This yr hit me like a ton of bricks. I keep in mind seeing the information a few virus in China and on cruise ships pondering, “Wow, that’s horrible,” and by no means as soon as pondering it may come to Michigan. I knew that Michigan can be vital on this yr’s presidential election—we’re a swing state in spite of everything—however didn’t understand what influence COVID-19 would have on my voting choices.
I’m a Michigander by means of and thru. I grew up in Kalamazoo and spent my summers on Lake Michigan. That is the place I realized the worth of arduous work and the significance of household. Now, I’m a single mother residing simply exterior Kalamazoo with my teenage son and daughter. I adore it right here, there’s no different place I’d need to increase my youngsters.
However it’s no secret that this has been a tough yr; catching us all off guard, myself included. I’m a realtor, managing my very own small enterprise. After a very sturdy 2019 and persevering with to develop my enterprise into early 2020, the pandemic hit and I needed to file for unemployment. Not having the ability to exit and present houses for a number of months simply killed my enterprise.
Initially, the supplemental pandemic unemployment helped immensely. I used to be capable of feed my youngsters and pay payments with out dipping into my reserves an excessive amount of. However now, whereas the market appears scorching, dwelling patrons and sellers are hesitant to make choices after they don’t know what the longer term may maintain. Uncertainty is unhealthy information for the financial system—particularly in the event you’re a realtor like me—so issues simply aren’t again to “regular.” And they won’t ever be.
The extra $600 in unemployment has run out, regardless that the financial system isn’t again to the place it was earlier than, and I’m feeling it. I’ve some financial savings, but it surely’s getting tighter and tighter every month and I’m more and more apprehensive. I do know I’m not the one one who is anxious. Each small and huge employers are closing as a result of they aren’t getting help from the federal authorities. That’s simply fallacious.
All of this led me to become involved with a company referred to as WorkMoney that began in the course of the pandemic to assist working individuals advocate for ourselves. I answered a Facebook publish and signed a petition, which led to a number of conversations about pandemic help for folk like me and how one can advocate for issues like extra stimulus funding from our elected officers. It helped me discover my voice, which I’m utilizing now to demand higher for my household and my neighborhood right here in Southern Michigan.
Let’s face it: On the nationwide degree, our leaders have failed middle-class, hard-working individuals like me. Congress can’t get it collectively on the stimulus bundle, particularly after President Trump canceled talks after which despatched blended alerts about potential laws. What provides?
There are those that credit score Trump with a robust financial system, and I was considered one of them. However this pandemic has been so horribly mismanaged, even when his administration knew again in January simply how unhealthy issues may get. If there have been a twister barreling towards Kalamazoo and our native authorities did nothing to tell residents, we’d be outraged. We ought to be equally outraged right here that greater than 225,000 lives have been misplaced, so many companies have closed, and Individuals of all backgrounds are struggling. And the President didn’t warn us or adequately put together us.
That’s what’s driving me to vote this yr and be extra energetic than I’ve previously. I used to be raised Catholic and I nonetheless have conservative values that align most carefully with Republicans total. However I’m not voting for Donald Trump this election.
A lot of my family and friends are, and that’s their selection. I nonetheless love them, they usually nonetheless love me, however I can’t vote for an additional yr like this one. My youngsters and I would like one thing completely different.
There’s a saying in Michigan: “We lived by means of the snowstorm of ‘78.” Now there’s a brand new saying: “We are able to’t say we lived by means of the storm of ‘78 anymore, as a result of 2020 trumps all of it.”
We’ll get by means of this yr, and we’ll be stronger for it. However it’ll take guts, dedication, and everybody doing their half to construct a vivid future for Michigan and our nation.
Emily Anglin is a small enterprise proprietor from Richland, Mich.
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