare that Donald Trump already pays women equally to men, but this was not a true statement. Even for something as publicly scrutinized as his election campaign, Trump pays women 35% less than men doing the same job. (Clinton has paid men and women equally for equal work.)

I bring all of this up to demonstrate that 1.) Our families, our communities, and our entire country will be better off for finally addressing injustices long in need of recognition, discussion, and solutions. 2.) Lying about these injustices in order to win over voters is shameful, and if we, the United States as a whole, believe the lies, we will only continue to hurt ourselves.

Another way in which my mom's version of the American Dream has differed from my dad's regards health care.

As she worked her way through the white-collar working world, she often felt sick. I've often felt sick, too. After nearly two decades of chronic pain, digestive problems, and subsequent aliments, I was, at long last, diagnosed with endometriosis last year. Endometriosis was likely the cause of my mom's health issues, as it's a genetic disease. In order to confirm that's what constantly impaired her health, she would need to have surgery. So few advancements have been made in the treatment of endometriosis since its discovery that we still do not have a simple diagnostic test for it.

This is not an exception to the rule. Women's health, largely meaning women's reproductive health, has been severely neglected. We need more research. We need more treatment options. We need doctors and OB/GYNs who've received an education that includes disease like endometriosis and PCOS. We need the complexity of women's reproductive organs to be addressed in textbooks and curriculum across the country. We need positive public awareness. We need to be seen as more than just incubators for embryos. We need a more comprehensive version of Planned Parenthood.

We need insurance plans to cover every possible complication specific to women's health. When I needed surgery for endometriosis last year, my doctor would not sign of on it because my insurance company did not want to pay for it. Instead of helping me, they told me I wasn't sick. This is not the exception to the rule.

My insurance plan this year is much better, and much more progressive, but when it comes to anything regarding surgery on female reproductive organs, the only option they'll cover is a hysterectomy. The removal of everything--which will not necessarily remove the problem. This is not the exception to the rule.

Women need equal pay. Women need proper health care. Women also need better opportunities.

Almost all of my female friends have pursued what were once referred to as pink-collar jobs. They've become teachers, nurses, and assistants (The Artist Formerly Known as Secretary). They've entered new wave pink-collar jobs like PR and marketing. I do not know many young women my age who did or who are still pursuing white-collar jobs. I don't blame them. It's really hard.

There was talk on feminist blogs awhile back that the term "pink-collar jobs" was outdated because men now do those jobs too. Well, I disagree. It's great that there's now little societal stigma regarding male nurses and "mannies," etc. But all that really means is that men can now do anything, while women are still predominantly regulated to the same pink-collar career paths we've had since my grandmother worked as a nurse during WWII.

It's also true that there is a call, and there are initiatives, for white-collar jobs to be more inclusionary. However, in my experience this has meant that if a job is hiring 20 people, only one or two of those spots must go to women. What the people in charge tend to do, then, is hire their one or two required women and fill all 18 or 19 remaining spots with men. Their line of thinking is not, let's find the best people possible, which could be up to 20 women but no fewer than one woman. It's, let's find the best people possible, mostly men and then however many women we have to have. We women are then left to fight it out over a very limited number of positions.

This line of thinking applies to minorities of all kinds. This is the same mindset that keeps systemic racism, mentioned in Clinton's DNC speech, alive. Opportunity for all still does not quite mean equal opportunity for all. We are getting there. But we are still resisting this change.

I understand change is frightening. I have feared and resisted every change in my life. But each presented opportunities for me to grow. My life and my character are both improved because I've lived through times of difficultly.

The traumatic events of September 11th forced us into a period of exponential growth and change when we weren't asking for either. We collectively thought we were mostly fine. Everything that's happened in our post-9/11 world has caused major upheaval. But it's not for the worst.

