Voting brings us out of the margins and into the fight

Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World.

Editor’s note: Ahead of the presidential November election, Bread Blog is exploring faith and elections through the lens of different faith perspectives. The blog posts will be written by members of Bread’s church relations staff and friends of Bread for the World.

By Dulce Gamboa

Pope Francis calls us to get out of the margins and fight for justice. Hunger and poverty are some of the biggest matters of justice. This election year offers the opportunity for us to educate ourselves, other voters, and the candidates for public office about hunger and poverty.

This year my part in the fight for justice is also personal. I recently met all the requirements to apply for U.S. citizenship! After some paperwork, $680 in fees, a civics test, and a moral and character interview, I am now waiting to be sworn in. Taking this step is important for so many reasons in my life, but most importantly because I will be able to vote.  This presidential election cannot be more consequential, especially for the issues that I care about. And I didn’t want to watch this election cycle from the margins. In fact, I have 11 million reasons not to.

Casting my very first vote for president of the United States will be a big responsibility. As a person of faith, a soon-to-be citizen, and “hunger” voter, I have the moral responsibility to help elect candidates at the local and federal level who can commit to ending hunger in the U.S. and abroad by supporting comprehensive immigration reform, ending mass incarceration, and fixing the economic policies that have failed to prioritize the most vulnerable in our society. I strongly believe resolving these issues should be at the top of the agenda for our next president and Congress.

Pope Francis calls all Catholics to participate in public life. He says that voting is one of the most impactful vehicles for putting in places of authority hunger champions, immigration reform champions, and social justice champions. There are three principles from Catholic social teachings that can help Catholics and other Christians as we evaluate issues, political platforms, and candidates’ stands on issues that affect human dignity and perpetuate injustices:

  • The principle of subsidiarity tells us that public institutions should adequately protect human dignity, meet human needs, and advance the common good.
  • As a one human family, independently from our nationality, racial and ethnic background, or economic differences, the principle of solidarity calls us to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they live next door or on another continent. Loving our neighbor requires to eradicate racism and poverty in our world.
  • The preferential option for the poor and the most vulnerable among us asks us to critically analyze the implications of the candidates’ proposals for people suffering from discrimination, oppression and injustices in our nation and beyond.

Achieving a world free of hunger and poverty requires a political commitment where we all play a role. In light of these principles, it is imperative for us to exercise our sacred gift to vote. Let’s elevate hunger and poverty in this electoral cycle and get out to vote.

Dulce Gamboa is associate for Latino relations at Bread for the World. She is originally from Mexico.

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