Catching Lightning in a Bottle!
By: Suresh M.
As a so-called model minority, we Desis have had a precarious position in American society. Although we contribute a lot to its economic engine, we face the “evil eye” during economic downturns. And even though I have been in the US for more than 40 years, to this day I still get mistaken to be a foreigner– even at Democratic political events. Correcting such assumptions, especially by just speaking with no accent, has been mildly entertaining at times, but in the years since Trump took office, that sense of being considered an outsider has taken on a much more ominous tone, especially outside progressive areas of the country. That is why we cannot remain spectators as others fight to preserve American democracy and social justice. We Desis must show up in larger numbers to stand with other communities against radical Republicanism, which is a clear and present danger to the American ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all people. America is our home and we cannot allow it to become hostile to our future generations. As the saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” I joined They See Blue to cultivate this sense of altruistic, civic responsibility within our Desi community, so that we may demonstrate that we care about and are an integral part of the American fabric.
It can be a bit lonely being a Desi Democratic activist. It does help to be part of They See Blue for that reason alone! I am inspired and energized by others in They See Blue to get outside my comfort zone a bit to fight the good fight. Plenty of Desis are angry at the Trump administration but don’t feel they have “what it takes” to get involved. However, what it takes can be as simple as consistently and persistently spreading the word about They See Blue and passing along our message, because it may eventually reach someone who will be inspired to take even greater action.
Person-to-person messaging is a major strategy for They See Blue. I have been doing it in family and social settings. But one occasion really stands out. Last year, I made the effort to go to a Democratic debate watch party with the singular goal of finding Desi Democrats; it took me 1.5 hour to get there during rush hour traffic in the SF Bay Area (and another hour to get home). But what resulted was well worth me making that and other similar efforts. I found another Desi who had similarly made an effort to attend the event, and I was able to give my “elevator pitch” to her about They See Blue. She was very politically motivated already and knew others in Georgia who she thought would be interested in even forming a chapter. She helped to organize a conference call with her fellow activists in the Atlanta area, and in just two months TSB-Georgia was formed and well on its way to becoming a thriving chapter! They See Blue provided an ongoing identity and branding that the community of Desi Democrats in Georgia needed. And while all the credit goes to them for their achievements, it felt good to have played a part in sparking that effort.
I like to think of the TSB-GA outcome as “catching lightning in a bottle!” However, even incremental achievements add up over time. We need both outcomes. So, I am hoping my story will inspire others to do the little things in They See Blue that will add up to the big victory to save America’s soul in November.