Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

—Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

 

If you have ever stood and read those words at the base of the Statue of Liberty, then you can attest to the feeling it inspires. The statue is overwhelming to see. Could you imagine being on a ship and that this was your first view of America?

On November the 8th 2016, we as a nation will vote for a new president. One of two people on the ballot for president will win—either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Who are you voting for?

In a time when tensions with countries like Russia and North Korea run high, how could we elect a man with a fragile temperament and no experience? Would we trust this man with the lives of our soldiers? Our brave men and women? The flower of our youth? We live in a terribly troubling world, and I think we are much smarter than that.

When I hear “Make America Great Again” (MAGA), I think to myself, “When was that? And make it great again for who?” I can think of more than a couple of communities—my own included—for whom the good ole days were not so good.

Mr. Trump like so many Republicans want to ban immigration of Muslims to this country. The Muslims Trump cannot ban are in Arlington National Cemetery. Muslim Untied States soldiers who answered the call of their country and paid with their lives for our right to vote. Arlington is their permanent home now and we are proud to call them our fellow Americans.

MAGA? For LGBTQ? We remember the scene at Stonewall. Our community elders remember. Is that the greatness of America we want to return to? The closet is for clothes. We know what the cost of living a free and open life means. We look to the future. To a true open society.

We have a grand opportunity in front of us. We can vote for a future. The numbers of LGBTQ citizens now raising families has risen sharply over last decade. We are developing clean energy at a rate never before seen, and we even have cars that can parallel park themselves. Think about where we will be in another decade or two, unless we as a country invest in an imaginary past and not a future promise!

When we vote we are not only voting for our future and our president. We are demonstrating to the world watching us that we are a brave nation not afraid of new things and that diversity is NOT our problem. It is our PROMISE!

I’m going to vote on the side a woman in Saudi Arabia who will be listening to news of the election on a satellite radio that her husband has on. She will hear that a woman has been elected President, and she will know what’s possible for women in the world. She has no vote.

And on the side of Omran Deqneesh, a 4-year-old boy who lives in Aleppo, Syria, whose own president bombs his people. His future hopes rely on a new president with the diplomatic experience to negotiate, so that no more of his family has to die. He has no vote.

And on the side of the young man in any one of these United States that dreams of a better life, to live in a place where he will no longer judged for his sexuality but by his hard work and character, where he can love and be loved and know that his government recognizes him as a person and equal. This government will nourish his mind through education and promote his social growth.

All LGBTQ citizens in this country have a vote. On election day, take the time and be a better friend to yourself. Do yourself, your country, and, yes, even the world a favor and vote for progress, not regress. The whole world is watching. Let’s show them how we lead. The history books will record how we vote this election. I hope those books have happy endings.

 

 

 

 

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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