Goodbye, whiteboards. Hello, Representative Kim.

My message to our new representative

For the past four years, our Congressional representative has been the awesome Katie Porter. But thanks to redistricting, we now have Republican Young Kim, who was reelected to another term. Fine. Not my choice, but fine.

She is considered politically centrist, and she has been recognized for her bipartisanship. She voted to certify Joe Biden’s presidential election and to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments. However, she votes with her party on their awful positions on LGBTQ+ rights, women’s reproductive care, and any financial support for average Americans. But the fact she is a Republican in the House brings the rabid Trump-worshipping fringes of her party closer to destroying our democracy. I know people tire of the comparisons with what happened in a certain central European country 90 years ago, but we cannot ignore the parallels. Conservatives back then thought they could keep those violent extremists in check, or they would moderate themselves if they got into power. We all know what happened.

My first message to Representative Kim is that I don’t want to be unsafe in my own country. Most Americans feel the same way. That’s why we voted against election deniers and White Christian nationalists, even though a number of them got through. It’s also why your party didn’t get that “red tsunami” you expected. We need a healthy conservative party. But there is nothing conservative about tearing down the separation of church and state, stripping people of their basic human rights, disenfranchising voters, destroying public education, strangling working and middle-class families to benefit billionaires, and robbing us of the Social Security and Medicare we paid into our entire working lives.

My second is that we expect both parties to work together for the benefit of all Americans. We turned Congress into a domed “get-along shirt” where no one party dominates and compromises must be made to get work done. This is no time for scorched-earth politics and score-settling investigations. (And no, the January 6 Committee isn’t one of those. It’s to investigate the people who wanted to kill you, your fellow Congress members, and your vice president. Those are people we want to hold accountable and prevent such an attack from happening again, right?)

We face a lot of problems as a country. We are still recovering from the pandemic. We have high inflation and a sagging economy. We face threats both inside and outside of our borders. And if our government can’t address these problems, people will turn to extreme and violent demagogues who claim they can. While it’s convenient to point fingers at Trump, there are many others like him lurking in the wings.

My main message to Representative Kim and all members of Congress: Do your jobs. Put the needs of your constituents and the country above the demands of your party and lobbyists. Remember the separation of church and state, and no one religion should impose their views of morality on the rest of society. Defend our values of democracy, the rule of law, equal opportunity, freedom of expression, and human rights.

Do this, Representative Kim, and I may vote for you in 2024. Unless Katie Porter runs against you, because she’s awesome.