The Thought Leaders Issue: Padma Lakshmi

The Thought Leaders Issue: Padma Lakshmi

The Thought Leaders Issue: Padma Lakshmi

Top Chef host and author reflects on the country’s history, the political landscape, and the feeling of fatigue.

Top Chef host and author reflects on the country’s history, the political landscape, and the feeling of fatigue.

Photography: Inez & Vinoodh

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

V127’s Thought Leaders Issue is available for pre-order now.

“I’m voting because I’m tired of this administration only representing wealthy white men. I’m voting to be a part of our democratic process. Voting holds our elected officials accountable and also gives us direct input into our government, letting us decide who represents us. It’s hard to stay hopeful and positive but I try to remember that, in our country’s history, we have had some horrible things happen, but we have also pulled through and improved. As bad as things are right now, I do think this moment can be a real wake-up call and a moment for true growth—if we use the events that have recently taken place as an example of what to guard our country against.

“So much of what’s going on now in our political landscape scares me. The rolling back of environmental protections, the difficulty in getting good, non-politicized women’s reproductive choices and health care in so many states, the nepotism and mismanagement of so many of our federal agencies and departments—such as Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, to name just one example. We also have no public health protocol, which is why we are facing such a widespread pandemic.

“It’s easy to get fatigued when every day seemingly brings a new crisis or abuse of power. The thing that helps me shake off my exhaustion is to remember that many of the laws and policy choices made today will impact my daughter’s life and the lives of millions of children. We must exercise whatever power we have—if not for ourselves, then at least for the legacy we leave future generations. It’s important to take a break from the news for a couple days regularly so we can catch our breath. Our sanity is the most important because we can’t fight properly for what we believe in otherwise.

“Our government only has the power that we as American people give it. If we want to be better represented and leave the planet better than we found it for our children, we must make our voices heard, loudly and often. Voting in all elections is the first step.

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE.

Credits: VLM STUDIO KIM POLLOCK (AGENT) JODOKUS DRIESSEN (LIGHTING DIRECTOR) MARC KROOP (STUDIO MANAGER) BRIAN ANDERSON (DIGITAL TECHNICIAN) VLM PRODUCTIONS TUCKER BIRBILIS (PRODUCER) EVA HARTE (PRODUCTION COORDINATOR) JOHN NADHAZI (PRODUCTION MANAGER) JOE HUME (PHOTO ASSISTANT) RETOUCHING STEREOHORSE

UP NEXT

The Thought Leaders Issue: Maxwell
The musician talks about the American Dream, the 100 Million Masks program, and free education.