When the Personal Becomes Political, Rest in Power RBG, and Bye Don
When I heard about The Honorable and Notorious RBG’s death, I felt compelled to channel my grief, and to find ways to let her memory be a revolution. And so, I find myself writing a post that is both personal and political.
Image credit: RBG in 2015 Sebastian Kim/Time Magazine (p.164 of Notorious RBG The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, by Erin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik)
On November 3rd, 2020, my father, an immigrant, and naturalized citizen, who loved this country and all the wonderful ideals it stands for, would have been 100 years old. I am proud and grateful that I can vote, and I will vote with love, for this beautiful, if imperfect, nation, in honor of my parents memory.
When Trump was running for office, my reasons NOT to vote for him included Trump’s racist tendencies, his treatment of women, his disregard and disrespect for veterans, and his insensitivity towards people living with disabilities. Intellectually, I disagreed with his views. Instinctively, as a mother, my response to Trump was, and continues to be, visceral repugnance. He made the hairs on my neck stand up straight, and I knew, in every cell of my body, that he would make life less safe for the most vulnerable people in our society. As a woman of mixed race heritage, I have come across bullies throughout my entire life, and I know a bully when I see one. As a mental health professional, I worked with women affected by domestic violence. Trump has all the earmarks of a perpetrator.
The reasons above are why I did not vote for Trump in 2016. I told myself, and my friends, it’s not political, it’s personal, it’s about human decency, this goes beyond politics. I want to feel good about the leaders of our country. I want to point to their behavior and be able to say to my children and grandchildren that their behavior should be emulated. Not so with Trump and his cohorts. I believed that friends, family, neighbors, and fellow citizens would exercise their own critical thinking, and come to their own conclusions. When he won the election, I was stunned. We now know that Russia interfered in our electoral process through disinformation and social media outlets. Still, we are a democracy, and every vote matters.
For the upcoming elections, the issues have now moved beyond these personal, intuitive, and emotional responses. The personal has now moved to the political. Now I see that big bully going after my beloved American democracy, each of its checks and balances, and its beautiful institutions. Attacking the fourth estate, our free press, was just the beginning. Installing an attorney general with authoritarian leanings, using force to intimidate peaceful protestors, politicizing a public health crisis, lying to the public about the coronavirus, pressuring the CDC to withhold information and change their reports, deliberately hobbling the USPS, spreading misinformation about mail in voting to discourage our free elections…. Oh, no you don’t Mr. Trump. I don’t have a degree in law or political science, but I don’t need one to see your disregard for our beautiful country.
I’m a mother. I’m a citizen. I paid attention during my high school political science class. I listen to the news, on both sides, Fox and MSNBC, and I think about it all. I have read the constitution, and the bill of rights. Have you? We moms are paying attention. I repeat, what started as personal, has now become political. Get your hands off my democracy. Get your hands off our electoral process. Seasoned moms, hell, even brand-new moms, are not frightened by schoolyard bullies, even if their address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The problem is that bullies, given power, will continue to take more. Bullies given power, become tyrants. We are watching you. You have done more than enough damage, and there will be a lot of repair to be done. That’s okay. Human beings are resilient. We can show the world that our democracy, though it has taken a beating, is resilience. At least you have shone a light on what has been broken all along. And thank you for that. What we don’t look at, we can’t address. But that’ll do, now. Step aside, there is much healing work to be done. Pack your bags – the moms are voting you out. Bye Don.