Growing up, my father always told me to focus on my studies and the arts and stay far away from politics. As a good student, I listened. When I got older, I unconsciously took notice of news that focused on stories from around the world that would confirm what my father taught me.
As fate would have it, I married someone that loves politics. He reads newspapers from around the world and loves getting into discussions with both like-minded people and those that strongly disagree with his view. He was always respectful of my disinterest but he would always say that to be a good citizen of any country, you have to stay informed, engaged and question everything. He felt it was our responsibility.
I watched him support candidates he believed in even if they were not in his state and was sending $25-$50 to help with their campaign. I could tell that he felt excitement when they won and said “we will win next time” when they didn’t. He never regretted giving his support. There was a certain kind of joy that came to him to participate in this democracy. My friend and renowned psychologist Dr. Amythyst Kiani shared with me that numerous studies in the field of psychology demonstrate that community involvement like voting allows us to feel more in control of our lives and adds to our psychological well-being. It also improves our critical thinking skills and helps us in decision making throughout our life. I saw this firsthand with my husband.
As luck would have it, I got a client that I admired that was very involved in politics. It was natural to him to get to know the issues and support candidates that he believed in. He wanted to make a difference in the world in every way he could. One way he did it was to support candidates that he believed would put people over profits.
I saw that it is much easier to take the world backward than it was to move it forward.
It wasn’t until I was in my late forties that I realized I too wanted to get involved. I soon learned that you didn’t have to be a millionaire to start learning about the issues and supporting these candidates. You could give small donations and your time. In November 2018, I set out to do a series of articles and videos encouraging Iranian Americans to get to know their representatives and vote. I learned how other cultures work together to support candidates. If every Iranian American in Los Angeles decided to give just $10 each to a candidate, it would equal $5,000,000. If every Iranian American in the US decided to give the same $10, it would equal $15,000,000. Please let that sink in. As an individual – millionaire or not, we are allowed to only donate $2,800 per election to a candidate. There are also caps on what can be spent on fundraisers. But when we come together, we can impact issues in a very big way.
To completely rewire the beliefs my father had put into place, I saw what could happen when someone that doesn’t hold my values and priorities takes office. I saw things change that I didn’t think possible in the United States. I heard things said that I never thought I would. I saw that it is much easier to take the world backward than it was to move it forward.
Sometimes it’s easier to notice changes that happen on a national level but we also need to be aware of what’s happening on a local level because there are decisions being made that can have a huge impact on our lives and we don’t want to notice them when it is too late. At night, I picture my grandchildren reading about what’s happening in our world today and wondering which side I stood on and whether I did anything to create change. Did I stand up for those that did not have a voice? Did I protect the planet they are inheriting? Did I put people over profits? Statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
We reached out to a few of the Iranian Americans that we know and love to share their thoughts about this election and the need to vote locally and nationally. We didn’t want to edit down their thoughts too much so we created two separate videos. Please watch, share with your friends and families and show them some love on their social media.
After you watch, please put a plan in place on exactly how you will vote. If you are not registered to vote, visit vote.org and register. After your plan is in place, please reach out to the people in your circle and find out if you can help anyone else make their plan. For those that want to take it a step further, learn about the Iranian American candidates that are running for office or re-election and if you agree with their position on the main issues, send them a donation (list below). If we stand together, it doesn’t take much to take a whisper to a roar. Let’s take the opportunity to make sure our voice is heard loud and clear.
Iranian Americans Running for Office: (alphabetical order by last name)
- Kimi “Ordoubian” Abernathy: www.facebook.com/kimi4tnsenate
- Yassamin Ansari: www.yassaminforphoenix.com
- Ardavan Davari: www.facebook.com/ardidavari
- Anna Eskamani: www.annaforflorida.com
- Shireen Ghorbani: www.teamshireen.com
- Alan Khazei: www.alankhazei.com
- Sima Ladjevardian: www.simafortx.com
- Shani Moslehi: www.shanimoslehi4citycouncil.com
- Nima Rahimi: www.nimarahimi.org
- Asha Safai: www.ashaforsupervisor.com
- Darius Shahinfar: www.dariusforalbany.com