You're listening to Comedy Central now. Representative Gypo, welcome to The Daily Social Distancing Show. Thank you, it's so great to be with you.
You have a new book entitled Use the Power. You have a Brown Woman's Guide to Politics and Political Change. What are some of the tips and tricks that you would teach a woman who wants to get into politics who has melanin in her skin? Yes.
Well, you know, Congress does not look a lot like me. There are only seventy nine women of color out of eleven thousand that have ever served in the US House of Representatives. And so it is different. We have to assert our voice. We have to use our power and we have to be ready for all the sexism and racism that we face when we walk into those halls. Not super different than other places we might have been in some ways, but you would think that the House of Representatives, the people's House, should be different and it's not yet.
So this is saying to women of color everywhere, frankly, women in general, that when you come in know that you have power. Don't let somebody else intimidate you. They're most probably intimidated by you and claim your space, but also be ready to do the work, be ready because you will be subjected to far more than most of your colleagues.
You have an interesting journey in that you came to the US at 16 to study.
18 years later, you became a US citizen and you're now serving representing American citizens and non American citizens alike. Do you feel like there's a conflict of interest as an immigrant or as a US citizen, or do you think that that's a fallacy that people have created?
Yeah, it's very much of a fallacy. I mean, I think it's funny because 16 and and now 40 years later, almost I'm not quite not quite at 40, but I am now in the United States of America. This is my home. Where am I supposed to go back to? So this idea that somehow you're never going to be American enough is ridiculous. And I think it's important that for those of us, there are 14 of us that are immigrants born outside of the United States, naturalized serving in Congress today.
This is also an important part of the story of America.
When you think about this country and and the conversations that are being have now, I feel a lot of the time it's easy for people to say, oh, the problem is on the Republican side, you know, that's where we're seeing sexism. That's where we're seeing racism. But we come to learn time and time again that sexism, racism, a lot of the problems that we're facing in society aren't really party dependent. How do you broach the topic with your colleagues who you feel like have blind spots when it comes to race or when it comes to gender or when it comes to immigration?
Yeah, I talk about this in the book. I do think we have to call it out within our own party. The way I approach it is if it's with a colleague, I will talk to them directly. If something happens and I will try to raise it. I will tell you that after the murder of George Floyd, there was some very powerful caucus calls where I think many of our white colleagues in the caucus really had their own awakening. And we talked about white fragility and we talked about some of the other concepts that it is really important for people across party lines to recognize what they have done to further the narratives of racist policy.
And I think that that's just something that is coming to light over and over again. We see it very clearly sometimes. Our colleagues don't. So when they're on our side, obviously, you you try to raise it in the best way possible. But sometimes you do have to take it on publicly and you do have to call out those racist policies when you see them.
You have been pro Bernie. You have been one of the people pushing the party predominantly to the left. And now Joe Biden, as you've commented on in the past, as someone where people aren't enthusiastically wanting to vote for but will vote for because Donald Trump is the alternative going into the election, how are you going to balance that message of saying to people, yes, Joe Biden is not as progressive as we wanted, but you've got to go out and vote for him.
Do you think you think that balance is something that you can achieve? Absolutely.
I don't think there's any contradiction whatsoever. We have two candidates on the ballot. One is Donald Trump. One is Joe Biden. There is zero progress that is possible on anything that we care about with Donald Trump in the White House. He is a fascist xenophobe who is destroying our Constitution. And so we have to get him out. And this is a critically important election. And so, as I said to Vice President Biden, I will be right there with him.
I will be doing everything I can to support and get everyone to turn out for Joe Biden. And I will be pushing him. I will as soon as we get him in the White House. And even before with these task forces that we had, we were able to significantly push Joe Biden to do things that he hadn't signed on to before. So he is movable. He is listening. And he does understand that we need turnout from young people, from folks of color.
And I'm going to do everything I can to help get them elected. And then I'm going to be right out front making sure that we continue to push for. The policies that we need as a country, when you when you look at where America is headed right now, that there are two things that are pressing for most people. From what I see, no one is, will the government find a way to continue the stimulus checks? But I would love to know as somebody who's serving in Congress firstly.
Is is there any progress that you are seeing in getting people the checks that they so badly need to to to survive? And secondly, what are you what are some of the conversations you are having in protecting and preserving America's election, which might not be an election day anymore? Might be an election week, might be an election month, depending on how long it takes to count mail in ballots on the relief we have to Trevor.
I mean, this is just cruelty. My constituents, some of them are facing being kicked out of their homes. They don't have money to put food on the table. They don't know what to do with their kids. They're being pushed to go back to work or to open up schools. And this president is pulling PR stunts with some executive orders that do absolutely nothing. So where is the pressure for this? It's going to come from the people, particularly in those Republican states where there's a senator up for reelection.
And that senator is going to say all of these people are not going to reelect me. This is the power of the vote. And we need to have the cacophony of voices across the country saying this is what's happening to me. Cruelty, three and a half million cases just in the last 12 weeks. One hundred and sixty three thousand deaths of Americans. It is absolute lunacy that this president and the Republicans have refused to bargain. So that's where the leverage is going to come.
People's voices and stories on the second point, this is very important. This president is trying to undermine the election in numerous ways. He is refusing to give money to the US Postal Service. And if he doesn't do that, then the Postal Service can't deliver the ballot. He's refusing to put money into states so that those states that don't have mail in voting can move to whatever they need to do. Now, we in Washington State do. It's been incredibly successful.
And I think that the the claim that the fraud rate is high is ridiculous. There was a study done that over two hundred and forty million ballots that were cast over the last 20 years. The fraud rate is zero point zero zero zero zero six percent. So we have to make sure that we are getting money into these systems. But there's something else for everybody that's listening. Vote early as soon as you can vote, get your vote in, get your ballot in, because this is going to be critical.
They will try to stop ballots from being delivered. They will try all kinds of things. Last thing, what do we do if the president tries to retain power? We have we're talking with top constitutional scholars and we're really going through all the different ways in which this could happen. It will take people in the streets if this happens. And then, of course, all the court challenges that will be there. But at the end of the day, it's going to be about whether Republicans are going to stand up for this president even as he takes the country into fascism and dictatorship.
Well, that's a bleak future, and I hope we never have to answer any of those questions. Thank you so much for joining us on the show. Thank you, Trevor.
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