Stories from the Field: “You Got a Damn Right to Say ‘I Matter’

Kyra Madunich-Arevalo, kmadunich@lcv.org, 909-767-9743

“What I want people to know is this: you are just as valuable. Just as important. Just as American, and just as decent – or maybe more so – than any corporate-backed leaders. You got a damn right to say, ‘I matter. I count. I want my share and my chance.’”

Bob M. says he’s had a good life. He’s always voted, cared about his country, and thought our democracy was secure. Now, however, at 74 years old, he finds himself staying up at night thinking about how our democracy is terribly threatened by right wing extremism, and how vital this midterm election is to stopping it. 

“I could turn and say, ‘hey, I’ve made my money, I did my thing, I voted; I don’t want to get involved.’ But I couldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t try to help save our nation. There’s no way I’m going to walk away into the dark and leave my country behind. It’s too vital for us.”

This election cycle, Bob is volunteering with LCV’s 2022 GreenRoots program, working to elect some of LCV Action Fund’s 50 endorsed climate and environmental justice champions. Since its launch, LCV members like Bob have reached hundreds of thousands of voters by knocking on doors, making phone calls, waving signs, text banking, and letter and postcard writing. Bob decided to focus his efforts this election cycle on his home state, Florida, because he knows the people best there, and knows his community’s issues. He calls elected officials every day and encourages voters to get out to vote in support of Val Demings for U.S. Senate. 

“Val cares. Val’s got a good record in Congress, and she cares about women’s rights. She cares about people and our well being. I haven’t seen DeSantis do a damn thing… We need people that care. That’s the bottom line.”

Throughout his life, Bob says, he has received much care from his community. He is especially grateful to his family, who worked hard to give him the privilege he grew up with. His grandfather and grandmother immigrated with their three children on July 29, 1922 to the United States from Ireland because of the religious persecution and political turmoil they faced back home. Because of their hard work and sacrifice, he was able to raise a family and buy a home.

“If somebody does something good for me I want to pay it back ten times.This is a great country. A lot of people deserve better and they are getting screwed. When Trump won the nomination I felt powerless, but it makes me feel good to try to help. It makes me feel proud of myself, like I’m accomplishing something. I feel empowered.”

Bob recently lived through Hurricane Ian. “165 mile an hour winds in Lee County destroyed Captiva, Sanibel, Fort Myers. I am in awe of the power of that storm. I’ve lived in Florida 45 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it in size and power.” Despite witnessing terrible damages, Bob has also seen clean energy projects pop up in his state, which give him hope. Whenever he passes by a ranch that has a field of solar power panels in Fort Myers, for example, he thinks about how transitioning to clean energy is crucial to slowing down the changes in climate that Floridians are experiencing as increasingly damaging storms like Ian.

Bob has a message for people who might be on the fence about getting involved in political activism. “Try to be active a little.Try to follow politics, make some phone calls, write some letters. You don’t have to spend hours and hours, but at least stay abreast of what’s happening. Vote and try to sit for 10 or 15 minutes, a couple of times a week, to make phone calls or write a letter.”

“I do it because you young people deserve a country.”

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