Taralei Griffin

What's Your Story?

Category: Opinion (page 1 of 5)

Democracy Or Bust

Over the past year, We, the People of the United States of America, have been inundated with buzzwords and sound bites, attempting both to get us involved and to keep us distracted.

justice weeps

Stronger Together. Historic. All of us. Isis. Protest voting. Believe me. Trust me. Spoiler vote. One percent. Freedom. Build a wall. Equality. Racism. Political Correctness. Grab ’em by the pussy. Socialism. Both a Public and Private Position. Liberals. Deplorables. Tone Down For What. Immigrants. Conservatives. Such a nasty woman. Revolution. Emails. Feel The Bern. I’m With Her. Make America Great Again.

Personally, the word that has most impacted me is Democracy.

The challenge to build a better democracy has always been there. This isn’t hearkening back to some better age; this is a new beginning, and your voice is crucial.

-Mark Ruffalo & Annie Leonard, “We Must Rebuild Our Democracy”

I spent the majority of my spring and summer in our nation’s capitol, fighting for a true democracy. Now, I am back in Tennessee, which has been my home for the past five years, and I am planning on doing something that many people think is crazy….

I am running for congress. In 2018, I plan on being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Tennessee’s 7th District.
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Who is the Unifier?

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If you know me at all, it’s pretty obvious that I support Bernie Sanders. Many people support me in this – many others think I’m crazy, and say I should support Hillary Clinton. When I ask why, the most prevalent answer is that she would be our first female president.

When I answer that I don’t believe that is a good enough reason to choose our future leader, people tear me apart – and while there have been a few men who called me crazy, the women who support Hillary have said much worse.
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Superficial Independence

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We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!

The 1996 film, Independence Day, is one of my favorite movies ever. Many people think I’m crazy when I tell them this, so I have dubbed it my “guilty pleasure” movie. I watch it at least once a year, on July 4th – and I usually end up watching it a few more times throughout the year, as well. Obviously, I was excited to hear about Independence Day: Resurgence, set 20 years after the original. I took myself to see it last weekend, and believe the 1996 version was better. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – in fact, I think it is a great comparison for the general atmosphere in the USA.
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Unreasonably Fed Fears

As a young girl, I would skip and walk comfortably through public places, smiling at everyone I passed and allowing myself to get distracted by what was happening around me.

As a woman in my mid-twenties, I walk purposefully and stare straight at ahead, headphones on so that I have no reason to react to strange men who believe I need to know what they want to do to me.

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As a teenager, I was comfortable asking the nearest, non-busy person for directions.

As a woman traveling on her own, I seek out slightly older, motherly-looking women if I am lost.

One of the only things I have not learned to fear as a grown woman is using a public restroom.
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Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard

Sunday, April 10th, 2016:
It’s the final day of the Democracy Spring march that began in Philadelphia 9 days ago. We’re going to be arriving in D.C. later that afternoon. At our morning rendezvous, one of my fellow marchers hands me his car keys.

“I want to march today, can you drive support?”

“I’d love to! Which car?”

“The Denali over there.” I glance to where he’s pointing, then do a double take and look at him like he’s crazy.

“That big truck?! I’ve never driven anything larger than a small SUV.”

“You’ll be fine. I trust you.” He pats me on the back and walks off, leaving me nervously holding the key to someone else’s very nice truck.

Okay, Tara. You can do this. You’ll be able to take it nice and slow since you’re driving along with the marchers.

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I hoist myself up into the truck, see an auxiliary cable, and instantly pull out my iPod. I put it on a dance playlist, adjust the seat and mirrors, buckle up, roll down the windows, and put the truck in drive. I very slowly pull out of the parking lot, panicking slightly when I bump a curve, but then I’m on the road. Everything is intact, and this gigantic truck is actually easy for me to maneuver. Who knew?

Prince’s 1999 starts playing, and I turn it up as I drive past the marchers, waving and cheering them on.
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