That is a question that I have been asked often lately, so I thought I’d take some time to give an introduction to those who don’t know me. My name is Jennifer Hicks. I am a resident of Peru, NE. Prior to the November election, I was not on social media at all, nor was I involved in local politics in any way. I followed politics in the news, but had never actively engaged. But then the election of November 2020 happened, and I could no longer stay comfortably silent at what I was seeing take place in our country.
And so I began to stumble my way into getting involved. That began by me showing up to the Lincoln state capitol to participate in the nationwide calls to action to bring attention to concerns about election integrity. The Stop the Steal movement was a very grassroots call to action for people across the whole country, and so I showed up to the capitol that very first Saturday not knowing whether I would be met there by others or not. I was not alone. There were others there, just like me, who had heard the nationwide call for protests, and they too showed up on faith that they would hopefully not be the only ones there. I met some great people and from that very first Saturday going forward, many of us made the commitment to one another that we would be there for every Saturday Stop the Steal protest as long as we were able.
I showed up every Saturday. The first protest was probably one of the largest, but interest for those that followed waned as people moved on to enjoying other activities such as hunting and holiday shopping. Plus, it was damn cold. Sometimes our protest was in the bitter cold weather and in snow. But even on those days that few showed up, I was never alone and I was grateful for those who showed up to protest alongside me.
Unfortunately, some of the things I’ve learned about the goings-on of politics, even among conservatives who claim to be on the same side as me, have been disheartening. I have found that attempts to reach out to candidates for answers to my questions sometimes would result in censorship (such as having my questions—which were always polite--removed from public view on social media). I have also been met with some nastiness from those who believe it is okay to behave in such a manner. The message that has been sent to me is that discussions of issues with the candidates should only take place out of public view and only via private conversations rather than public ones. See, I disagree with that idea entirely. I believe that those who think that way are exactly what is wrong with politics. I believe that if we accept that things must be done that way, then we are part of the problem too. We get what we accept, and I have been burned far too many times by politicians who say all the right things and then turn their backs on the people once elected.
I believe it is long overdue for us to demand a tough competition between all of the candidates. That can be done without mudslinging, and it should be done openly before the public. We must insist that they EARN our votes. None of the candidates should agree only to speak with voters privately. When the questions are publicly asked, the answers given should be public as well. We ALL are voters and we all have skin in the game. What they have to say is relevant to us all. The candidates should be consistent in their tone and in their content no matter who it is who is asking the questions. And that is why I began this Political Rumble Forum group. I believe we need to demand that the candidates engage with us directly as they campaign. Those who are not accessible to us as candidates will never be accessible to us once elected, and without accessibility to our elected leaders, we are left with no means to hold them accountable.
*This is excerpted from an original Facebook post from 7/8/21