Policies are more important than optics

Like most people around the world, I was carried on my screen last week anxiously awaiting the outcome of the US elections. My husband kept updating his news feed while we were doing our grocery store. When we got the “breaking news”, it felt like weight was being lifted off my shoulders, even though I didn’t live or travel to the US.

The polarization of American politics and the rise of populism in the United States over the past four years has undoubtedly influenced European politics. It feels as though almost every European country has their own “Trump” political persona / leadership style.

I cringe every time I think about the reality that 70 and more million people find Donald Trump’s leadership good enough to cast him their vote despite sowing such a split. I have to rationalize it by believing that people may identify with certain aspects of it that they see in themselves or want for themselves, for example the macho man approach, or its perceived success. However, it is sad to think that such shallow values ​​have been superseded by good principles.

Although not President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, they are necessarily the most ideal candidates most people find easy to overlook their flaws and in getting laid by the reality of Trump, the lesser of two evils is playing out.

Nevertheless, I personally feel more like I can trust the Biden / Harris duo because of the optics involved. I would suffocate my conscience if I didn’t say that it was nice to see a woman who came from an Indian mother and a Black father in one of the highest offices in the world; one that exerts so much influence.

It’s hard not to think about your own experiences and feelings as a mixed person when you look at Kamala. I remember feelings of unworthiness and a sense of never belonging even as I felt proud of her and for her. I’m wondering if her “daughter Dougla” experience was in any way similar to mine. My emotions allow me to ignore her prickly complexity and her track record as a harsh prosecutor especially towards black men for a minute.

Identity aside, there has also been a couch towards Biden. Where many would like to believe that his policies would not affect people of color, how could no-one relate to Biden and former President Barack Obama or find him adorable.

All these little transferable tactics used in politics are nothing new but in the digital age where everything is maximized ten times over, you have to constantly remind yourself that there is a danger in allowing them to swinging away from paying attention to policies that could very well affect people who look like you.