In November of 2016, my middle daughter, Rosabel, was able to vote for the very first time in our presidential election.I remember being so excited for her because, as many of us assumed, we were about to elect our first woman president. We were also painfully aware of the alternative a brash, arrogant narcissist; an accused sexual predator who had bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy”. There was no way this guy was going to win. But win he did, and worse than knowing we would have to endure his toxic rhetoric and ego driven lies for the next 4 years, was the utter disbelief and disappointment my daughter experienced that day.She sobbed on the phone to me all night and the next day wondering how, HOW this could have happened. I wanted to be able to answer her, to be her protective mother and explain it all and let her know that everything was going to be okay, but I couldn’t.
In the 10 months since Donald J. Trump took office we have watched his administration vilify the press, women’s rights became more trepidatious than it was in the 50’s and threaten to take healthcare away from millions of Americans. Our “Commander in Chief” has reduced the office of the president to petty attacks on gold star families, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community. He has pulled America out of the Paris Accord and undone years of environmental policy. Not to mention teaching our children to bully by 140 characters or less. Our diplomacy and reputation as the greatest country in the world is in the hands and at the whims of a madman who survives only by his ego being fed like a ravenous animal.
I have always been politically minded and felt very comfortable expressing my views to my family and friends from the privacy of my own home and for the first few months of 2017 I have tried to stay there, safe with my head in the sand, thinking Democrats will surely fix this. The Democrats HAVE to fix this. But now, by October, It feels hopeless here in our beautiful America.THE LAND OF THE FREE HOME OF THE BRAVE!?? But we aren’t free and the people who should be brave are not. Our basic freedoms are under attack. Who are we supposed to turn to, to speak for us and lead us? Like many Americans,I feel adrift, roaring down a rapid river without a paddle, facing a huge waterfall and too afraid to swim.
For that reason I turned to Twitter, to listen and learn and find my way through this darkness. So I can find a way to answer my daughters questions, bring her some light and quell some of my own fears. What I found is so much divisiveness and anger and so many blatant lies that I felt crazy; like having to defend that the blue sky really is BLUE!!!
I took to speaking to anyone anywhere about their thoughts as to why the Democrats lost and how we can move forward. Who can we turn to? The answer I kept getting was so frustrating and redundant. The Democrats are such a mess, dislocated as a party and no leadership to look to. Now as depressed as my daughter was in November I was feeling even worse. No leadership??? With everything that’s going on we cant find leadership? There are flag bearing Neo-Nazis hitting the streets with tiki torches and Trump is calling them “some very nice people”!! A year ago the LGBTQ community were seeing support and equality from their government, with Gay marriage being legalized at the federal level. In less than a year they are watching it all disappear and worse! Over a month after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, an American territory, has almost no clean water or power and our president thinks throwing paper towels at these suffering people is “fun”!! What do you mean we can’t find leadership??
Now please understand as I write this I am a registered Democrat, but I have seen some brave moments coming from both sides of the aisle. Senators Collins and Murkowski not being intimidated by the Presidents threats against them if they didn’t vote with him on the ACA repeal as well as Senator John McCain with the most impressive thumbs down since the colosseum. Those brave moments helped save the ACA. As well as many Democrats speaking up and out against what they are seeing happening to our beloved country Thats all great but I ask you again… WHERE IS THE LEADERSHIP??? Who can we turn to?? Why can’t the Democrats pull it together, hear the concerns of the people and realize that party lines don’t work anymore? We have grown as a nation and our strict adherence to party lines have blurred over the years. Even with a mixed bag of factions - the Tea Party, neo-conservatives, as well as moderates- the GOP in all their fractures were still were able to put this mentally unfit dictator into office.
The one positive thing that has happened since January is the people have come out of their comfortable homes, pulled their heads out of the sand and started to speak out. Remember when Americans protested our involvement in the Vietnam war? It became a common goal of the people, from 1964-1973, to make their voices heard. They marched on Washington, had sit ins and focused the strength and determination of the people to make the government hear their cry. How many marches have we had for how many things since January??? How many protests and marches must we organize and join before someone stands up to lead us?
If we want things to change then WE THE PEOPLE have to make it change. Who can we turn to?? We turn to ourselves, the ones who want a safe place to raise our children and not live in fear of the giant child in the White House about to start World War 3 over Twitter. We the people stopped the ACA repeal because we called our elected officials in droves to make our feelings not only clear but adamant. We have the power, we have used the power and it’s time to be a powerful people again.
The midterm elections are coming up and there has never been a more important time to vote than right now!! Donald Trump is tweeting about the life expectancy of our two women Supreme Court Justices ( do I even need to mention that one is Jewish and the other is Latino?). These are the people who make sure we are upholding our constitution and it only works if there is EQUAL interaction between them. They get appointed for life!! We cannot let it be controlled by a right wing nationalist who speaks for a minority of this country. The time is now to speak out for what you not only believe in but for the future America you want for your children. Look at your local government and find your new heroes. Then share them with everyone. I live in Los Angeles and I am a big fan of our Mayor Eric Garcetti. He is our first elected Jewish mayor with a Catholic father and a strong Mexican heritage. He was raised partly in Mexico and speaks fluent Spanish. I have heard him speak and I like his inclusiveness and what he has to say. I offer you to look him up, listen to him. He inspires hope in me and maybe he can do the same for you. I also admire Senator Cory Booker in New Jersey. This is a man who has tenure in government and has shown, as a councilman in Newark N.J. his deep care and affection for the people of his city who were in the most need. These are two of my potential heroes. Now you do the same for the people in government you believe in. Share your heroes, let us all know who they are. Look at what’s happening in Alabama!! Doug Jones, a DEMOCRAT, is neck and redneck in the race for the senate seat against Roy Moore. This is Alabama we are talking about. This can happen, This previously unthinkable thing can happen!!! The unthinkable disappointment of Donald Trump becoming president can be replaced with this beacon of light, a call to arms.
Let’s WE THE PEOPLE start using our voices to make a change, to start a constructive conversation. Because, I don't know about the rest of you but I’m tired of waiting to be rescued. I’m tired of not having an answer for my daughters when they wonder and fear about what their future will look like, as Jewish American women, in the years to come. We need to find our heroes and use our strength in numbers to unify the Democrats. We need to be a force to be reckoned with in 2018 and in 2020. For too many of us this is a life or death situation. America can be united again but it is up to us. Register to vote if you haven't already. Go out and make your voices heard. Be proud of the hand you had in re-charting the course of our country towards what it was meant to be. “THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE”,” WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL”. Let’s make this the America we can all be proud of again.
Contributing Editor: RENA SOFER
Rena started her acting career after being “discovered” on the streets of Greenwich Village, New York when she was 15 years old. Since then she has worked actively in both television and film. Her career started in the Soaps on Another World and as “Rocky McKenzie” on Loving. While still living in NYC she was cast by Sidney Lumet in A Stranger Among Us. After moving out to Los Angeles she Joined General Hospital as “Lois Cerullo”, a role that garnered Sofer a daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1995.
Rena went on to join the casts of NCIS, Ed, 24, Just Shoot Me, Melrose Place and Heroes. She has also guest starred on Once Upon A Time as “Queen Eva” and on Seinfeld, Ellen, Two and a Half Men, Covert Affairs and many more. Currently she appears on The Bold and the Beautiful as “Quinn Fuller”.
Rena Lives in Los Angeles with her daughters and their beloved rescue dogs.