By now it is likely that the majority of the Republican Party personally knows someone who is gay. I imagine it has been hard to reconcile how a longstanding platform of the Republican Party has harmed people we all care about and love, people we know are good and deserve the best, people in our families and our schools and our workplaces who we see on a daily basis. Perhaps this paradigm shift alone has caused a great portion of the party to question its other beliefs and platforms. Perhaps this uncertainty of what is right and what is wrong, of what is best for the country and what is not, is what caused the party to collectively freeze, allowing someone who is not even a reputable Republican politician to seize control of it and bring its ugliest remaining parts to the surface.

Republican Party, I may not be registered as a part of you, but I believe in you. I know you see a better future for us all than the one Donald Trump is offering.

Donald Trump is playing to every weakness Osama Bin Laden saw and hoped would lead to our demise. His platform is one of arrogance, ignorance, and greed.

If such a report is not already in the works, could someone at The New York Times or Politico please research just how much Trump and his various businesses and investments would gain from the trade deal modifications he's requested of the government publically since the 80's? We already know that his regressive flat-tax plan will make it so his businesses do not pay more than 15% in tax. We already know that he personally will receive a tax cut of over a million dollars.

Is it possible that Donald Trump wants to be president only so he can make more money? Would this not be in line with the life he has lived up to this point in time?

Donald Trump is polling most successfully with white men without college degrees. (A demographic that looks something like this.) To those men I say: Donald Trump will not make YOU rich. You may look like him, but you are not him. You are part of an economic class he does not care about at all. Yes, he says he cares about lower- and middle-income families. But just like he says he pays women equally for equal work, he is lying. The proof is in his tax plan. If you're hoping for a better financial future, Trump is not the candidate for you. If that's what you wanted, you should have listened to the tax plans of the other Republican candidates. Every single one of them cared more about you than Donald Trump does.

The tax cuts--which are very minimal--that Trump is promising you will come back to haunt us all in less than a decade, when the national debt has increased by at least 12 trillion dollars, when other government aid you and your family members likely use has long since been cut, when there are fewer (yes, fewer) jobs in the United States you are qualified to do, as you do not have a college degree, and I don't know how you would ever afford one under Trump's leadership.

Please take this seriously. Donald Trump does not have what's best for you, or anyone other than himself, in mind.

Though I have disagreed with many of its positions in the past, I do hope the Republican Party can recover after this election, or perhaps even during it. We need diverse options. We need multiple, strong, viable political parties. Variety of choice makes us a stronger country. It allows democracy to flourish.

Perhaps what we're moving toward now is a true separation of church and state. With various religious agendas set to the side, the Republican Party can become something more libertarian or independent. What's best for the nation constitutionally can be considered over what's best for the nation religiously--which is something we were never supposed to be considering in the first place.

But as for this year, this November, what we have is a candidate offering to continue to take us forward, to move us further into post-9/11 life, so we may fully recover and learn to stand--aware of our strengths as well as our flaws--again. And we have another candidate offering to sink us altogether.

It's very hard for me not to associate volatile hatred for Hillary Clinton with her gender. As far as Democrats go, she's one who, on paper, I'd think would put the Republican Party at ease more than many others. Of the 44 pieces of legislation she introduced while a New York Senator, 57 of her Republican colleagues signed on as cosponsors, leaving only eight Republican Senators who did not cosponsor a piece of her legislation.

She worked with Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to reform the foster care system. She worked with Republican Senator Sam Brownback to crack down on human trafficking. She worked with Republican Senator Jeff Sessions to guarantee full payment of bonuses and incentives to veterans wounded in combat. She worked with Republican Senator Thomas Reynolds to save the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station when the Pentagon wanted to shut it down. As Reynolds told The Hill:

"I found Hillary to be very reasonable and very interested in working on projects that mattered to my district, [and] I also saw some of my Republican colleagues say the same thing."

Republican Senator Trent Lott said last September that he believed Clinton would reach out to Congress in order to pass legislation more than President Obama has.

The tax plan she's presented this year says taxes will not increase for any household making less that five-million dollars annually (or, in other worlds, she will increase taxes only for the top .02 percent of taxpayers). It also offers greater relief for families with college and out-of-pocket health expenses, as well as those caring for elderly family members. It will close loopholes and expenditures that benefit multi-millionaires.

