There’s No Time to Wait in America

The 24 year-old Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico on his personal story of activism.
April 25, 2017, 1:30pm

This is an opinion piece from Juan Sanchez III, Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

When 45's attempt at ruining healthcare failed, I breathed a sigh of relief. But it was only momentary because well, everything with 45 is momentary. His presidency is one made entirely out of 140 characters or less.

At the age of 19, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. Without medication, I can't walk or even get out of bed. I'm about to turn 25, and I'm thankful for the Affordable Care Act, because it has given me one more year on my father's health insurance. It's one more year that I don't have to choose between going into crippling medical debt or actually being crippled.

I am currently running to be the next Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, a two year unpaid volunteer position. I am also in a master's program, living off student loans and scholarships on the potentially baseless belief that higher education will lead to a better future for myself. Economic insecurity is our lived reality, the American Dream has faded away and uncertainty is the new constant.

I'm sure many reading this ask themselves the same questions that I do: Are these student loans worth it? Will X behavior lead to Y outcome, like I've been told it will? Is my future out of my hands for the next four years? Who will be there to piece this country back together? Will there be anything left to even try? What can I do right now?

It's difficult to ask people who are worried about their economic future to get more involved. Being involved certainly doesn't pay the bills or put food on the table. Being involved might mean being asked to contribute money that you don't have. But In order for us all to make it out of the next four years with a semblance of hope for the future there really isn't another option but to step up to the plate right now.

There is no shortage of reasons to be outraged or reasons to get involved now. I'm happy that people across the state of New Mexico are getting involved not only with the Democratic Party, but with a wide array of groups and organizations. Everyone involved has their sights set on continuing the narrative that advances in economic, racial, and social justice are the only way forward.

The future may look bleak -- and it might actually be bleak -- but now is not the time to cower in a corner fearing the tweets (or worse) of an unhinged leader. Because of my disease, I literally cannot sit on the sidelines. I'm doubling down on my commitment to elect leaders who care about our future, and you should too.

We need leaders who will raise the minimum wage.

We need leaders who will protect healthcare, medicare and medicaid.

We need leaders who will think outside the box to create good paying jobs.

We need leaders who will fight tooth and nail for our land, water, and air.

We need leaders of color, women leaders, and millennial leaders.

We need leaders who will take our country back.

I ask you to join me. Run for office. Get your door-knocking shoes on. Contribute to a worthy cause. Let's take back our country, together.