While I’m glad to see the flip in the House, and the election of the first Muslim women to Congress, the first openly gay governor, and the largest number of women to ever serve our country, I can’t help but think about how much it took for those narrow wins and the painful narrow losses. I know many of you worked hard phone and text banking, canvassing, posting, donating, volunteering, and running. And a huge thank you to those who turned out to vote.
We have elected the most diverse set of candidates this country has ever had! I know you’re tired. I’m tired, too. And I also know that 2020 begins now. Literally today. We have a huge amount of work ahead of us. And this isn’t about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about the bedrock of our democracy. This is about basic human decency and dignity. And I’m ready to do what’s needed today and every tomorrow I have. I love this country, and I believe in its future. I believe in our ability to collectively restore what’s been gutted by this administration.
Not voting is voting – it’s voting to hand your power over to someone else. The greatest enemy to our democracy is not a person, a party, or a policy. It’s apathy. It’s a lack of action. It’s not voting. Today, claim your power. Vote. Your rights depend on it. My rights depend on it. We are in this together. Please vote.
What’s your plan to vote? I’m ready to use my fully-healed tattoo of Thor’s hammer in the name of justice tomorrow by casting my vote for the midterms. I hope you will, too. NY doesn’t have early voting and I expect long lines in my district so I will be there as soon as the polls open. Get to the polls. Help other people get to the polls. Stay in line. Care. Be heard. Participate. Vote! (And thank you Mehai Bakaty of fineline tattoo nyc!)
“Not everyone starts their work in politics by running for Congress. School & community boards have critical impacts on local communities. Run!” ~Vicki Eastus
My friend, Vicki, said this to me this week and it empowered me to consider running for a hyperlocal local office in my New York City community. If you’ve had similar thoughts, or you’re just curious about the whole election process on any level, there are so many resources available:
Today marks a significant day in history: a public Senate hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. I am attending and will live tweet it on my Twitter feed at @christanyc.
The Honorable Sally Q. Yates, Former Acting Attorney General of the United States, and The Honorable James R. Clapper, Former Director of National Intelligence of the United States, will testify in front of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
While other committees will likely hold many additional hearing in the near-future, this is the first time the public will hear from Sally Yates. Though the hearing won’t be televised, it will be live streamed on the subcommittee’s website at https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/russian-interference-in-the-2016-united-states-election.
The first economic casualty of this election found me yesterday. My favorite staff member in my apartment building told me that my landlord is outsourcing the staffing of the building in preparation for a recession that they think will hit in the coming months. The staff is being offered the chance to interview for the outsourced company, though there is no guarantee of a job and even if they do get a job, their pay will be cut and their housing subsidy will be taken away.
“Even if I get the job, they’re going to cut my pay by $3.50/hour,” he said to me. “And that’s going to hurt a lot. My last day could be November 30th if I don’t get this job. I was wondering if you could do me a favor, Christa. Would you write a recommendation letter for me that I could bring to the interview?”
My eyes teared up. This man has been a good friend to me, and really makes my building feel like home. He’s professional, kind, and caring. He loves his job and the people who live in my building. I’d pay double my rent to help him and the rest of the staff who do such a wonderful job helping all of us. I was prepared to take out my checkbook right there, and instead what he asked for was a letter. $3.50/hour is a lot to him; it makes the difference between being able to pay his bills and not being able to pay his bills. Let that sink in. He lives in D.C., a very expensive city, and makes less than $35,000/year before taxes, and that could drop to $27,000/year. That’s what he’s fighting for. That’s what he’d be grateful to get. This is the working poor. Right. Next. Door.
The President-elect, ensconced in his 3-story, 24K gold penthouse on Fifth Avenue, doesn’t care a lick about people like my friend. But you know what? I care. I can do something, and I will. I wrote my heart out in that reference letter for my friend. I’ll be writing a lot of letters in the coming days, weeks, and months. I’m not going to standby and watch our economy and our country go to hell in a hand-basket at the hands of an inexperienced madman and his cabinet of ignorants. Deplorable? Yes. Unstoppable? No.
To say that I am sad, disillusioned, and disappointed is an understatement. And here is something I won’t be: silent. I will raise my voice louder, clearer, and stronger than ever because now it counts more than ever. I am sick and I am tired of sexism, racism, bigotry, crudeness, narcissism, disrespect, and this fundamental belief that somehow dedication and experience isn’t important when it comes to government. If the new administration and its supporters think that for one second I will quietly live in a world of their design, they are in for a very rude awakening. Most of those states were won by very narrow margins which means that there are an awful lot of people who believe what I believe and the only way I’m going to find them is to call out in as loud, determined, and tenacious a voice as I have.
I believe in democracy. I believe in the people’s right to select its political leaders. I believe in our institutions. What I don’t believe in is change for change sake with no modifiers or qualifiers to tell us exactly what kind of change we’re getting. The markets are tumbling, and my great fear is that the rights of women as well as racial, ethnic, and religious minorities will follow. These 4 years could be the worst in our history, though I can’t in good conscience stand idly by. And I won’t.
Under the anger and disbelief, I am hopeful. Not hopeful about the abilities and intentions of the new administration, but hopeful about ours. I don’t need healing. I’m already healed. This election didn’t break me down. It made me tougher. What’s needed now is action, and I’m going to put my energy into building a better world and a better country that aligns with my vision of fairness, kindness, love, a strong work ethic, opportunity, compassion, and empathy. You with me?
There are plenty of people who say voting doesn’t matter. Why bother, especially if you live in the city-state of D.C. that “doesn’t count” as I’ve been told by so many people. I’ll tell you why: because we need your voice. And we need my voice. And we need everyone’s voice. It’s amazing that we live in a place where we can select our government’s leaders. (Don’t you wish you could do that at work?!) The decisions that are going to be made here in the next few years – about healthcare, education, social justice issues, energy, and the environment – are going to have an impact on generations to come all over the world.I know you’re tired. I’m tired, too. I get the cynicism. I get the frustration. I get the anger. I feel all of those things in fits and starts, too. Don’t let them deflate you. They’re fuel. If we’re going to build a better world, we’ve got to do it together and we can’t do that sitting on our hands. Use them to get to the polls, cast your ballot, and then keep raising your voice. Keep fighting for things you believe in. Keep volunteering in your community. Keep standing up. Keep demanding to be counted. Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep striving. Keep going. You and your vote matter!
I knew I’d be emotional watching Hillary Clinton accept the nomination. What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming sense of hope her nomination would give me. We have massive problems in this country. We have so much work to do to create true equity, particularly an equity of opportunity, among all people. What Hillary’s nomination shows me is that rolling up your sleeves and getting down in the trenches is how we rise to the highest heights, and how we also take others with us. She’s not focused on building walls. She’s busy building a larger table where everyone gets a seat. Everyone. And that’s a crowd I’m proud to be a part of.