I am a white gay queer male. What business could I have in politics? I’m placing a lot of emphasis on the white male to the detriment of everything that makes me something else. But I’m also genuinely tired of white-washed politics. But I am also absolutely done with this system. And I know that it is up to people who recognize injustice and who are in a position to do so to take it upon themselves to compete for an elected office: recognition of injustice is not enough; injustices must be corrected, not only for future generations but for those of us operating within unjust systems in the present moment.
I am torn in a perplexing way. On the one hand, I am acutely attuned to injustice, disgusted that a minority of our species is literally destroying the planet for the profits of a select few capitalists (by which I mean those who hold the wealth), and horrified, even galvanized, by the reality that members of our species are still dying of hunger and general poverty. On the other hand, is it really my place to run for an office? How many folks who’ve experienced far worse precarity than I ought rather to hold any office I might seek?
I wish Breonna Taylor were alive to run for office. I wish her boyfriend, her mother, everyone who knew her and who survive her, I wish they would run for office today, local, state or federal. I wish George Floyd were alive to run for office. I hope his family will. I hope his children find peace, but I would wish, perhaps selfishly, that they might bring us all peace by running for office. I wish Patrick Lyoya had been running for office instead of running for his life. I wish Vincent Chin were here to serve us as an elected official. I would run out of room before I ran out of the names of marginalized lives cut short—and those are just the names we know.
I wish for so many things, chief among them is my earnest desire to never see another over-privileged person running for office. Privilege, like wealth, is blinding, numbing. I have experienced much of what is awful about the world—but only some of it, since I was sheltered from the full wrath of it by the color of my skin, by the presumption from afar that my (disturbingly) pale skin makes me “one of the good ol’ boys.” I’d rip this whiteness from my bones if only I could (which is all it takes for me to know that I’ve experienced privilege of some sort, that I could wish it to have been a choice). So why should I ever run for an office, when no matter how much injustice I may recognize, I’m likely to miss an important social, societal, or individual factor, one or more parts of any number of complex issues, for the fact that I haven’t lived through it.
You, you who have lived through it, you yourself must run for elected office at the local, state and federal levels. Those burdened by poverty, those who have been told over and over that their lives are worthless or worse but who know that that is wrong, those who have suffered the worst our species can bring to bear on itself and those who survive them: these are who I want to see running for offices. The Bidens, the Clintons, the Bushes, the These and the Those and the Whoever-Elses: thank you for your service; but now it is your duty to get out of the way; that is your final service to your country, to get out of the way and to elevate as many marginalized voices as you possibly can to fill the positions you vacate.
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