I grew up the daughter of a Republican politician. (That's my dad on the left side of this photo and that's a young me, standing on the picnic table). I spent the months and weeks before the campaign canvassing the neighborhoods, going door to door and asking people to vote for my father and the other Republicans on the ticket. I spent evenings and weekends making phone calls. "My name is Suzanne," I said, "Can we count on your vote this Tuesday?" It was easy to campaign for my Dad. He was my father after all, and I loved him and because I loved him I accepted what he said without question. We were Republicans. I was Republican. It was a part of my identity, like my name, ethnicity and family of origin, long before I even knew what being Republican was.
I've spent the better part of the last two years writing. Digging deep into my own life to explore the threads of experiences who make me who I am. It was a difficult process, a process fraught with tears and painful memories as I tried to make sense of the things I had not yet understood. I questioned the decisions I'd made. The things I'd done. The people I'd loved. Their motives. Their beliefs. Their actions. And mine. And although it was more challenging process than I ever imagined, it was also a transformative one. Someday, hopefully soon, I will be able to share it with you.
I am no longer a Republican. As a social worker, I've spent my whole life advocating for the disenfranchised. I've chosen to commit myself to fighting the injustice in the world. "Be the change you wish to see in the world," I remind myself every day. I've challenged myself and others to strip away the labels that divide us, that keep us from seeing who we really are. To stand up for the people who are treated unfairly. To lend my voice to those who have none.
There are a lot of people in this world who are suffering. Who lack basic needs, food, clothing and shelter. Families and communities who will keep them safe. Love, support and the opportunity to grow. Not just in this country, but around the world. These are the people I choose the stand for. Regardless of the color of their skin, the language they speak, the god they worship or the person they love. I ask you to do the same. On Tuesday we will have the chance to stand for something. To choose what kind of country we want to be.
The choice on Tuesday is not about Republican or Democrat. Red or blue. The choice on Tuesday is not a partisan one. It is a choice of what we value. Who we are. What is important to us. What is in our heart.