The social mission is at home.
Or at least it is if you are a citizen of the United States right now. Our house is not in order.
Your voice, my voice, all of our voices are needed urgently. We need to show up, speak up, be heard, and we need to listen.
We need consistent, persistent presence across all lines. We need unwavering dedication and determination. We need to be focused on the mission and be clear about what that mission is.
First, let’s identify the mission.
I’m an American patriot. Not the gun-carrying, flag-flying kind of patriot (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not me). I’m the kind of patriot who believes in the American dream: the dream of democracy and equality, equal rights and equal representation, religious freedom, equality beyond sex, gender, ethnicity, creed, race, class, education level—anything.
I believe in the American work ethic, in the vibrant heart of American entrepreneurialism, in bravery, courage, and the undaunted spirit of adventure. I believe that our social fabric is framed by a moral and ethical conscience that is constantly evolving but stable and good to the core. If you’re an American citizen, ask yourself: “What do I stand for? What does my country mean to me?” Answering those questions is vital to the success of the United States of America.
Second, I’m mad, disappointed, outraged, disillusioned, sad, and devastated by the current state of affairs in the U.S.
The last time a president was elected without winning the popular vote, my faith in the American dream cracked. In November 2000, I thought the headlines of all the newspapers should have read, “Gore wins the popular vote, Bush should concede.”
It would have been the honorable thing to do. Or at least he could have tried to create a coalition government and asked Al Gore to be his vice president. None of that happened. Instead, Bush started a war in the Middle East that is still bearing fruits of suffering, pain, and misery nearly 20 years later.
I’ve spent more time out of the U.S. than inside for a good number of years. A lot changed for me: I met my husband, spent years in India, and lived like an ex-pat. My worldview grew. And then, I eventually returned home.
For the last eight years, I have been especially proud to be an American. The fact that Barack Obama was the president of the United States filled me hope that maybe if this country was ready to accept an African American man as a president, it would be ready for a woman, Latino, Asian American, or LGBT president one day.
His intelligence, grace, and emotional composure inspired me every day. But, Obama wasn’t perfect, and I blame the Democrats for not getting rid of the Electoral College when they were in power. I voted for Hillary Clinton. In my opinion, she won the election because she won the popular vote by nearly three million votes. For all her faults, I think she deserves to be the president just like Al Gore deserved to be the president before.
Now we have another president who was elected by the Electoral College (not the popular vote). Not only is this president a daily source of pain and disillusionment, but he is also threatening to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea as one of his latest media feeding frenzy announcements.
Let me be crystal clear about this: I do not want a war with North Korea. I do not support a preemptive strike. I also do not support unilateral military action initiated by a president who was not elected with a majority of the American electorate. A majority of the United States does not support a preemptive strike.
We must resist and protest until America becomes a true democracy.
The Electoral College can be argued to be many things, but one thing is for sure: it is not democratic. I’m not a constitutional scholar, so I’m not going to go into all the details. If you want to learn more about the electoral college watch this TedED video:
Then, ask yourself these two basic questions:
1. Do you believe that every vote counts?
2. Do you believe that every citizen’s voice should be heard?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you do not believe in the Electoral College. It’s that simple. It’s the greatest hypocrisy that America has exported democracy to developing nations around the world and has never fully embraced it for itself as a governing rule.
I am not a white male born into a wealthy family. Less than a hundred years ago, I would have been denied the right to vote.
I am the kind of half-breed who has never really been accepted by either culture—I’m not Caucasian and I’m not Japanese either. If I have to hear again that my intelligence or my flexibility in yoga is because of the “Asian gene” I may lose it. People ask me sometimes, “What are you?”—like if I’m some kind of mutant that isn’t exactly human. I share this to contextualize my own narrative and to claim my identity as American, born and bred.
I support the removal of the Confederate statues. It’s like looking up at your abuser and seeing that he’s still more valued and respected than you are. It sucks. Let’s get those things down.
I’m appalled and mortified that we, as a culture, have elected a man who lacks a basic sense of moral decency and whose actions betray the story of true American greatness. I’m even more upset that a large portion of our electorate seem to be blinded to the lasting damage his statements (or lack thereof) are doing to the fabric of our society, not to mention American integrity worldwide.
I cannot imagine another three and a half years with this man as the president. At the same time, I know hate isn’t the answer. But, maybe change is.
In an effort to affect change, I’d like to draw your attention to the larger structure that embodies racism, sexism, classism, and enslavement in an even grander way that the Confederate statues—the Electoral College. This institution is what delivered the presidency to two men who did not win the popular vote and what will preserve the imbalance of power toward the oppressors and the powerful.
Can we please tear down that statue too?
Sign this petition to remove the electoral college and turn American into a true democracy. Write to your state senators and representatives and tell them that this issue matters to you.
Author: Kino MacGregor
Image: Courtney Hedger / Unsplash
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy Editor: Emily Bartran
Social Editor: Leah Sugerman