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Lea Diaz
Photo Credits: Lauren Manning ©

The «persistent» nature of Democracy

“You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die”.

John Lennon

Elections are one of the most important instruments of today´s representative democracy. This way the renovating cycle of popular sovereignty remains undeniably. Although for many the 2016 Presidential Election brought unnecessary anxiety and discomfort, as the campaign reached lows with character attacks and theories of conspiracy, recent polls and incoming midterm elections (2018) have urged us to “clean the engines” and get ready for the ongoing race.

November 2017 has been significant indeed for New York, Virginia and New Jersey. A blue wave has extended along the East Coast after Democrats´ victories for various positions at the State and City level -Governor, Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, District Attorney-. Especially in Virginia and New Jersey, where Republican Governors have now been replaced by the Democrats, these new triumphs set the tone for the 2018 contest and might reveal citizen´ disillusionment and frustration with Trump´s much-disputed policies.

In New York, Bill de Blasio received the 66 per cent of the vote and won over Republican Assemblywoman, Nicole Malliotakis, and a few independent candidates. Mr. de Blasio is the first Democratic mayor to be re-elected since Edward I. Koch (1985). Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott M. Stringer beat as well their Republican opponents. The District attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., was also re-elected.

What are New Yorkers to expect during this second mayoral term?

In his victory speech at the Brooklyn Museum on November 7th, Mr. de Blasio, accompanied by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and his son, Dante, made clear his intention to advance the progressive agenda initiated in 2013 and combat, at the same time, recessive decisions of the incumbent Administration. De Blasio and his team strive to make New York «livable», not elite or exclusive of the famous and the wealthy. «This is your city». The re-elected mayor repeated the campaign motto while mentioning and listing priorities of his program such as schools -including free schooling to all three year old-, affordable housing, universal pre-kindergarten, safety, transportation, taxation, social issues, the protection of immigrants… in what he called «the beginning of a new era» for New York «to become the fairest big city in America». Thus, it will be imperative to confront federal budget cuts that could affect public housing, healthcare, social projects; and forge a strong alliance with Governor Cuomo since some of the mayor plans will have to be approved in Albany.

Midterms elections are around the corner. We have one year ahead to stay active: get informed, become involved with grassroots organizations, associations, community or neighborhood zeals. I wish to shed light on the splendid job NYC Votes has performed during the mayoral race. NYC Votes is an initiative born within the independent city agency, New York City Campaign Finance Board (NYCCFB). The agency is non-partisan and promotes civic engagement. Therefore, they have launched a wide variety of strategies to engage voters, disseminate information on many different issues concerning voting -registering, calendars, debates, guides, programs, volunteering, etc.-. I have participated in several activities such as the «day of action» -knocking on doors to remind residents of election day-, phone-banking, and have cheerfully mingled with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds inspired by ideals and hope.

As it happens invariably in life, with our dreams and personal aspirations, democracy demands from us constant efforts and heroic persistence: we cannot get tired or discouraged, we have to keep fighting and moving forward, upholding the enlightening vision of a better society for future generations.

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