Submitted to the Northwest Florida Daily News and the Tallahassee Democrat.
Much of my family comes from the Florida panhandle. Each year this region, along with the rest of the south, faces intensifying hurricanes and economic insecurity.
In the wake of Hurricane Michael, political candidates should speak about the need for universal access to affordable, weatherized homes and a clean-energy economy with well-paying jobs. Instead, many tell us that the causes of our problems are so-called “criminal,” “job-stealing,” undocumented immigrants.
Over decades, the rich have taken control of our democracy. They have stripped workers of living wages and union rights, and have polluted our communities and climate with abandon.
To gain power, corporate-financed politicians have sought to direct our pain, particularly that of white Americans like myself, toward scapegoats. Once, we were shown caricatures of black “welfare queens” and “super-predators.” Today, we are taught to fear those who risk their lives fleeing economic devastation caused by the same corporate-interests who make it hard for many of us to put food on the table. This tactic directs prejudice and violence toward people of color while giving politicians the power to enrich corporations at all of our expense.
On this election day, we have the opportunity to see through the lies and vote to create the society that all of us need.