Due to technical difficulties with “reblogging” this post onto VanMeetsWorld, I have copy/pasted it here with the author’s permission. You can read the original post on rangeraria.wordpress.com here. The following is Aria Mildice’s poignant and striking reaction to Donald Trump’s election win. Aria and I originally met in New Mexico back in June.
This will not be a normal blog post, but I ask that you stick with me until the end…it’s not that long, I promise.
While it is very unlike me to directly talk about politics, to the point that I hardly discussed anything this entire election cycle, I am very very worried about what the next four years holds for me. A few things in particular worry me, especially the pledge to cut government jobs, healthcare, LGBT rights, and climate change initiatives. Along with other potential worries like, reducing Social Security and Medicare further for when I need them, after I have already paid thousands to them since starting a job at 12 years old.
As a previous, and a prospective future, seasonal government employee, and as someone with non-permanent status, jobs like the ones I have held are the kind that he pledges to reduce. On the first day in office, he plans to cut government jobs in order to make government smaller. This includes any non-essential job, ie the military is not being reduced, but employees like me probably would. It’s already hard enough to find work, and I worry that I might not be able to in future seasons.
As a non-permanent employee and a seasonal employee, I also do not receive healthcare benefits from my employers. Instead, I must use the healthcare provided to me by the Affordable Care Act, another thing that he pledges to get rid of, on his first day in office. Private healthcare is too expensive and out of reach for what I and many others make every year. My health should not be dependent on who is currently in office. Programs like SNAP (“food stamps”), Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood, all things I have had to take advantage of, may be severly reduced as well. These programs are not only for people who are in terrible situations, I qualify and utilize them too. If I cannot afford food and healthcare, how do the thousands of people who are worse off than I afford those things? Health for all humans is not supposed to be a benefit only for those who can afford it.
As an avid outdoors-woman and lover of all things nature, including the one and only known habitable planet in the universe, I worry about the plans or lack there-of for the environment, including support for pipelines that will damage the environment, reversing many of the advancements we have made in the past, and not supporting the UN’s push for a better climate. This year is a turning point for climate change, we could either make the necessary changes and help our planet recover, or tumble into the deep-end unable to help our planet with some irreversible choices. The UN and other international bodies agree that there has already been some irreversible damage to our planet. Climate change already has many visible effects. I cannot imagine what this planet may look like in 50 years when I’m trying to take my children or grandchildren to the national parks. This Thanksgiving I will be in Standing Rock, ND, because clean drinking water is not only for wealthy, suburban, or Caucasian people, and because more fossil fuels being brought to market means more fossil fuels being burned, harming our planet further.
My last big issue is with LGBT rights, and in particular marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws. These directly affect my safety. I never really worried about being able to get married, or to feel safe while using the restroom. But now that I am getting toward that age of getting married, that is a bigger concern. I should have the same right as anyone else to share my life in a partnership, with a man or woman, with legal protections. And just last week I had a run in with an individual in the restroom, saying that I, as a woman was in the “wrong” bathroom, the women’s bathroom. After calmly explaining to the woman that I too am a woman, she said I was lying and yelled at me the entire time I was trying to do my business, she then loudly complained to the store clerks, bringing more attention to me. I did not feel safe. And this was not the first time something like this has happened to me. He supports discriminatory laws that would allow employers to fire me, simply because I am gay.
This list only includes what directly and personally would affect me, and does not include other issues I am invested in and worried about like, women’s rights and sexual assault, the economy, foreign policy and growing nationalism, ending the drug war and mass incarceration, equal voting rights, and equal and fair protections for my friends, and family, of different races, religions, and ethnicities.
Like I said, this is not typical for me. But if some of these plans go into effect they will affect me directly and personally, I may even need your help. I am not trying to change your mind or say you made a right or wrong decision; I only hope to provoke thought, personalize some of these issues, and show a different viewpoint than you may be unaccustomed to.