These are ominous times in America for those who have lost their fundamental right to make decisions about their own body in many states—although thankfully not here in California where our rights will remain protected—and because of the threats to our democracy.
In these serious times, we need our leaders to take our issues seriously, and to fight for our rights and on behalf of the public, and not just their own political careers.
Sadly, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez has been putting her political self-interest above our vital cause and above the urgent importance of truth in political discourse to protect our democracy.
Her opponent in the race for San Jose mayor, Councilmember Matt Mahan, is 100% pro-choice. He is a steadfast ally. But you would not conclude that if you have seen one of Chavez’s many attack ads that imply Mahan is not pro-choice.
The ads are purposely constructed to mislead. This is always a red flag. If a candidate needs to lie about their opponent to seek political victory, it is a sign their own record is far less than stellar. In this important moment in our country, when our movement for reproductive freedom needs to unite all of our allies and to focus on facts and truth, a politician exploiting this cause for their own gain is deeply troubling.
The irony is she is attacking Mahan for something she does for her campaign every day—supporting “content neutral” platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. If you have seen the Chavez attack ad on YouTube—or via an email or text message she sent you—she is using platforms that don’t censor anti-choice messages. When she mails you a “hit piece” on this topic, she will use a platform like the USPS that does not censor this or other topics.
The whole basis of the Chavez attack—not just on choice but on other issues—is the fact that Mahan started a technology company that did not censor protected political speech. This company was meant to encourage the critically needed civic engagement of all Americans, not to censor protected speech.
In normal times, the hypocrisy being displayed by Chavez would be seen as just politics as usual. But these are not normal times. It is imperative that our leaders understand they must put toxic politics aside and refuse to diminish the importance of a cause by exploiting it for their own purposes, and by not spreading more falsehoods to the public that can undermine our political process.
We need the truth from our leaders. On the vital topic of a woman’s right to choose, we are still waiting for Cindy Chavez to tell the truth.
Ann Ravel is a former commissioner and chair of the Federal Election Commission and CA Fair Political Practices Commission. Michelle Glogovac is a community advocate who volunteers with Moms Demand Action.