Twenty years ago, I was not bogged down by mental health issues. I was fit, healthy, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. All my life, ridden by poverty, I dreamed of making the world a better place. I attended college because I craved knowledge. I wanted nothing more than to learn as much as I could. I was hungry to learn.
And learn I did.
I learned that the criminal justice system is racist and elitist. I learned that people die due to lack of healthcare. I learned that financial barriers keep many people from attending college. I learned that climate change is undeniable. I learned that a select few own large corporations. I learn what I had always known: The 1% rules.
Tonight was the Iowa caucuses. I saw Bernie Sanders take the stage and address every single one of these issues.
Twenty years ago, I was 20 years old. I hoped beyond hope for a systems change. I dreamed of something better. With the information I learned in college, I hoped there was a way for us all to come together to make the drastic changes for the better. I hoped for racial justice, where Black and brown people are not disproportionately jailed and impoverished. I hoped the NRA would not have such a hold on American politics. I hoped for economic equity to raise families like mine out of poverty. I hoped for the kind of harmony I imagined in my mind.
Tonight, while I was listening to Bernie Sanders, tears welled up in my eyes. I reached back to the far corners of my mind, back to the 20-year-old me who wasn’t yet jaded and bruised from life’s hardships. I reached back before I had been hospitalized numerous times. I reached back to when my daughter was young.
I thought about now. I have grandchildren. What kind of world would they like to live in?
I’m voting for Bernie Sanders for the 20-year-old me. The one who wasn’t afraid or beat down. The one who thought she could do something to make a positive difference in this world.
Tonight I knew I could change the world. And all it would take is a vote for Bernie.