This morning I woke her up with this picture of Danica Roem, newly elected Virginia state legislator and transwoman. Also the news that a gay woman had been elected to be her city's mayor. Also the news that Democrats of color, like her, had been voted into office all over the country. She was thrilled. She also wondered whether Danica Roem's mother was more gentle than hers with her long hair, tangles being a political scourge this country has yet to come to terms with. (This is why nine-year-olds can't vote.)
I was able to implicitly and effortlessly and crystal-clearly make two points to my daughter this morning. One, for the first time in a year, was this: the world may not yet be ending; people may yet be loving and smart and broadminded and fair; all is not lost; good is still coming. And two: transgender people can be anything; transwomen can win; you too can and will and must go forth and make the world a better place.
A lot of people on our side have been bemoaning this year what's loosely termed identity politics. A lot have said it's distracting or it's not time or it's divisive. And that's bullshit. Identity politics is politics. (Like the personal is political. Remember when that one was revelatory?) When one's identity is politicized, that identity becomes political. And when one's identity is politicized, representing in all arenas, including politics, could not be more important. Danica Roem stood up for diversity and inclusion and celebrated differences and level playing fields and, yes, transgender people in the face of an incumbent who was literally running on the identity of being a homophobe (his word). And she won. And so did my daughter. And so did I. And so did all of us. All of you. Everyone in the world. (Even the homophobes.)
There's no point in winning if we're not doing identity politics. And maybe not every time, but eventually, diverse, inclusive, celebratory identity politics won't just be the path of righteousness, it will also be the path to victory.