Yet, as much as she works to do the best in any given situation for everyone, there seems to be something borderline tantalizing--not just to Republicans, but many Bernie Sanders supporters as well--about the thought of watching Clinton fail. And not even fail, not simply lose the election, but many long to see her publicly humiliated. Sanders and Trump supporters alike have chanted, "Lock her up!" (And even, "Take the bitch down" , "Kill the bitch," and "Frighten the bitch!") The thought of seeing Hillary Clinton in prison or in pain really excites a lot of voters. It's alarming.

When I meet new people, they assume that, because I am a millennial, I supported Bernie Sanders. They tell me things like now we have to settle for "the lesser of two evils." They say, "Well, at least her husband knows how to be president." They say she's ugly, that she's always been too ambitious, and that she's annoying.

These types of interactions make me feel uneasy in my own body. People who say these things to my face make me feel uncomfortable just for being someone easily sized up as a Hillary Clinton-type--a white woman trying to get a better job.

As these sexist attitudes surface--from both men and women, Democrats and Republicans, people of different races, people of different sexual orientations--I'm more afraid to speak about the election in everyday life than I was even a few months ago. It feels safer to say everything I have above here on the Internet than it does while out with a friend of a friend.

I have a political bumper magnet I could put on my car, but I haven't, and I'm not sure I will, because I'm afraid someone will key my doors, or break my windows, or dangerously cut me off on the freeway.

I've noticed a lot of Hillary's supporters must also feel this way. In Los Angeles, where I live, I've never seen a Hillary bumper sticker. No, really, not one. I've never seen a sign for Hillary out in someone's yard. I haven't seen a poster for her stapled to a telephone pole. I've seen so many of all three for Bernie Sanders. Even after the DNC, they're still everywhere.

Yet in California, and in Los Angeles specifically, Hillary beat Bernie in the primary...by a lot. She won by 7.7% in California and 12.6% in Los Angeles, and secured 63 more delegates. But you wouldn't know it. I guess I'm not the only one afraid to speak up.

My fear reminds me of the first time I was really made aware of Hillary Clinton. It was 1998, I was 11 years old, and her face was on every TV news program and the front of every paper, though not for great reasons. I didn't understand what was happening. At family gatherings I heard relatives who were devout Democrats, who loved Bill Clinton, talking as if they were gossiping, nearly salivating at the idea of a presidential impeachment. Tantalized.

I remember the first time I saw Monica Lewinsky's face, also on the news. I was visiting my grandma in her retirement home. She pointed to Monica Lewinsky and told me, "You don't ever do anything like she did. What she did was not right. You're not like her. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, Grandma."

I still absolutely did not understand, but her intensity and my confusion cemented the memory in my brain.

Video of Hillary played on the screen. "You're like her," my grandma said. "She works so hard. And she is so strong. See, even when she's sad, she's strong. She's your example. When you're sad, you can be strong, too. Do you understand me?"

I understand now.

Though I'm not sure how strong I've been. Definitely not as strong as Hillary Clinton.

Her strength may be off-putting, even maddening, to some, but I believe we can get to a place where it isn't. We need to. Hillary Clinton's strength is what we need now in our president. It will allow us to keep moving forward in our post-9/11 world. It's the kind of strength I wish the GOP will now find within itself. Strength enough to denounce Trump and move on from this mess.

Our Twin Towers fell. We have since been able to to rebuild the World Trade Center--and not as a Trump Tower.

I believed as a 14-year-old, the night of September 11th, that the terrorist attacks would not do us in. Though someone wanted to harm us, we'd find a way to use their harm for good.

A vote for Trump is a vote for every harmful wish made against the United States by Osama Bin Laden and all likeminded individuals and organizations. It is a vote to let our greatest modern tragedy be our end.

Please, let's move through this year, then past this year, united for the common good, united as the United States of America. Stronger together.