Last night I tuned into the RNC. As someone who feels politically homeless, I felt it only fair to tune into both conventions just to see what they had to say. During Vice President Mike Pence’s speech, he made a comment that has stuck in my mind: “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”
It was one of the few moments I’ve wanted to sit down with the man and ask him, “Sir, do you not realize that millions of Americans have never felt safe a single day while you and President Trump have been in office?”
I was reminded of a day in January of 2017 shortly after the Presidential Inauguration. My husband and I had bought a house nearly a year prior in a neighborhood we loved in Nashville where we were the only white people on our street. Our neighbors were Hispanic, Vietnamese, African American, Nigerian, Somali – the kind of beautiful melting pot representation of the America I love.
My neighbors were hard working business owners in our community yet after the inauguration, we noticed that people were not out and about like normal. We knew it our hearts it was because they were afraid and so I baked some brownies and cookies and I wrote letters and we set out on foot to deliver the goods. They didn’t answer the door. The next day, my husband and I went to grab coffee at our favorite Somali coffee shop down the street and as we were chatting with the owner, we asked how he’s been doing? He opened up about how business had been very slow. Micah asked why that is and he shared that most of his patrons are scared to leave their homes. They didn’t feel safe under the leadership of a man who spoke with such hate towards immigrants and refugees and they didn’t feel safe living in a place that would elect such a man.
Mr. Vice President, people do not feel safe in this America.
Native American land in federal trusts are being negotiated leaving them fearful that all that they have left that hasn’t been stolen out from under them will now be up for grabs.
They do not feel safe.
Asian Americans and immigrants faced discrimination this spring because our President continued to refer to COVID-19 as “The Chinese Virus”. They were harassed in the street and were denied services.
They do not feel safe.
Our country elected a man 4 years ago with a history of mistreatment of women and no matter how many women in his administration and in his family speak to his character, his history speaks for itself. And yes, white women can celebrate 100 years of having the right to vote but women of color were not awarded the same til 1965 AND we still do not have equal pay.
We do not feel safe.
In the midst of a global pandemic, narratives promoted by this administration that undermine our scientists who are working tirelessly to find a way to biologically fight COVID-19 have our citizens no longer trusting their medical professionals.
The scientific community, our healthcare professionals, our teachers, our business owners, our frontline workers do not feel safe or supported.
Our President tweets things like “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” with complete disregard that far right enthusiasts have been caught starting fires in government buildings, busting out windows of businesses, and most recently driving across state lines with an AR 15 killing two people and injuring another. Racial tensions are growing stronger by the day as divisive language continues to create chaos in a time where we need a unifying voice.
Black people do not feel safe.
Law Enforcement does not feel safe.
Mr. Vice President – this America is not safe.
And here’s the thing, I can’t say that a Biden presidency equals a safer America because I am not looking to the man or woman who occupies the Oval Office to be my savior and Mr. Vice President, as a man of faith, I wouldn’t expect you to either.
What I can say is that America needs a leader who will put aside the necessary political tactics that traditionally unify their base and will use their voice to unify us as a nation.
What I keep hoping to hear from this administration is any sort of sentiment that indicates an awareness of the concerns facing Americans across the board and not just the ones most likely to vote for you in November.
We’re not asking for much – just that you two would do what the American people elected you to do. Lead.