‘Ya Basta!’ This election, we must all act
By Sandy Zavala
As a country we find ourselves mired in the dramatic renderings of the upcoming presidential election. Never before in recent American history has the political climate been so inundated by irrational and defamatory attacks on opposing candidates. I watch the chaos unfold with utter disbelief and ask “How on earth did we get here?”
The rise of anti-establishment candidates like the brash real estate mogul Donald Trump and the unapologetic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders reveal a federal government that has abandoned the basic needs of its citizenry. Both upstarts emphasize that our government has been bought by big money interests on both sides of the political spectrum.
The Koch brothers, through their Americans for Prosperity PAC, have contributed millions of dollars to maintain political policies that promote energy dependence on fossil fuels, deregulation, efforts toward privatizing education, limited environmental oversight and voter registration laws that prevent disenfranchised individuals of color access to affecting political outcomes. George Soros, a New York Hedge Fund magnate and staunch opponent of the Iraq War, funneled millions toward defeating George W. Bush’s eventual re-election.
The passage of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision in 2010 ruled that corporations could contribute unlimited money to support their political agendas because those expenditures were in fact expressions of free speech. Both Sanders and Trump have declared that our political system is rigged, allowing wealthy donors to buy favors and legislation that guarantee income inequality for the masses. Whether your political views tend to be conservative or liberal, it is clear everyday people have to fight to regain their political capital.
How can you or I influence political outcomes against the behemoth of the almighty corporate entities that are not concerned with conscience or the greater good? How can we take back our country from those who would leave us to our own ingenuity, yet all the while dispossessing us of the very tools that would allow us to succeed?
Many of you don’t see how your single vote can do anything to rectify the corruption that permeates Washington, D.C. Many of you won’t vote because you see yourself as “apart” from politics, not recognizing that your power lies in action, not sitting back and “letting things happen” but standing up and “making things happen.”
I say, “Ya Basta!” Or “Enough is enough!”
Over 2.5 million people have contributed an average of $27.16 to the Sanders campaign. Sen. Sanders can proudly proclaim that his campaign is funded by the people and not beholden to the corporate interests that have entrenched themselves behind establishment opponents on both sides of the aisle. Trump is mostly self-funding and, therefore, also appeals to those who have lost confidence in our government. The populism that is fueling these unconventional candidacies establishes that Americans want to reclaim political power.
We the people have emboldened the viability of such candidates to excel in a political race that has traditionally excluded outsiders. Don’t waste the momentum from this moment in history; it will revolutionize and reinvigorate the American electorate. Stop allowing corporations to hijack the well-being of average Americans. Don’t let the “haves” or the top 1 percent of our population commandeer the American Dream. Those “captains of industry” do not possess a monopoly on American ingenuity and quality of life.
Each of us can act. Each of us can vote. Don’t forget to graciously convince your non-voting relatives and friends that they should vote too. It won’t take up much of your time. Go to http://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/myvote/olvr.html to register to vote. Let’s take back America.
Sandy Zavala is a former social worker, counselor and healthcare researcher who now lives in Quincy with her family.