They Don’t Speak for Me

If you check 1–2, my word of advice to you is just relax
Just do what you got to do; if that don’t work then kick the facts
You would rather have a Lexus or justice, a dream or some substance
A Beamer, a necklace or freedom
Still a nigga like me don’t playa-hate, I just stay awake.
 — Dead Prez

Please pardon a long and verbose rant, but I have a lot of feels I want to share in light of the events of the past 24 hours.

I’m sure many of you woke up this morning like me with either a metaphorical or physical hangover. I woke up staring in disbelief that we’ve just elected a racist, sexist, philandering, xenophobic, homophobic, intellectphobic, narcissistic , thin skinned orange bully as our next President.

I drove in this morning listening to Dead Prez to somehow try to pick myself up off the ground. And it worked. I came into work this morning more resolved than ever, more convicted of the mission of mitú than ever before. Here’s why.

Political Parties Don’t Speak For Me

In case it wasn’t painfully obvious, the political apparatus of the Democratic Party had its own agenda and pushed it all the way through. This should be a moment of deep reflection for the party.

When I was younger, I was a Republican. My parents came as immigrants to the United States and admired Ronald Reagan and believed in the ideal of small government and believed that the Republican policies fought for the many small business owners like my family who drove the American economy. I am also a devout Christian, and I felt the Right spoke to my values. As I got older, I realized the things Republicans cared about and valued overlapped less and less with my own values. So I began to support the Democrats.

And what I notice is every four years, the Democrats care a lot about the minorities and the minority vote. The same people who created the policies that made us the world leader in incarceration, that has more black people in jail than there were as slaves, only really reach out when they need us to turn up and vote. The Latino, Black and Asian vote is not why Trump won. It was the white vote, and instead of making an appeal to win their vote, they called them Deplorables and further alienated them. I listened in disgust to the Keepin it 1600 podcast as progressive elites danced prematurely on Trump’s grave, with their smug disdain for Middle America. We as minorities did our part, the Democrats did not do theirs to secure the White vote.

As with most things in my life, it took me far too long and too much pain to finally come to the realization, but I’m done with political parties. They do not speak for me, and they will not advocate for me unless it serves their purposes.

The Progressive Movement Doesn’t Speak For Me

I’ve worked in progressive circles, and the thing about progressive circles is that they are hyper aware of privilege, and they are the most well meaning, yet overwhelmingly white group of people (don’t believe me? There’s even a tumblr page dedicated to it!). And yet so many progressive friends, disillusioned by the demise of the Bernie campaign, chose to stand up in principle and give a giant middle finger to the establishment. I get the sentiment, and I’ve felt the same way, but that feels good for a day and you pay for it for four years. And while they gave their giant middle finger to the establishment, minorities, women, the gay community, and all the marginalized and forgotten groups that they claim to stand for are left to pay the price and carry the burden of their principled stance while they retreat away to their frustrated but still privileged life. This is not anti-white by any stretch, but it is a frustration of the hypocrisy of progressive white activists who come from a place of privilege and claim to advocate for minorities yet take a principled stance that sacrifices those they claim to advocate for.

The Progressive movement does not speak for me.

The Media Doesn’t Speak For Me

In case it wasn’t abundantly clear, this election cycle, mainstream media failed to do its job. They covered the email issue ad nauseam and with “fair and balance” equivalence with the transgressions of the single most offensive candidate in our history. Jimmy Fallon playfully rubbed Trump’s hair, and we treated a woman, who isn’t without flaws, but has also had her entire life under the microscope with the same level of scrutiny as a morally bankrupt businessman with no ethical compass who himself says he has never asked God for forgiveness because he has never had a reason to (maybe, just maybe, saying that you just grab women by the pussy might be one good reason to ask for forgiveness). It’s clear that the media has lost its way and its role in informing the American public. Don’t believe me? Listen to the Chairman of CBS, Les Moonves:

“The money’s rolling in and this is fun,” THR quoted Moonves as saying. “I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”

The media, it is clear, does not speak for me.

Evangelicals Don’t Speak For Me

I consider myself a devout Christian, and as I said, the younger me thought that the Conservative movement shared my values. But the more I read the Bible, and the more I looked at how the Evangelical movement behaved, the more I realized it no longer spoke for me. As they sought political power and influence, they no longer fought for the poor, the hungry, the least amongst us. I found that the Progressive movement actually spoke to more of my values. Evangelicals stood up for pro-life candidates, but failed to stand up for the lives of people post-birth. Where are they on Black Lives Matter? Where are they on mass incarceration? Where are they on immigrants who are fleeing starvation, violence, and devastation? Where are they on homelessness, joblessness, and healthcare for those who need it most?

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
— Mathew 25:34–40

Instead, my conservative friends pinched their noses as they went to the voting booth to support the pro-life candidate. And told me, implicitly, that the pro-life issue is more important to them than my life. That voting in the most vile, amoral, racist candidate that the KKK endorses is a small price to pay for the issue of abortion. That minority lives, that gay lives, that rights for the poor and the least amongst us are, in aggregate, less important than that one single issue.

The evangelical movement, people who are reading from the same Bible as I do, somehow does not speak for me.

What now?

So what do we do now? What do we do when all of the institutions we held dear, that we thought would be advocating for us have failed us?

Our mission at mitú becomes more important than ever before. It is freeing to realize who we can no longer depend on, to know that it is in our hands. People will only advocate for us when it is convenient for them.

We have a platform. We, the multi-cultural collective, have the buying power. The voting power. And in a few election cycles, will be the majority. So starting today, we need to take our destiny into our own hands. Nobody can advocate for us better than we ourselves can. We need to tell our stories. Normalize our people in the mainstream. Force the dialogue on the issues that matter to us and create a movement so forceful and so powerful that those in power must address them because it is in THEIR BEST INTEREST TO DO SO. We don’t need to function inside the existing structure, or define ourselves relative to that structure, we just need to go build the media company and amplify the voices that we know need to be heard.

This is our time. I’m done waiting for someone else to speak on my behalf. We have the platform, and we have the opportunity, to become a force that they will have no choice but to reckon with.