Ella Mendoza: Climbing The Ladder: Brown Politicians Will Not Save Us

Watching bisexual senator Kyrsten Sinema get sworn in while placing her hand on a copy of the U.S. Constitution was a sobering moment for me. As one of many undocumented organizers around the country, I’ve spent the past few months focused on establishing support networks with members of the migrant caravan, fundraising for the many migrant families affected by the fast-paced changes in immigration policies, while building momentum with local and national campaigns around #AbolishICE. Throughout the year, I paid little to no attention to the ongoing elections. Why would I? Being undocumented not only means a lack of documentation, it means a lack of humanity under the gaze of anyone in power. It means not having any rights except for when you are the topic of a conversation.

From the very beginning of this political race, I knew none of the smiling faces in suits cared about my existence, and why would they? Sinema getting sworn in with the Constitution instead of a religious text may have been a huzzah moment for atheists worldwide, but to me, it was a reminder that no matter how friendly and feminist this “new system” might become, I was still subject to its laws. Laws that have declared my body illegal, my actions unforgivable. It doesn’t matter how old I was when I crossed the border, or how the actions of this country have had an impact on my homeland, how these very actions started the chain of events that led to me immigrating here. In this world of neoliberal feminism, we worship laws and we follow them.

“The future is female” seems to mean, “The future is a cisgender, law-abiding woman.” The future is brown girls in hoops passing laws that will inherently send other brown girls in hoops to prison. And while I see the need for representation in many fields, electoral politics is not one of them. By increasing the representation of Black and Brown bodies in office, we are only contributing to the narrative that these changes shift power, when in reality the only shift in power can come from below.

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