The news seems hard every day. It’s full of politicians who care more about power than the people they are supposed to serve.
COVID numbers continue to climb because people care more about themselves than taking care of each other, and our government isn’t doing what is necessary to keep us safe and healthy. Breonna Taylor receiving zero justice, re-illustrating how little this country cares for Black women. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and and the efforts by hypocritical politicians are determined to jam through their nominee before the election.
I feel like I’m being gaslit at every turn whenever I mention any of these things to people who I used to respect and look up to. People who were lifelong friends and mentors before Trump sunk his hooks in and created division. It’s tiring, and I know that I come from privilege and there are those who are much more exhausted than I am.
At the end of the day, I come home and I look at the beautiful child that I grew with my body and I remember the reason that I continue to organize, to fight, and to vote. She is my reason. I hate that she is growing up in a world that doesn’t value everyone.
I am a half Japanese American woman, and my daughter, Imogene, is a quarter Japanese. I am largely invisible in white spaces, but I have never been as invisible as my Japanese American mom. I know that Imogene will likely be able to pass through white spaces more easily than I do. I have passed through these spaces more easily than my mother, but I know that there is a part of Imogene that will not be honored by the country that we live in. I know this because this country did not honor the generations that came before her.
I will remember in November this feeling of deep grief.
This grief was planted and watered and sowed by a fragile president who has said everything that he could to create a deep division among parties, among people, among families. I will remember the slow crumbling of relationships.
I will remember the strained conversations with my parents in-law and how we told them that I was sick and we weren’t sure if it was COVID-19 or not, and they responded by simply saying that they had their own theories about whether COVID was even real or not.
I will remember when they cut off communication with us because their reality has been so twisted by Trump and Fox News inundating them with “alternative facts”.
I will remember lifelong friendships that ended because these “friends” kept telling me that I was not honoring my whiteness by leaning into my Japanese heritage, and if I would just be more white then I wouldn’t care so much about Black Lives Matter or the systemic racism in this country.
I will remember how Republicans thought President Obama was too divisive and called for unity over and over again. It is clear that Trump is not up to the task of uniting us.
I will remember in November my daughter, who is five and is struggling to understand why her world suddenly got so small. Kindergarten starting from home was not the plan that I had for her, but became necessary to keep her, her classmates, her teacher, and her school’s faculty safe and healthy.
I will remember my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews and how our weekly dinners became weekly Zoom calls and then once in a while Zoom calls. I will remember the niece that was born in April who I have never held. I will remember my daughter trying to figure out how to connect with her cousins through video chats, and how playing with them is fun, but is way more difficult and different when you can’t be in the same room.
I will remember that there is always hope in this grief, that there is always light and joy and laughter amongst the pain.
As I sit at my kitchen table, my daughter by my side, I will fill in my ballot and vote for the candidate that gives me hope and that gives her a chance for a future. While a new president will not fix what has been broken, maybe a ray of light will start to peek through the cracks of all of the deception and give us all a chance to catch our breath for a moment.
I know that this deep division will likely take years to repair, but I am hopeful. I am finding hope in Imogene -and in her optimism and her anticipation for what’s next, and how she meets every new experience with excitement.
I am finding hope in the movement that has been building and organizing and pushing for radical change. Change like healthcare for all, housing for all, police abolishment, welcoming and valuing immigrants, the creation of a more equitable and just country.
If we keep our eyes on our values and continue to fight for the well-being and humanity of people that we don’t know, then we can build a country that works for all of us and not just the wealthy few. We have enough money and resources to care for everyone.
Together, we can build the world we deserve. Let’s get to work.