Grace, a 78 Roman Catholic in retirement from Connecticut
Q: Did you vote in the 2016 presidential election?
GRACE: I have voted in every election since I was eligible to vote as a young woman). I am a registered Democrat and usually vote for the Democratic candidate. I was not especially excited to vote for Clinton until a week or so before the election until I thought, I would be voting for the first female president in our nation’s history. I wore white to the polling place in remembrance of suffragettes . I fell asleep before the results were in and woke up around 3 AM when my husband told me that Trump had won. I experienced a feeling of doom, which has not let up since. I’m fearing for my country and democracy as we know it. I live in Connecticut, which is usually a Democratic state. The state went for Clinton, but I don’t recall how much she won by.
Q: Have you registered to vote? If so, what was the process like and is there anything about the process you wish were different?
GRACE: I am currently registered to vote. Voting in Connecticut is not a problem. I might vote by mail this year but not sure yet. My husband and I have not decided. The corona virus is mostly in control in Connecticut and we probably won’t experience long lines. We will request an absentee ballot but may or may not fill it out. I do wish we did not have the Electoral College. We are a small state and do not have many electoral votes and do not get much attention from candidates. I believe that one person’s vote should have the same value in every state. Currently, some states’ votes count for more than others.
Q: Do you discuss politics with friends/family/classmates/co-workers/…?
GRACE: I do discuss politics with like-minded friends. Do not discuss much with those who don’t agree with me as I currently feel we are experiencing two different realities. Facts don’t seem to matter to those who get most of their information from Fox news.
Q: What is important to you when selecting a presidential candidate?
GRACE: I will be voting for Biden in the upcoming election. It is important that a presidential candidate have the same or similar views as I do. A president chooses Supreme Court judges, which must be voted on the Senate. This is important regarding issues such as environmental restrictions, worker’s rights, women’s right to choose (this phrase refers to the right of women to decide about abortion, it is a slogan adopted by the women's rights movement, and refers to her right to choose what can and cannot happen to her own body), racial issues, etc.
Q: How do you feel about the current state of politics in the U.S?
GRACE: Currently, in the US, we are very polarized, probably more so than at any time in my lifetime. I think it has gotten worse because of people’s perception of racial issues. Having a president of African American descent who was well-educated, charismatic, and admired world-wide seems to have unleashed a hidden racism in the American psyche. Trump’s ability to become president seems to have become the result of this hatred of the “other”. Now even when we have recordings in his own words stating in private the opposite of what he told the American people in public, his supporters do not budge in their unwavering support of him.
Q: What do you think the local perception of the election is (in your own community)?
GRACE: Regarding local perception of the election, Connecticut usually votes Democratic, but I still see many Trump banners in my town and cars and trucks driving around with big Trump flags blasting horns, etc. I don’t understand it but am aware that there is a large segment of the population that sees things differently than I do.
Grace chose to share a photo she took looking out at the water.
Q: What campaign issue(s) is do you feel strongly about?
GRACE: The issues I feel most strongly about are:
The environment. Mother Nature is not happy. Hurricanes, tornados, floods, earth quakes, etc. The northwest in this country is pretty much on fire. Several months ago almost the whole of Australia was in the same situation. Trump has consistently lowered restrictions that favor business to the detriment of the environment. He calls global warming and climate change a “hoax”.
Racism. Slavery has been called the “original sin” of this country. It was finally ended but the effects continue. The Declaration of Independence said “All men are created equal . . .” However, all do not have equal opportunity. Also, all are not treated equally.
Women’s right to choose. I am not in favor of abortion, but strongly in favor of each woman making choices for her own life based on her own personal circumstances. Also, those who call themselves “pro-life” are really “pro-birth” as they don’t really seem to care what happens to the baby once it’s born. For instance, they seem to be unwilling to support the child through access to health care, food, education, etc.
Those are my top three. I could go on. Gun control, Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his suggesting bogus cures for the virus which are then accepted by his supporters as truth, his equating Neo-Nazis and KKK white supremacists with peaceful protesters, his lies about everything, his inability to ever condemn Putin for anything, including interference with our elections, his using the presidency to profit financially—both himself and his family, his vulgarity and ignorant language, etc.
Q: What is your opinion in regard to the current protests (you may choose which protests you want to expand on)?GRACE: The treatment of blacks at the hands of the police has gotten more national attention recently mostly because most people now have cell phones that can record these incidents. I don’t think they are all innocent, but they are treated differently than whites. For example, a white man went into a Black church a few years ago and joined their prayer group. Then killed most of them for no logical reason other than that they were Black. When arrested, he was treated to a hamburger at a fast food restaurant. On the other hand, Black people have been killed for selling illegal cigarettes, cashing a bad check (not even sure it was a bad check), shot in the back 7 times. The incident that affected me personally was a Black woman about to start a new job in Texas. She was followed by a policeman closely, and so she pulled over. He then proceeded to give her a ticket for not using her signal. I saw the video. Next thing she was in handcuffs and taken to jail overnight as she did not have money for bail. She had just lost a baby, and was depressed and committed suicide in jail. I kept thinking of a time when I was stopped for a minor traffic violation. I was given a verbal warning. No way I would have wound up in handcuffs and taken to jail. And in the unlikely event I had to post bail, no way I would not have had access to the $500 or so necessary to not spend the night in jail. We are definitely not treated equally. I do condemn the violence (in the streets), however. I also question if some of it is not instigated by right-wingers who want to create bad press for the peaceful protests. I do not believe in turning militia on American citizens.