I know who you are. I see you. I see you in our polarised views at social gatherings, I see you in your child’s anguished cries on social media, and I see you in your silence.
I see how callously you laugh off politically charged concerns from your young daughters, who, as women, are so deeply worried about their freedom of choice and equality in this country they consider their own. The ones who don’t want to live in the America that Donald J. Trump has promised, and for good reason.
I see how you, who would move mountains for the daughter you love so unconditionally, will now vote for the man who’ll try to take away her basic reproductive rights and tell her what to do with her body. How you will deliberately choose a man who indicates to all of the men around your daughter that, in this country, they can disrespect her exactly how the President of the United States has disrespected and abused so many women before her.
I see how the racism that follows your generation is so ingrained in you that you think we, as brown people, are somehow far better than our Black counterparts. That we deserve all of the success America has to offer because of all that we’ve built, ignoring the undeniable history of Black people building this country from the ground up before we ever stepped foot here. I see how you preach nonviolence but overlook the systemic and blatant violence that America enforces on Black people on a daily basis. How you were fired up about how “wrong” the riots on the streets are, and yet couldn’t find the same moral high-ground against violence when Breonna Taylor was wrongfully killed in her own home.
I see how you might disregard Kamala Harris as a viable candidate for vice president because she is half-Black, despite the fact that, at the most basic level, her name is literally “Kamala”.
I see how thoroughly you believe that our own communities will be protected from racism in Trump’s blatantly white supremacist America. That your daughters and sons will be safe from extremist white men in the parts of America that you don’t see. I see how you choose to avoid learning about violent, neo-Nazi groups like Proud Boys, who do not know and do not care about how we’re the “model minority” when they look at the colour of our skin. How you reject the direct correlation between the Trump presidency and hate crimes like Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s murder.
I see how your unwavering faith in Narendra Modi for an India that you no longer live in takes priority over the safety and well-being of the people here, the place you’ve now called home for a large portion of your life. How that faith in Modi usually means that you care as little about #DalitLivesMatter as you do about #BlackLivesMatter. I see how the 50,000 of you that showed up at Howdy, Modi don’t seem to mind that Trump has made the United States an international embarrassment, as long as he keeps making promises to elevate India on a global scale. I see how you’re not seeing the many problems that need to be solved right at your doorsteps; the communities that cry out for help every day in your own town, county, and state.
I see how you closely and carefully follow politics in India but will turn to single-issue voting here for possibly the most important election of your lifetime. How you seem to believe that Trump will protect our opportunities and our wealth here in America because he’s chums with Modi all the way over in India, disregarding the fact that we are very much still a minority group here and stand to gain nothing tangible from India’s political landscape. I see how you don’t want to acknowledge that, to Trump, the Indian-American population in this country will never be more than a pawn in his agenda.
I see the value that you place in personal financial gain over collective freedom and democracy. I see it clearly when you, again and again, fall for fascism that’s thinly veiled as capitalism, whether that’s here or there or anywhere.
I see how you, who always make an effort to carry yourselves with dignity and self-respect, genuinely want the most undignified of men to represent you. I see and I cannot believe how you give credit to so many of the lies coming from this person who speaks in the most vulgar and cheap manner possible. I see how you justify his behaviour with an explanation that all politicians are inherently dishonest and corrupt, forgetting the idea that decency and humanity is still something to be wanted and needed from our leaders. How you might find the leader of the free world’s childlike antics to be entertaining, rather than the absolute disgrace that they are.
I see how you emphasise the value of education and logical reasoning to your children but turn a blind eye to statistics and muzzled scientists when it comes to the 210,000 deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (and I haven’t even touched climate change). I see how you know, but refuse to acknowledge, that these deaths could have been avoided if Trump did not commit an act of murder by retaining necessary information for his own political agenda, misleading the entire country, and horrifically mismanaging the whole situation. That, as Vice President Joe Biden said, it didn’t have to be this way. That it didn’t have to be such a massive and unconscionable human loss. That so many lives could have been saved, and can still be saved, with a proper response from a logical president.
I saw how, back in 2016, you completely discredited fears that Trump is actually capable of hurting the country. How you wrote him off as harmless and “all talk”. How you believed that the most powerful man in the world would truly not have enough power to cause irrevocable damage to a country with an already rigged system. I see how today, in 2020, you wave off fact-based claims that Trump has actually caused all of that damage and more in only four years. Or even in only 100 days. I see how you don’t foresee the sheer chaos his administration could incite with another four years.
I see how you, who likely went through a decade-long immigration process to secure a bright future for your family in this shiny land of dreams, might now completely mar that future by not only voting for the wrong candidate, but also by not giving this decision the importance it deserves. How you may not even see the value in your vote, despite sacrificing your comfort, time, and boatloads of hard-earned money for the fundamental right and privilege to vote.
I see why some of you still follow the immigrant rulebook that tells us to keep our heads down and remain apolitical in order to quietly prosper. But I see, more clearly, the long-term damage of following those old rules; the hefty price we’ll pay by not using this voice we’ve earned. I see, perhaps most importantly, how incredibly important it is to speak up not only for ourselves, but also for the communities around us.
I see how you, if you’ve made it this far, may still refuse to believe how crucial it is to vote for the right person in this election, of exactly what is at stake here. How you still may not give enough importance to data, democracy, and a shared sense of humanity, all of which defined the America that drew you here from the country you love so much. I see how you may, once again, laugh this off as another young person being dramatic, inexperienced, and naïve.
I see it all, and it breaks me. I see it all, and I can’t unsee it.
This article first appeared on the writer’s Medium page.