As I sit here writing between Zoom meetings, my two oldest kids are in virtual math and acting class respectively, and my 15-month-old (who has spent half of his life in quarantine and extreme social distancing) is napping next to me.
As parents and caregivers know, we’re juggling a lot right now—from work to virtual or hybrid learning to potty training to our kids’ nightmares to tough, important conversations about the world with even our young children. For essential workers who aren’t able to work from home or for people who have lost their jobs, it’s downright impossible.
So while I’m grateful that my family is safe and healthy, I’m also incredibly angry at the ongoing callous ineptitude of the current Trump administration to make sure that every family is safe and healthy. Because it didn’t have to be this way. Not if we had acted in January. Or March. Or May. Or anytime, really. But President Trump didn’t—and still doesn’t—have a plan to get this virus under control, to save lives and protect livelihoods.
When faced with the threat of covid-19, President Trump knowingly and willingly lied to us, and lied repeatedly, allowing the virus to ravage our communities and steal our loved ones from us. His lack of urgency, empathy, and human decency is being felt everywhere in America. And rather than put forward a plan to provide some relief, he’s blithely waving a white flag in defeat.
And it’s women—especially Black, Brown, and Indigenous women—who are bearing the brunt of both the pandemic and the economic fallout from the administration’s failure to effectively respond to the virus. Just last month, 865,000 women left the workforce. That’s three times the number of men who did the same.
Women covered most of the childcare and household duties before covid-19 hit, and President Trump’s failure to help childcare centers and schools safely reopen is amplifying these responsibilities and preventing many parents—mostly mothers—from returning to work. The pandemic is threatening to wipe out decades of economic progress women have made.
Again—it didn’t have to be this way.
The past four years under Donald Trump’s leadership have been hard on women and families. But his incompetence and cruelty in 2020 have left many at a breaking point. Moms especially.
But we are strong, we can get through this, and we can demand a better future for ourselves and our families. That starts with steady leadership that is honest with us about the challenges we face and leaders who believe in public health, in science, in human rights, in civil rights, and in voting rights, and who have a plan to save lives and livelihoods.
And honesty, compassion, and strength are what define Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The Biden-Harris ticket is prepared with real plans to lead our country forward toward a more perfect union as we’ve been called to do since our country’s beginning and only at times have actually done. Joe and Kamala are empathetic, smart, and science- and evidence-driven, and they care about us—all of us. Their agenda will not only get us through this crisis, but it commits to build back better for women and our families.
Yes, they have a plan to contain covid-19 and safely reopen our workplaces and schools. But they don’t want to just go back to what it was like before. They want a better future for families. They have comprehensive plans to protect and improve access to health care, to address the caregiving crisis so families have access to affordable, reliable care for children and aging parents, and to strengthen the economic security of families and tackle our many indefensible inequalities. They can and they will bring the country together, and lead us out of this darkness together—united in the belief that our brightest days are within reach.
As a mom and as a citizen, I often think about the future my children and our next generation will live in. How do we ensure that it will be healthier, safer, more equitable and just? In other words, radically different from where we are today.
Right now that means casting our ballots for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In doing so, we’re voting for leaders who believe that we deserve to live in a country—and our kids deserve to grow up in a country—where every human being has dignity and value and is treated as such, in school, in work, in stores, on streets. A country that has policies that reflect these values because we have leaders who get up every day with that belief in their hearts and go to bed every night feeling the weight of that responsibility.
If you agree, vote for a different, better future for our children and our world. We can only get there if we show up to the polls. Please visit iwillvote.com to make your plan—and please make sure everyone in your life—friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues—has their plan too. And please remember to wear a mask.
Chelsea Clinton is an advocate, author, teacher, and vice chair of the Clinton Foundation.