Friday, January 10, 2020

You Didn’t Ask

Absolutely no one has asked me who I am supporting in the Democratic presidential race. I will not be interviewed by local news media nor hyper local podcasts. In short, like my readers, my personal opinion is just that: personal. You may be the sort of person who loves to get in discussions promoting your favorite candidate with zeal and fervor. You may prefer to keep your thoughts to yourself. Or you may still be assessing your options.

As for me, I haven’t said much online but I’ve been observing a lot. That’s because I’m looking for something in particular. When crowds turn up at a political event, what do they look like? If they are all White people that’s a serious concern to me. When the candidate speaks do they have a commitment to equity and racial justice? That’s a high priority for me. I’m not interested in a “Yes, but” candidate. They need to talk the talk and walk the walk.

White supremacy/racism is baked into every system in this country. If we are not willing to challenge it and do better then we are not representing all citizens. It touches everything. This is true whether we are talking about a national political campaign, the Maryland state legislature, or local office holders in Howard County. Look at the photos. Who is represented? Listen to the speeches. Who is included and valued?

Our system for vetting presidential candidates is already failing us to a large degree because it is so dependent on large amounts of money (largely White money) to meet various benchmarks in order continue. Early, defining primaries are in largely White states. If Democrats want to be the party of “We, the People”, then what are we doing to challenge that process? It is a pipeline that seems determined to eliminate candidates of color.

Some people don’t see that as such a big deal. It’s a huge deal to me. It’s nice to have a candidate you feel excited about. It’s nice to be enthusiastic about campaign platforms and big ideas. But the biggest idea of all is where a candidate stands on equity and racial justice because it is life or death for millions of people in this country.

*school to prison pipeline
*clean water (think Flint, Michigan)
*voting rights
*police brutality
*access to safe, adequate housing
*health care

As Democrats we may say we’re for everyone but stop and take a look. Who is actually there? Who is welcomed? Who looks comfortable and enthusiastic? Who is holding leadership positions?

So that’s where I am. I hope you are doing some deep thinking on these issues, too.

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