Why I decided to donate my savings to political causes this year
I still remember seeing the genuine terror on Veda, my 9-year-old daughter’s face when she said, “Oh my God, we are all going to die!” when I woke her and Varoon up on November 9th, 2016, and informed them the news. Varoon, who was 12-years-old at that time, and I talked about politics like any patriotic family would. We were convinced that we were about to start a new era with the first female President of The United States when people started going to polls on November 8th. Like most Americans, I woke up to the shock of Donald J. Trump’s victory. I was consumed with what the next four years would entail — I had wild nightmares that he would start nuclear wars, imprison Muslims, torture Hispanics, destroy planet earth and make life miserable to everyone, everywhere, worldwide. As any parent would — I was concerned for the safety and well-being of my two growing children.
I was scornful at the voters who were not excited enough about Hillary and decided not to vote that year. I was incensed by voters who took her victory for granted and did not bother to vote. I was mad at myself for not doing more to understand the hatred that resulted in so many patriotic, empathetic, and compassionate Americans voting for him and falling for his deceit.
I wished Hillary campaigned more, I wished more people took Trump seriously, I craved for a do-over, and this lament and agony went on for weeks. I even blamed myself for not doing enough to help out Hillary; I wished I made phone calls for her, I wanted another chance to knock on doors for our local candidates, I envied for one more opportunity to make this right.
Despite all of these fears, I was hoping dearly that I was wrong. I love the country that I made a home for the last two decades. I have so many great memories of faculty members helping me at The University of Illinois at Chicago or the new friends I made over the years working with educational institutions on their administrative and learning infrastructure. I wanted to believe that all the bluster and fear-mongering that Trump displayed on the campaign trail was just for show. I was hopeful that Trump would come to respect the office of the President of The United States and build a good team around him. I was even optimistic that the patriotic leaders he chose for his Cabinet would coach him on the right values and morals and legal strategies. I was also convinced that the checks and balances between legislative and executive branches would protect us against his worst impulses.
Trump’s Presidency started in January 2017, and unfortunately, it was precisely how he marketed it. He replaced Obama’s compassion with Trumpian anger. Instead of thoughtful, deliberate, and diligent policymaking consistent with the Office of The President, Trump legislates through impulsive tweets. He tries to distract our attention from one self-made crisis by creating a bigger fire to distract our attention. These fires and tweetstorms become so frequent that people eventually decided to ignore his temper tantrums altogether.
When rioters in Charlottesville came out with KKK and Nazi symbols, hate, and propaganda and killed an innocent civilian, he proclaimed, “there were good people on both sides.” Instead of unifying the country, he divided it across racial, economic, and geopolitical terrains. Over the last four years, the government has seen more defections of cabinet members, more negative books about the President, more chaos, more unprecedented bluster, and unbearable daily chaos coming straight from the “chopper talks”, press conferences, and tweets of The President of The United States.
Thanks to many brave men and women that worked on his Cabinet, his worst impulses to start a nuclear war with North Korea have been thwarted. Thanks to the federalist system and the local courts, his xenophobic “Muslim Ban” has been stopped. Trump and his evil confidants in the Whitehouse, like Stephen Miller, had many sinister ideas over the last four years. Still, most of them have been stopped at their heels either by patriotic Americans, or moral insiders, or constitution abiding judges. The most significant deterrent to Trump’s worst impulses frankly was Trump himself. Over the last four years, he always undermined his position with conflicting messages, lack of message discipline, an absolute lack of focus, and a complete disinterest in learning about the issue he is trying to solve. This lack of attention has frankly protected us from his worst impulses on halting immigration, building the wall, NAFTA renegotiation, and ACA repeal. He was so focused on destroying things that he never invested the energy and time to build the structures that will take their place after this planned demolition.
Over the last four years, it has become apparent that he is an arsonist. He likes to set things on fire and direct peoples’ attention to the fires and blame others for such. The Black Lives Matter Protests is a classic example of such arsonist predilection; the protests are a direct result of his administration’s inaction on police brutality. In his sinister attempts to turn this into “us vs. them,” Trump saw this as an opportunity to turn suburban voters against African Americans and innocent protestors standing up to these atrocities. He uses code words like rioters, anarchists to chastise peaceful protestors, and calls for his supporters to become militants and carry guns. Underneath this heinous and cynical effort to split Americans against each other, and use this to win his reelection, he firmly believes that Americans are just naive and can fall for his propaganda and lies. Unlike Trump, Biden thinks America has a soul, and this soul yearns for an executive with compassion, empathy, and competence. This is why we see such a difference in approach between Biden and Trump every time an innocent African American, police officer, or any other American is killed. Biden shows compassion for All Americans; Trump acts as he cares only about his constituents.
