I was raised to believe it’s part of my civic duty to get involved in local and national elections, to know who is running our government – to be what I call “a citizen of the world.”
I joined the military as a nurse as soon as I turned 18, and I got involved in my first campaign as soon as the military released me. Like Barack Obama when he was young, I was a community organizer, but in Detroit. I started a union, worked for the mental health department as an on-site crisis counselor, and mentored teens to make sure they graduated high school.
My husband and I have six children – all college-educated, three have served in the military – and seven grandchildren. Each one of them is a citizen of the world and I’m proud to call them family. (One of my granddaughters drove 14 hours in one day, from her university to her hometown, to vote for Barack Obama in 2008.) They all support the President.
I love that President Obama fought hard to pass health care reform, because I know what it’s like to fight difficult battles. I’ve survived cancer three times. Each time the doctors found it, they told me I didn’t have a chance or that it was inoperable. I’ve been through chemo; I’ve had a mastectomy; I’ve been given a death sentence, but as I’ve told my doctors, you don’t know this tough old lady.
That’s why I refuse to go backwards. I’ve put 50 years of hard work into building this society, persevering through struggles, volunteering for my community, and I don’t want my rights taken away from me. We have to protect the progress President Obama has accomplished for our children and our grandchildren. We need every Nevadan this election – every American, really – to get out and vote.
People sometimes ask me why voting is important, to my amazement. I tell them it’s like this: Imagine your grandmother is ill. Your family is coming together to take care of her, and you can either participate in the meeting where they determine what care to give her and how much money to devote to it, or you can stay home and wait for the sheet of paper that tells you what you have to contribute. If you weren’t at the meeting, you have no choice in the matter.
So get involved this election. Be a citizen of the world and vote.