I'm not going to lie, I like to argue. And you know what? I'm good at it. I take on Donald Trump and his terrible policies for a living, and I'm not afraid to go head-to-head with any of his minions. And do you know why I'm not scared? I worked in the Obama White House. I spent years of my life crafting policies that protected the most vulnerable Americans. Every man, woman, and child in this country should have a shot at the American dream, and I'll be damned if I let anyone convince me otherwise.
One year ago, I was terrified. Donald Trump was our president-elect, and America was looking down the barrel of uncertainty, instability, and terror. As a black LGBTQ immigrant woman, I live each day at the intersection of everything Trump and his followers hate.
More than anything, I was scared for my three-year-old daughter. As a former Obama White House official, it horrified me that the first memories my daughter would associate with the presidency would be of an un-popularly elected man who used the highest office in the land not to lift people up, as President Obama tried to do, but to actively denigrate both individuals and entire groups of people. I hoped she'd be too young to remember whatever horrific "accomplishments" Trump would push through.
When I watched Trump's inauguration speech, my deepest-held fears were confirmed. His address made clear he was not fit for this office that I, and this entire country, hold so dear.
But then, the next day, I witnessed something miraculous: Nearly half a million women and allies descended upon Washington, D.C., staging the largest-ever protest in American history. In more than 600 cities across the country, sister marches joined the protest, their voices of equality and resilience ringing far louder than Trump's misogynistic ramblings ever could. In that moment, I became a little less scared. And in the months since, watching similar movements of hope and power sprout across moments and places, I've become less and less scared.
I became a little less scared when, within days of taking office, Trump tried to ban an entire religion from entering the country and organic mass protests converged at airports — buoyed only by those whose belief in dignity for all drove them to action. I became a little less scared when Trump and his Republican friends in Congress tried to strip away affordable health care for millions of Americans and people — everyday people who had never attended a protest before — showed up at district offices, added their representatives' phone numbers to their speed dials, and raised hell like I've never seen hell raised before.
When I saw the idea of resistance turn into a full-fledged movement, I became a little less scared.
This is a movement like we've never seen. And I'm here to tell you: We're not done yet. We, the resistance, spent 2017 finding out who we are and what we're capable of. In 2018, we must resist like we've never resisted.
Because 2018 is the year we have a real shot of taking back the country. In 2017, the resistance was electoralized, from the hills of New Jersey to the mountains of Virginia to the rivers of Alabama. In 2018, we have the chance to take back the House and the Senate, and to stop Trump at every turn.
And we must take advantage — there's a lot of unfinished business left to do.
Squashing The Travel Ban
For one, we must contend with an unconstitutional travel ban (which recently took effect after multiple legal challenges). It's a thinly veiled attempt at codifying Islamophobia to excite Trump's small, white base. We cannot forget why we drove to the airport straight from work immediately upon learning of the ban.
We must continue, even though it's been nearly a year, to stand up for the rights of those who are persecuted because of their faith and beliefs — the very ideals on which this country was founded not all that many years ago.
Giving Hope To Dreamers
While we're considering our country's history and those at the frontlines of Trump's war against American values, we must remember the thousands of Dreamers at risk of deportation because of Trump's decision to end the DACA program. Every day, the status of thousands more Dreamers living in the United States — their academic status, work status, and familial status — becomes threatened because of Trump's decision. Dreamers can't afford to wait, and neither should we.
We must demand that Congress, in the wake of Trump's hateful, unnecessary decision, pass the Dream Act not tomorrow or next week or next year, but today.
Saving Obamacare — Again
And though we won the fight for health care, Republicans will do anything they can to get rid of the ACA in 2018. Already, Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the GOP tax plan — which Congress passed this week, and will repeal the individual mandate and add trillions to the deficit over a 10-year span — will include drastic cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.
This tax bill is simply an ACA repeal bill by another name. We didn't let Republicans get away with their attempts to steal health care from millions this year, and we can't let them next year either.
And while we're on the topic of stealing: We must never lose sight of the fact that Trump, with Russia and Vladimir Putin's help, meddled in this election, and this country's future. We can never forget that every act Trump takes, every Supreme Court justice he nominates, and every national park he un-grants, may be stolen. That's why, even though Trump will try to distract us with policy announcements on Twitter, in 2018 we'll need to have a renewed concentration on investigations into election meddling from Russia.
These are some of the fights we must win in 2018. This is by no means an exhaustive list — and next year will certainly be exhausting. We have no choice. These are the battles we must continue to fight, should we wish to remain the bastion of freedom and equality our forefathers envisioned.
In 2017, we found out what the resistance was. In 2018, we will take back our country.
Editor's Note: This op-ed does not reflect the views of BDG Media and is part of a larger, feminist discourse on today's political climate.