[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country. This essay reflects the views of one mother—we invite you to also read As a mother, I'm voting for Donald Trump.]
As a mother, I'm not raising my children to be Democrats or Republicans; I'm raising them to be good people. I have measured up my core parenting values against each candidate and the right choice for me is easy: I will vote for Joe Biden this November.
My dissent from this administration and people and policies that it supports is not unpatriotic. In fact, I would argue that dissent is one of the most patriotic American actions you can take. Peaceful, purposeful protests are an American tradition—from the Boston Tea Party to the Seneca Falls Convention to Selma. Our non-violent defiance has changed minds, enacted laws and shaken our collective conscience. I will vote for a leader who sees my dissent as a strength, not frailty.
Here's why I'm voting for Biden:
I teach my children your words and actions matter
Joe Biden is living by example; in a country that is shouting for equal representation, Biden chose an extremely capable woman of color to be his running mate, Kamala Harris. She is smart, fearless and empathetic. In the midst of a global pandemic, Biden is diligently wearing a mask to protect himself and those around him. Instead of viewing compassion as a weakness, he is using it as a strength.
Biden is not holding public rallies because he is willing to put his ego aside to ensure the safety of others. This man has proven that he can work with a bipartisan team to push legislation that is beneficial to all Americans. One such example is the original Violence Against Women Act that Vice President Biden and Republican Senator John McCain worked diligently on together; a law which many experts attribute to the major decline of domestic abuse in the United States since its passing.
Biden is humble and has shown that he will work for the greater good. Though he started with a moderate platform, Biden united with Senator Bernie Sanders to create a campaign that is progressive and will meet the needs of the largest number of people.
In contrast, Donald Trump's running mate is Mike Pence, known for being pro-conversion therapy. And when we look at his team at large, a number of them have been fired or are being criminally investigated by the Justice Department.
Trump claims to be a champion for our military but his actions—and words—say otherwise. In the summer of 2020, news broke that US Intelligence had linked the Russian government to funding Taliban fighters to kill American troops in Afghanistan. Trump chose not to engage with Russian President Vladimir Putin on this issue, even though they were in talks when the story broke.
Furthermore, Trump has been blatantly disrespectful to military heroes like John McCain and has been quoted as referring to soldiers as "losers." This is not the level of respect that our armed forces deserve, especially from their Commander in Chief.
I teach my children it's okay to admit everything is not perfect
The world is far from perfect, but I teach my children that the first step to fixing a problem is to recognize it. We should expect the leader of our nation to acknowledge the hardships that our country is currently facing.
Biden is not the perfect candidate—no one is. The notion of perfection is fallible but the belief in decency is not. Biden is willing to look at his past decisions and evolve. His policy platform promises to tackle the country's wealth gap, create opportunities for minority communities and expand capital for small business owners of color. But it isn't just small businesses of color that need our attention—many mom and pop businesses are being forced to close across America, while parents are struggling to teach their children and work their jobs.
Folks are afraid. They see the words "protest" and "riot" and they are concerned about violence affecting their business and their family. The best way to solve this is to put someone in charge who will denounce aggressors and listen to the concerns of those in the streets; someone who can relate to the real and consequential problems that many of us are facing.
We need a leader who will put the well-being of his people above his own, and more specifically, we need a plan moving forward.
I teach my children we take care of others
I truly believe that taking care of others is our duty as human beings. I am a white mother and I know that I can do better. Be better. I own my privilege. I will use my voice to teach my children their names: George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Atatiana Jefferson. Aura Rosser. Stephon Clark. Botham Jean. Philando Castille. Alton Sterling. Michelle Cusseaux. Freddie Gray. Janisha Fonville. Eric Garner. Akai Gurley. Gabriella Nevarez. Tamir Rice. Michael Brown. Tanisha Anderson. And unfortunately, many more.
President Trump did not create discrimination, nor is he solely responsible for the systemic racism that plagues our country—but he has done little to fight against it. As President, he has fueled the flames of hate and cruelty towards marginalized communities with Tweets and concerning comments.
We have so much work to do, and we need someone to unite us.
I want to elect someone who shares my values and who will strive for a better tomorrow. Joe Biden has been in public service for decades fighting for his constituents through his role as a Senator, and then as Vice President of the United States. He helped pass the Affordable Care Act and has continually shown up for the American people.
