Godspeed Rebels, I’m Out

By Gabriel McArthur

The title of this writing is admittedly a quote from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and while it may be cheesy, I don’t really care. I’m withdrawing from the race for Colorado’s secretary of state today, and I couldn’t be more excited.

When I originally became a candidate for congress in Colorado’s 6th congressional district, I knew that I was up against monumental odds. I’m young, uneducated formally, but unflinchingly committed to truly progressive change in our political process.

I left that race to leave only a single progressive, Levi Tillemann, to take on the Democratic Party’s golden boy Jason Crow. This is a candidate whose entire platform is “I’m not Mike Coffman”. This is a candidate who is boring, vague about policy positions, and whose links to payday lenders cast serious doubt on Crow’s intention to help those left behind in his district. While I always knew the Democratic Party would attempt to run an establishment-friendly option, the media named him the front-runner the very day he announced his candidacy. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair donated money from his own campaign funds to Crow’s primary campaign, despite the fact that the DCCC shouldn’t be sticking its influence into primaries. I’m hopeful that Levi Tillemann can defeat Crow in the primary, because I believe Crow is simply too similar to Mike Coffman to beat him. After all, apart from social issues and superficial differences, neither Crow nor Coffman sufficiently challenge the oligarchy that has seized our nation.

I decided to switch my candidacy to that of secretary of state because I believed we needed more progressives to be represented on the state level. I believed that my lack of experience and financial backing would be bolstered by my commitment to strengthening our democracy and combatting corruption. In the recent weeks, I have realized that while my heart was in the fight, I am simply not quite ready for a race of this importance. I know that some may have always believed that to be the case, but I’m the sort of person who has to learn the hard way. While I will not be endorsing either remaining candidate in the primary for Colorado secretary of state, I sincerely hope that one of them will go on to be victorious next November.

Now, as I prepare to close the book on my campaign, there are a few items I’d like to address.

1: Our Institutions Are No Longer Dependable

While Republicans continue to pawn sections of our government off to wealthy campaign contributors, Democrats have enabled this behavior and oftentimes participated themselves. While I hesitate to sound alarmist, our country is at a pivotal crossroads as the result of corruption and income inequality. I grew up believing Democrats were the heroes. Now I see them as bumbling fools in the dark. While we spend an inordinate amount of energy barking about Russia, people are dying without a healthcare system that includes them, people are overworking themselves to avoid ruin, and others are losing their homes to predatory banks. The myth of bipartisanship is busted, and all we have to show for it was Bill Clintons gutting of welfare and mass media consolidation. It doesn’t take a genius to see the correlation between net neutrality’s repeal, and Clinton’s telecommunications act of 1996.

Simply put, Democrats are to blame for their inaction while President Obama droned, spied, and reached across the aisle to Republican charlatans, who as it turned out, never cared about him or his olive branch anyway.

Democrats bet all their efforts and hopes on Hillary Clinton, and their hubris enables them to blame others for that failure. This is why I ignored sage advice from people who advised me against running. They never took Trump as a serious threat until it was too late. I always knew he had a chance, because I recognize how drastically our country has changed in recent years. These folks still cling to conventional wisdoms, when those wisdoms no longer apply. We must carve out our own path to a more equitable society, within and without the two-party structure.

3: I’m Too Rebellious To Play The Game Their Way

If there’s anything I’ve learned during my brief stint as a politician, it’s that most politicians seem like sociopaths. That might not seem all that big a revelation, but I have heard far too many times to put my principles aside in order to present myself as a more appealing candidate. My aim is and always was, to be my true self publicly or privately. I had to sit in meetings run by self-righteous sycophants who cared more about punctuation in their charters than the actual fairness within. It’s always a constant battle over trivial nonsense while the major issues of the day rarely enter the discussions. Any time I brought these issues up politely, I was brushed aside. Any time I brought them up forcefully, I was called divisive or told to leave the party. I’ve never been much for dogma, and my experiences as a Democrat have reinforced that notion ten-fold. While I fully recognize that I have much to learn, and many people from which to learn, I will never subscribe to unquestioning loyalty to any organization, large or small.

The Resistance?

So now that I’ve laid that all out, here’s the point. Nothing will change about our politics until we, the voters change too. I believe in us, and our power to craft a future we can be proud of. We have to be bold enough to fight a system that favors the ruling class in every aspect of our lives, and to accept the consequences that invites.

If “The Resistance” is to have real meaning, it cannot be focused solely on Trump and republicans. It isn’t just marching. with vibrant hats for a couple hours on a saturday morning, donating to candidates, or voting. It’s resisting the influence of money in politics from the dog catcher on up. It’s resisting politicians who make excuses for the promises they don’t keep, and the journalists who cover for them. It’s resisting political leaders and activists who are more worried about status than substance. It’s resisting employers when they scold you or a co-worker for taking time to tend to a sick child. It’s stepping in when you’re at McDonald’s and another customer lashes out at the cashier unreasonably. It’s showing kindness to customer service workers, instead of unleashing your fury on someone who never caused your problem. It’s tipping your servers generously and urging their bosses to pay them a living wage. It’s teaching your children to think critically, and openly about the world. It’s to refuse to become jaded, and be forgiving in an unforgiving world. It’s to represent love, when too many are driven by hate.

While I may be withdrawing my candidacy for secretary of state, I embark on a journey to find my place in the political revolution. I don’t know where that will lead, but I look forward to sharing it. To all the people who have encouraged me and guided me, I cannot thank you enough. I look forward to working with you on a bright new future.