Tatyana Ali is out working hard for the Obama campaign, seeking to get the black vote out for the president. The job has been difficult for Obama surrogates, since millions of people are far less inspired than they were in 2008. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to try, and Essence Magazine is on board as one of the allies to help the president to get the job done.
This week, Ali wrote an article for young black women called, “What Hurts My Sister, Hurts Me.” Ali says that after being inspired by the speech by first lady Michelle Obama, she felt compelled to speak to her audience about the importance of voting for the president. Ali first says that the Republican Party is harmful to her and other women by turning back the clock on women’s rights:
It enraged me to see women at the Republic National Convention last week stand beside men who have promised again and again to take us back into the dark ages when it comes to reproductive rights, access to education, access to adequate health care and arts funding. I thought about it long and hard and then I realized that many of these women of means have no idea what their sisters who live blocks away in neighboring districts will have to go through if these men are elected to office. The idea of not being able to afford contraception, or potentially life-saving tests like cervical cancer screenings, pap smears or mammograms, is so foreign to them that they could laugh and clap in Tampa all the while knowing that these policy proposals loom in the horizon.
Ali then argues that the main difference between herself and Republican women is a matter of class. She says that women of means don’t quite understand what poor women experience. This is an odd reflection from Ali, who has long been among Hollywood’s wealthy and elite, but some among the wealthy still identify with those who are struggling. Making series of compelling arguments that support the Obama campaign, Ali makes her case for why it is unreasonable to consider the Republican option:
Think about it. If you cut access to adequate health care by repealing the Affordable Care Act, gutting Planned Parenthood and turning Medicaid into a voucher program, you are essentially pinning low income and middle-class families to their current economic reality. How can a woman move her family into higher economic strata, generationally speaking, if she has no access to contraceptives?
Ali shows special concern for the Republican desire to cut funding for the arts. She says that cutting the arts is harmful to humanity and that such moves should be stopped, no matter what the cost of doing so.
The arts provide a glimpse into other worlds of thought. They have the potential to create empathy in us for people in circumstances our own life experiences would never allow us to understand. They have the power to galvanize us into collective action and give hope and strength in the most intimate ways.