American Voter: Taylor Patterson | US & Canada

American Voter: Taylor Patterson | US & Canada

US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling for the presidency in a sharply divided United States.

Trump has been specializing in “legislation and order”, Biden has been making an attempt to strike a conciliatory word. The Black Lives Matter motion, and whether or not Trump will launch his taxes are among the many many points People will take into account when selecting their president.

Because the hotly contested election approaches, Al Jazeera has been talking to voters throughout the US asking 9 questions to know who they’re supporting and why.

Taylor Patterson

[Courtesy of Taylor Patterson]

Age: 26

Occupation: Govt Director of Native Voters Alliance Nevada

Residence: Clark County, Nevada 

Voted in 2016 for: Hillary Clinton

Will Vote in 2020 for: Joe Biden

Prime Election Points: Healthcare and Tribal Points 

Will you vote? Why or why not?

“Sure, I can be voting on this upcoming election. I feel it’s extraordinarily essential to essentially emphasise the tribal points which might be occurring. I imply, it’s throughout the board with Native People, each in tribal areas on reservations, after which folks like me which might be in city areas.

“With out the federal authorities, we are able to’t get the assets that we’re entitled to, and that’s actually the problem with Native folks. Particularly, we interface with the federal authorities in a means that ordinary on a regular basis People don’t. Due to these treaties that we’re entitled to and have been signed, all of our stuff comes from the federal authorities. So it’s actually about getting Natives and other people to know that this isn’t simply in regards to the presidential election, and this one situation, and Donald Trump is dangerous— it goes very far and [it is] very encompassing past that.”

What’s your primary situation?

“I feel it’s kind of a break up determination. I’m actually massive on healthcare – I turned disabled at 19 years previous, so healthcare is crucial for me, and I’ve actually interacted with the healthcare system in a means that the majority 26-year-olds haven’t. I’ve fought with my insurance coverage corporations, I’ve been to tertiary centres, I went to Mayo Clinic, so I understand how a lot issues value. And I understand how essential healthcare is. Even one thing so simple as protecting pre-existing circumstances – that’s extraordinarily essential for me – as a result of I wouldn’t be capable of have healthcare in the event that they don’t cowl pre-existing circumstances. And it was a extremely massive determination for me too, in getting married – I’ve been with my husband for 10 years, and we couldn’t get married prior to now as a result of I might be kicked off of my father or mother’s insurance coverage. So stuff like that’s extraordinarily essential.

“After which, then again, I work for a Native organisation, I’m a Native, and tribal points are actually essential to me. My tribe is from Central California, however the points which might be affecting my tribe in California are affecting the tribes right here in Nevada. The federal authorities, as it’s proper now, is simply not interacting with tribal governments the way in which that earlier administrations have. I used to be talking to a tribal chief from Walker River, and he or she mentioned, you recognize, we used to get invited to the White Home at the very least annually to come back and simply inform our points, and even when it was a bit of bit shallow, they nonetheless had been considering having us round. However with the Trump administration, that simply hasn’t occurred. And we see that Natives are the primary to get their assets taken away, whether or not that’s a pure useful resource, whether or not that’s cash coming in from the federal government – it’s all the time us that will get the quick finish of the stick.

“So these are the 2 points which might be largest to me. It’s sort of a break up determination, however I feel on this explicit situation, there’s not lots of nuance to it. It’s not like, ‘Wow, the Trump administration is actually good on healthcare, however actually dangerous on Native points’, or vice versa. It’s a fairly simple determination on who’s higher in [this] case.”

Who will you be voting for?

“I’ll be voting for the Biden-Harris ticket.”

Is there a principal purpose you selected your candidate?

“I picked Biden as a result of he has at the very least tried to do healthcare coverage, he’s at the very least tried to work with Native American governments. The Biden marketing campaign has to date at the very least launched a Native American – what they name ‘Indian Nation’ plan, and that’s encouraging to me. They’re hiring of us from Indian nations to assist formulate that coverage. They’re making an attempt to provide again to these communities and making an attempt to essentially see what we’d like. And I respect that. And I feel there’s nonetheless lots of house for development.

“Is Joe Biden as far left as I would love? No, however I feel there’s room for development. And I feel we, as progressives, have to swallow our delight and vote, however then push him as far left as we probably can. It’s a tough determination for certain – I went backwards and forwards on that. I’ll say this – I haven’t talked to at least one Native that has been Biden from the beginning. However we’re used to having to make the compromise, having to simply sort of [say], ‘you recognize what, this isn’t precisely what we wish, however that’s positive’.

“I’m barely involved about Harris’s file on Indian nation in California. However I do know that it’s been such an enormous situation that’s been dropped at her consideration that she’s at the very least pushed again on it and been like, ‘okay, transferring ahead, I’m not going to do these issues. That was a problem inside California. I perceive now.’ So I’m inspired. However I feel we have to push them rather a lot farther left than they’re proper now.”

Are you proud of the state of the nation?

“No, I’m extremely sad with the state of the nation. I’m not going to say that that is the worst factor that’s ever occurred to Native folks, that is the worst factor to ever occur to disabled folks as a result of it’s not in any sense of American historical past. However we’re actually not the place we ought to be for a developed nation, for a really rich nation. Our individuals are struggling – there’s nonetheless folks in North Dakota that reside on reservations that don’t have warmth. There’s nonetheless folks within the Navajo Nation that don’t have working water. And that hasn’t modified in 44 administrations, and I’m actually hoping that transferring ahead, we are able to actually begin to make some meaty change in Indian nation.

