SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Someone asked Ashley Ramos whether rain was going to cause the cancellation of the Stop the Steal rally in Springfield, Illinois on Nov. 14, 2020, one of many happening across the country that day. Rain was the least of her concerns, for Ramos and others, between media accusations of a conspiracy and social media censorship.
"George Washington was at the Delaware River, and it was snowing, it was terrible, and he fought through that and won a war. So if all we have to deal with today is a little bit of rain to come out and support our fellow Americans and get our voices heard and fulfill our missions we're willing to do that," Ramos said.
People are protesting because Americans want to stop the stealing of votes and voice, Ramos explained. "Every legal vote should count regardless of what political affiliation that it is, every American deserves to have their voice heard," she said.
For instance, a local representative reported broken machines and votes that were thrown out, and Ramos is concerned that if what happens in one area is in reality a widespread issue, there would be a huge impact on the election.
"I can only imagine what would happen in entire states where people aren't being monitored appropriately; it's a serious issue and it needs to be addressed," she said.
Beyond allegations of fraud, the media has also played an irresponsible role in this election and misled Americans, she added.
"I think the media took a role they should not have. I think they overstepped their bounds," Ramos said.
"They're supposed to be the voice that gives the news, opinion in certain platforms, but I don't think they should be calling elections, that's something that's legally done by the electoral college, and to do so ahead of time, you're taking something that's a legal platform and you're making it something for which media's responsible," Ramos said.
"It's also just disheartening to us as citizens because now you've got people arguing over something that hasn't even been legally, officially decided yet You've got people Democratically leaning saying Joe Biden's president and legally he is not, and we should not address him as such. Donald J. Trump is our president right now and he should be addressed as such," she said.
"I think the media has only done more to divide people," Ramos said.
"I don't think people like you and I have divided each other, I feel like media has taken a huge responsibility in that," Ramos said. "I think that it is a tragedy that our voices are being stifled, that people are being told not to exercise our first amendment right and that larger corporations or people that happen the opportunity as media to be biased and give everyone equal opportunity are not doing so."
Ordinary individuals are not the ones causing the division, but they can be the solution, Ramos added.
"As a citizen of the United States I think that the country is going through a time of transition, and it can either be something that we turn into a positive or a negative," she said.
"We can step back from what the media is telling us and say, hey look, we all have a legal right as citizens, we all have the opportunity to learn and care for one another and we can do that," she said.
"We don't always have to necessarily agree, but we can step back and say we're going to be better than that and we're going to listen to one another, and we're going to find solutions to the problem."
"Or we can stay divided and in that case you won't see things get better, they'll get worse. We'll see mandates that eventually end up harming everybody, we'll see more of this shutdown in many senses of the word, I don't even mean physically where we shut down businesses ... we'll also see the shutdown of our voices, the media will stop us from saying what we think and we feel and we believe, and that's a tragedy in and of itself," she said. "There are a lot of beautiful messages out there about peace and love and those are being stifled as well. Even in a situation like this, where we're just calling for equal opportunity and justice for our vote."
"Hopefully we'll be able to get a positive message out of bringing our country back together and doing the right thing," she said.