The bully pulpit image of the President afforded him the public trust during the initial days of his Presidency. Still, even the most naive and uninformed public can connect the dots between arson and the arsonist in chief.
During one of my many conversations with Varoon and Veda (who are now 16 and 13) at our dinner tables, we joked that the biggest reason why our worst predictions about Trump’s Presidency have not come to fruition is his incompetence. He is so used to making stuff up that he does not put any actual effort to learn facts. He is used to blaming others for his failures, that he never cares about his own commitments to success. He is so desperate for sycophantic praise that he surrounds himself with incompetent jesters. This spineless and morally bankrupt staff will agree to whatever thick-witted ideas he proposes, only to realize that these ideas are either not actionable, unconstitutional, or illegal — sometimes his thoughts hit the “evil trifecta.” If one wants more evidence, they can check his latest Executive Order on calling some states “anarchist jurisdictions” and threatening to halt federal funding. This Executive Order was so empty and laughable that even his obsequious Attorney General did not bother to act on it.
Trump’s incompetence and lack of focus were a saving grace for the nation against his worst impulses until COVID19 hit our country in late December 2019. COVID19 is different when compared to other self-made arsons started by Trump. This is a real pandemic that was destroying world economies and needed concrete action by the executive branch of each country. This pandemic required attention to detail, unwavering focus, respect for science, and message discipline within all departments of the executive branch. Unfortunately, it does not take much research to figure out that the current occupant in the White House lacks the skills needed to lead us through a crisis of any magnitude. At the minimum, we were hopeful that he would listen to his scientists and act on their recommendations. Over the last 12 months, it has been evident that Trump openly ignored the advice of his Intelligence team, openly contradicted his health care specialists from NIH, CDC, and HHS. Worse, he started spreading rumors on masks, hydroxychloroquine and even resorted to selling doomed conspiracy theories by questionable elements on the dark web.
All these distractions and political charades had a real and catastrophic impact on the day-to-day lives of an average American citizen. The US, with about 4.25% of the world population, now has over 27% of coronavirus cases of the world, and one in every third person that dies of COVID19 is from our great nation. The country with the best health care infrastructure and the most innovative minds of the world is ranked 8th highest in the number of deaths per 100,000 population. All of this could have been prevented with a simple nationwide mask mandate, but Trump refuses to enforce such a mandate. Instead, he openly mocks people who wear masks. All sporting events, including the Olympics, have been canceled, yet Trump conducts massive rallies exposing his supporters to this scourge of a disease. He not only lacks discipline, focus, and competence, but he lacks the essential ingredient needed to be a good human — empathy. He lacks empathy for people suffering from this disease; he lacks sympathy for their families; he lacks compassion for people who lost their jobs. This lack of human emotions makes Trump the worst President of the United States in modern history.
I started saving up for Varoon’s college earlier this year by setting aside a fixed amount per month. As I reflected on all my “woulda, coulda, shoulda” for 2016, I decided to do these wrongs right in 2020. I explained to Varoon that our future depends on supporting Biden’s Presidential ticket. We know that Biden is competent, focused, and disciplined. Most importantly, Biden is compassionate and empathetic to the suffering of every American. We need a chief executive that can understand the pain of every American, regardless of their party affiliation, immigration status, the color of their skin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We know that while Trump cares only about republicans in red states or swing states, Biden cares about all Americans, and that’s what we need in the Executive branch of our government. I broke it to my kids’ at our dinner table: I would have to use all the college savings to support Biden’s campaign. They agreed wholeheartedly. Varoon was already making his contributions in this direction through his engaging, informative, and entertaining Polititeen podcast (https://www.polititeenpodcast.com/). Varoon reiterated that his future as a proud American citizen depends on our ability to stay reputable in the world. According to Varoon, Trump’s policies on climate change have only made America an outlier in the global community.
I cannot change the past, but I can change the future. I am investing in local state house candidates that represent my county and neighboring counties, in hopes that these efforts to donate to Joe Biden’s Victory Fund. I am supporting senators in critical swing states by donating to DSCC. We are involved with campaigns to the best of our abilities, and willing to help down-ballot races to make the needed difference. I even created a couple of TikTok videos to express my frustration, only to see the anger and ire firsthand on both sides.
I am convinced that if every patriotic American casts their ballot, we will wake up on November 4th, 2020, with a new feeling of “Serenity.” I call upon every one of you to take nothing for granted and vote like your life, and the well-being of your family depends on your vote. If the last four years have taught us anything, “we all have a whole lot to lose” if this Trump gets reelected this November. If you have financial flexibility, I request you to donate whatever you can to the Biden Campaign.
Here’s to hoping for a better future instead of living in constant chaos for the next four years.