“And I feel now we’re getting much more consideration, and I do suppose that that’s pushing our narrative ahead. It’s been a extremely good political cycle for Native folks. We’ve got gotten much more consideration than I’ve ever seen in some other cycle earlier than – you could have candidates coming to reservation[s]. The Bidens have been actually good about coming to the Navajo Nation, they arrive to totally different reservations, they actually attempt to work together with that tribal authorities, as a result of what folks don’t understand is [that] it’s a authorities to authorities relationship. And it’s very precarious the way in which the 2 need to work together with one another. So, I’m inspired.”

What would you prefer to see change?

“I want to see extra infrastructure funding in Indian nation. We’d like financial funding, we’d like healthcare funding. If I needed to go to an Indian hospital for Indian well being companies, I must go to Phoenix – that’s the closest place. And people are issues which might be in our treaty obligations, the federal authorities is meant to produce us with these issues. And so [there] simply must be extra infrastructure funding throughout,  [in] Nevada we do okay, however there are lots of components of the nation which might be so rural, they’re not getting invested in by way of something, actually – it’s very a lot a forgotten nation of individuals.

“Indians are a factor of the previous – very a lot ‘cowboy in Indian motion pictures’ and headdresses. Many of the curriculum in the US doesn’t even educate Native American historical past previous 1900. However we’re nonetheless a surviving folks! And that historical past may be very wealthy, and must be taught. So we’d like is kind of an overhaul of our techniques and an overhaul of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“We’d like change and [in] a really systematic means. Even the people who do work for these organizations and do work for these components [of] the administration don’t essentially care about us and what our points are. And that’s why we see land grabs, we see issues just like the Dakota Entry Pipeline or Mauna Kea in Hawaii. If there’s one thing to go mistaken, it’s all the time on Fatherland. It’s an enormous change that should happen, for certain. We’re making an attempt to undo – [what’s] 400 years of colonisation? – that’s going to take a short time to undo. And I don’t anticipate one vote to alter that. However it’s an excellent begin.”

Do you suppose the election will change something?

“Casting a vote is so essential. However it’s the very first step – casting a vote is the naked minimal of what you are able to do as a citizen and what you are able to do as a accountable particular person on this nation, and as an ally, and as a simply normal good particular person.

“I feel there must be a stability struck – sure, that is so essential, and it’ll change issues in some regard – however don’t suppose that your life goes to be 1,000 % higher with a brand new administration, as a result of lots of the problems that we’re having now with the Trump administration are systemic issues. These are usually not issues which might be a Trump downside. Did Trump exploit the system? Sure. However that system was already in place. The system to abuse folks of color, to remove Fatherland, to place youngsters in cages – that was already there and was already occurring. I’m extraordinarily blissful that it’s been uncovered underneath this administration, and I feel now white individuals are understanding what it’s prefer to be an individual of color on this nation. And I feel that’s fabulous.

“However there’s no particular person of color, there’s no Native that was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know issues had been so dangerous till Trump received elected.’ We knew. So will it change issues? Sure. It’ll permit us to start out getting again to regular, it’ll permit us to not be the laughingstock of the world, which is nice. However folks have to go additional than that. It’s past that, at this level, you want to be collaborating in society in a means that civil rights activists had been and girls’s rights activists had been – you want to do extra now.”

What’s your largest concern for the US?

“Proper now coronavirus is the most important situation that we’re going through. And I can’t imagine that individuals are simply so okay with different folks dying. And I don’t know if it’s that they perhaps don’t imagine that they’re dying, or they simply don’t see the severity of it, however the way in which individuals are so nonchalant at this level – and I perceive it’s been a very long time underneath lockdown – however that is nonetheless occurring. And it’s nonetheless very a lot occurring in Indian nation. And that’s a disturbing piece that folks don’t care about.

“I noticed rather a lot this summer time about tribal governments deciding to shut their recreation centres, or their land, or their roads, and center America was extraordinarily offended about that. How may you? ‘I wish to exit and camp, I wish to exit and do that … you possibly can’t simply do this.’ Properly, sure, we are able to. We’re our personal governments and we determined that our individuals are extra essential than you going out tenting. I’m very sorry, however that’s what it’s.

“I feel simply the shortage of urgency within the coronavirus response has been very upsetting. It’s been very upsetting [to see] the shortage of infrastructure given to Natives. I imply for humanitarian organisations to have to reply to the Navajo Nation’s coronavirus outbreak is absurd. Our authorities has the assets to try this – and so they have the duty to try this for our folks – however determined that different issues had been extra essential or ‘that group’ will do it and that’ll do it. That’s absurd!”

Is there something we haven’t requested in regards to the election that you simply wish to share?

“I wish to actually emphasise the half about voting being step one. Sure, casting a vote for folks of color is revolutionary in a single regard, as a result of folks don’t anticipate Natives or Latinx or the Black neighborhood to point out up. However once we do, we’re a swing vote in an enormous, massive means. And so sure, voting is so essential. However I simply don’t need that hype to cease after November 3, and after we transfer ahead and regardless of the transition of energy goes to be, I would like the warmth to remain up.

“I would like folks to proceed that activism. I would like extra for Black lives and Native lives and all the issues which might be occurring on this nation. It’s not going to cease in the event you vote, and it’s simply very irritating for me to see white middle-class folks put a lot hype on simply voting. I see lots of ‘efficiency activism’ in there – ‘I voted’ stickers, their ‘vote’ shirts. That it’s such a factor proper now to vote, vote, vote … that’s the most important factor you are able to do. However it’s your civic obligation, that’s what you’re purported to do! Don’t really feel such as you’re the best particular person on the earth for doing the naked minimal – present up, after which present up once more after November 3.”

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