During Mayor Julian Castro’s break-out speech (Clear eyes! Full hearts! Can’t lose! <- what he should have said at the end) and Michelle Obama’s truly emotional barn-burner, my Twitter feed exploded.
They pretty much brought around the entire middle-left and the progressives on my Twitter feed – with the stark exception of my undocumented friends. Between the excitement from the Texans and the righteous awe for Michelle, I saw this: I’m still undocumented. I work every day too. I can’t get health care. He separates our families.
If your reaction to this is to quickly pivot and defend Obama in one way or another, pause. The thing that matters here is that what they are saying is true.
I’m not a single-issue person. I identify as a woman, as a young person, as the child of immigrants, an environmentalist, etc. So I’ll be heading to the polls because the idea of losing this election brings fear to my vagina, among other things.
But I won’t be lying to myself or anybody else about the fact that, contrary to what Rahm Emanuel said in his convention speech, immigration was not a priority for Obama in office. For all the work, for all the pain, we got an 11th hour lame duck vote in perhaps the only Congress that could ever have possibly gotten it done. And then, just a few months ago, we got a memo. Deferred action will help some people get work permits. That is good. We will take it.
But regardless of how many token mentions there are of the DREAM Act at the Democratic convention (because they will be there), I’m not going to forget the ankle bracelets my friends have had to wear, the eviction notices they received because they couldn’t make rent, the fact that they were basically homeless and had to sleep in the library and shower at the gym because they couldn’t afford a dorm room, and the fact that every day they have to be subjected to the humiliation that is being reminded by the society around them that they are criminals in the eyes of our leaders. Let’s not forget that right outside the DNC, the Undocubus was having an action and 10 undocumented immigrants were arrested.
I like Castro and I want to turn Texas blue. I love Michelle and she’s basically a superhero. Obama has done great things (fair pay, healthcare, mental health support for service members, etc.) and things that make me cringe (drone strikes abroad). I’m going to spend the bulk of my time donating to and working to support House candidates, but I’ll pull the lever for Obama.
Yes, you’re better than the other guy. But when it comes to immigration it’s not a high bar.
Come next term, you better do something so amazing for immigrants that it’ll knock the border wall right over. Seriously. This 24 year old is already way too cynical.
I welcome respectful, intellectual dialogue. If that is not what you are bringing to the table, please don’t engage.