I've noticed a change since November, both in the quantity of and overall turnout at rallies. I see the signs, the hats, the new political groups, and more people are getting involved with their government and their communities than ever before in my lifetime. I'm proud to say as a Democrat, that Midterms are Coming, and it's only a matter of time before we sweep out Trump's enablers in Congress and in state governments nationwide.
But will it be a permanent shift, or just a slight bounce for team blue over team red?
Hard work has always been a Texas value, and our parents worked and struggled to provide us with a better life. But look where we are now; some of us are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet.
We're sending our children to underfunded schools. We're drowning in various types of debt and are forced to settle for unpaid internships or underemployment that doesn't meet our educational level or pay our bills. Some of this debt is high-interest student loans, while others are medical bills. We're no forgoing expensive coffee and the latest cell phone, as the right wing likes to say, but basic necessities like nutritious food and medical care. Some of us even live in places just like Flint, Michigan, where our water is unsafe to drink.
Is this really the life our parents fought to provide for us? And is this the legacy we want to give to our very own children?
My friends, if we want to win Congress back in 2018, it's not going to be with platitudes and political promises. It won't be enough to just stick a D after your name and say, "I'm better than Trump."
If we want to really win, we will need to mobilize the voting public with permanent progress and policies that meet the needs of all Texans.
We must fight for single payer health care. Because while Obama's Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction by eliminating pre-existing conditions, enhancing protections for women's and children's health, and imposing the 80/20 rule, in the end it was still the brain-child of the right-wing Heritage Foundation which leaves millions uncovered, and millions more with sub-par care or deductibles and copays they still can't afford. As long as for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies aren't competing with a Medicare-For-All alternative, we will continue to pay more for health care than any other industrialized nation on the planet.
We must expand DACA to cover all undocumented immigrants and simplify the path to citizenship for those who want to work in America, become Americans, and most importantly, pay taxes which will strengthen Social Security and benefit all of us, instead of wasting our tax dollars tearing children away from their families and the only life that they have ever known.
We must invest in clean energy; in solar, wind, geothermal, and safer next-gen Thorium nuclear power. We need to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels not just for the environment, but to de-fund countries with ties to terror groups. We must uphold strong environmental rules to keep toxins out of our air and lead out of our drinking water.
We must fight to get to a $15 minimum wage gradually by 2024, because nobody working forty hours a week should be living in poverty.
We must fight for pay equity for women, and particularly women of color, by finally passing the Equal Rights Amendment.
We must fight for paid family and medical leave, because those first few years of a child's life are so crucial to their development, and it is a moral imperative to allow parents the chance to have that quality bonding time.
We must frame this fight not as one to win over the left, but to shatter the right. Because we are not going to leave it to our children to have to march for the preservation of science while facts get purged by order of the government. We will not see our children laboring below a living wage, suffering from a polluted environment, and being drafted to fight unnecessary wars.
We are at a watershed moment here, so are we going to continue to rehash these arguments every four or six or eight years? Or will we take the fight to their side, and destroy the right-wing's talking points? As an ex-conservative who understands how they think and what they believe, I know it is imperative to put forward progressive policies that will not only win back Congress in 2018, but keep the government in the hands of We the People for a better future.
As a half-Hispanic Texan, and as the first transgender woman in Congress, I'll be the one fighting for all of this. So our children won't have to. I'm Danielle Pellett, and I look forward to serving the 32nd District.