I voted stickers in different languages
“I Voted” in different languages at the San Diego Registrar of Voters in Kearny Mesa. Photo by Chris Jennewein

As a nation, we are more divided in our political party beliefs and overall support of our nation. We are polarized by party beliefs that in many cases has stopped the work of Congress. Guilty or innocent we have spent years glued to the television or news media to watch the circus that is currently our federal government. 

I question if our nation is further buying into the great divide by ascribing to the color of the legislative seat without understanding that the color of the seat is not as important as the character, education and government knowledge of the candidate. And it’s a government that I defended as a soldier and civilian federal employee.  

My ongoing prayer for America is:

“I dream of a world where women are equal in pay and opportunities. A world where the color of our skin or where we came from is no longer a national divider of our collective humanity. I dream of a world that loves one another and embraces our differences as strengths. That our struggles are recognized as our cumulative societal knowledge. I dream of us; not me.”

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My dream could become our reality. Our nation is faced with a choice that is painful to some. Do we stay loyal to parties that attempt to herd us into a corral for political and monetary gain, or do we search for those candidates who are actually out in our communities working to create societal improvement? Do we research candidates completely or do we just accept the surface statements by candidates and parties as our truths?

Party loyalty is fecklessness to many. We blow hot and cold based upon a party and candidate’s stance, yet often we do not take the time to research completely the laws and what a person will actually work to accomplish for the community. Telling the community you will change government does not mean that the candidate fully understands the laws and regulations involved in the change.  

Elections are about individual choices and electing the most educationally and experientially qualified candidate to support the community. Elections are not about supporting a candidate’s personal agenda or a party’s belief system. A candidate must be willing to set aside personal and party beliefs to do the will of the people.     

As a candidate, I have heard many off-the-wall things from voters. Gender bias has no place in elections, yet it occurs daily in our nation. Women are seen as second to men in many positions, including Congress. I’ve had men tell me that women shouldn’t use their educational title. Men have harassed me for being a woman in a “man’s race.”

Dr. Helen Horvath
Dr. Helen Horvath

This criticism often extends to women’s reproductive rights. Women should have the ability to manage their bodies without being told what to do. It is a choice that should be made individually, not regulated by the government. When I hear sexist criticism, I dig deep and pray my prayer for a better America. I draw strength from my life experiences and know that we can have a better world to live in — but it takes a community.

Prior to running for office, I examined the news media and questioned who shapes our political choices and views. More and more the communities hear only quick sound bites that sound good in 30 seconds. However, if you dig deeper you will find manipulation in the statements. 

For example, it sounds great to create cost savings by taking away Congressional pensions and benefits. Yet, the reality is that Congressional Representatives are federal employees covered under federal employee benefits just like any other civil servant. 

Sometimes, I feel as if our communities are like lambs led to slaughter by party-specific candidates and some news media outlets that focus on the sound bites and do not research the facts to debunk the myths and legends in elections.

There are media outlets in our community that do polls announcing that certain party-affiliated candidates are ahead. Sounds great, right? Well dig deeper and you will find that the polls are statistically insignificant.  These statements create the perception that someone is ahead in an election while painting a false narrative based upon what is actually occurring. Isn’t it time we fought back by researching facts instead of accepting someone’s fiction on a slow news day?  

Abraham Lincoln once said that “we the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” Isn’t this type of behavior, by certain news media, an attempt at perverting the outcome of elections while impeding our Constitutional right to free choice by only covering certain campaigns tied to parties instead of people? 

Lincoln’s statement is meaningful in light of the developments in the 50th District, where we have been faced with criminal behavior by Rep. Duncan Hunter and questionable actions by candidates to succeed him. As a resident, I believe that our community needs to dig deeper to find facts — not sound bites about candidates. 

These party-affiliated candidates and our former Congressional representatives pervert our community’s Constitutional rights. Our nation’s history is built upon a Constitution that states “all men are created equal…” But it is these very men in office in the 50th that have worked against the rights of women and families in our nation according to Congressional and state voting records.

Isn’t it time to find people who have community-focused solutions instead of false narratives that sound good on the surface, yet emerge as someone else’s fiction after further research? Isn’t it time that we defend all rights, not just the rights of a select few? 

As a nation, we have had an extended history of inequality that began long before we finalized our Constitution.  Women have been underrepresented and have fought for status throughout America’s history with limited success. Their efforts did result in the 19th Amendment permitting women to vote, but this was nearly 144 years after our nation fought for independence.  Isn’t time to protect and uplift all members of our communities?  

Change started with Abagail Adams’ fight for women’s equality during the formation of our nation and it continues. In her letters to her husband, John Adams, the future second President of the United States, she implored him to “consider the ladies…” She was basically requesting that instead of “men” the Constitution state “people.”

He didn’t listen. I wonder what his home life was like after he returned from the convention. 

Dr. Helen Horvath is an independent, no party preference candidate for the 50th District.