Donald Trump has shown that he is beholden to no one but himself.
Nothing has made Trump's selfishness more apparent than COVID-19. The total coronavirus death toll in the United States has surpassed 219,000, a dire indicator of Trump's inability to lead. He has refused to listen to science and shows little to no regard for anyone suffering from the devastating effects of this virus.
The president is holding mass in-person rallies that are likely super-spreader events. He exposed himself and numerous members of his staff, family and friends to COVID-19. Even after contracting it himself, Trump gloated to the masses that he survived it, instead of using his experience for the greater good, and urging us to protect each other.
This October, the United States has a death rate of an average of 800 per day. How many people must be affected before we start taking this seriously? Moreover, people of color are infected and dying from this deadly virus at disproportionately higher rates than those of their white counterparts. Something has to change.
The tone-deaf casualty that this administration takes in regards to the welfare of the American people is despicable. To add insult to injury the Affordable Care Act, which helps ensure millions of us, is in imminent danger from the latest nomination to the Superior Court of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Therein lies what may be Donald Trump's greatest flaw: He lacks reverence for people, for the community, both domestically and globally, and this is his greatest weakness not only as a man but as a leader.
Folks are still with him, though, most citing that they think that he has the best chance of handling our crumbling economy. But there is a direct correlation between this Administration's failure to take the pandemic seriously and the downfall of the economy that is looming on the horizon.
Almost 50 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March and small businesses across the nation have felt the effects of the shutdown. Our country will reflect the mishandling of the pandemic for years to come. While the virus itself was not preventable, the devastation of its wake was.
I teach my children it's okay to take up space
It is important to me that my children know that they are allowed to take up space; to be bold and stand up for their worth and the worth of others. Sometimes as mothers we need to hear that, too. Keep speaking up and shouting out, whether your pulpit is the front seat of your car or the Senate floor. Together we can show our kids the power of every voice.
At a town hall on October 15th, Biden was asked by a constituent what he would do to protect the LGBTQ+ community. Biden answered simply and directly, stating that he would change the executive orders issued by Donald Trump which include: banning transgendered people from military service, weakening anti-discriminatory law and removing transgender language from government websites. Joe Biden was clear in his beliefs that there should be zero tolerance for discrimination.
Biden also spoke about being a young boy and his curiosity at seeing two men hug and kiss in public. Biden recalled how his father explained to him, "Joey, it's simple. They love each other."
This is the leader that I want: someone who will stand up to intolerance and work to create a world where every person's voice is heard, every person's worth is valued.
I teach my children it's okay to change your mind
If you voted for Trump in 2016, it is okay to change your mind. It is okay to look at the facts we have now and to reassess. I have seen what four years of a Trump presidency looks like—and this has been Trump confined by the constraints of reelection—what will the next four years look like if he has nothing to lose?
I often stop and ask myself this: Is my life better right now than it was four years ago? And what will it look like when my health care is taken away? When women's reproductive rights are confiscated? When I look at the television, when I drive through my town, is this the America that I want my children to grow up in?
America is not the greatest country in the world—not right now and not by a long shot. On this point, Trump and I can agree. Instead of identifying ourselves as Americans, we have become defined by who we voted for instead of the sustenance of what we voted for. I often remind my children it's okay to look at a situation and say, this is no longer working for me.
My hope for this election is that we move forward towards an America that provides security and opportunity for everyone.
Let us be informed by facts.
Let us pass laws that protect our most vulnerable.
Let us wage wars on poverty, failing education systems, wage gaps, unemployment and climate change—not on poor people.
Let us teach our children to care about their neighbors and ensure that everyone has equal access to basic human rights like health care.
Let us be bold in our demands for equity and equality—because my children will never truly be safe in America until all children are safe in America.
I want a president who looks at America and sees her beauty and promise. I believe that our democracy can and will work for my children and yours. I vote for every dreamer and every weary traveler who makes their way to our borders, for every child of every color, every orientation, every religion.
I am a mother, a woman and an American. People before me have fought long and hard for my right to vote and I hold this honor close to my heart. I will continue to teach my kids to be a part of the solution; to fight for a better life for all of us. And the choice for me come November is simple: I will vote for Joe Biden.