When I see people marching the streets with signs that read “take America back,” I want to ask them, “Take America back? Take it back to what?”
Maybe back to when religion, nationality, skin color, or sex determined where you could work, where you could travel, or if you could vote? Perhaps to when the elderly had no economic assistance and could not retire with dignity? Or to when there were no unemployment benefits when you were laid off or injured on the job? Or, until very recently, when you couldn’t get health insurance if you had a pre-existing health condition?
In 1948 my sister graduated from college with a degree in math and applied for a teaching job in our Pennsylvania home town. What an exciting moment it was for my family, especially for my parents, who were Italian immigrants and had been so proud to have been able to educate her! Their thrill turned to frustration, however, when my sister was told in her interview that although she met all the qualifications, the board could not hire her because she was Catholic and Italian. There was no teachers’ union then, no women’s rights, no discrimination laws. Is this where we want to take America “back?”
It’s almost election time, and we will continue to grow as a country only by voting for those candidates who will move us forward, not backwards. We cannot afford for our country’s progress to be taken over by those who want to revert to days of injustice and inequality.