Why I am running (09/15–16/2017 version)
Background & Context:
After becoming increasingly frustrated with the state of American and Seattle politics, I wrote a “Why I am running” story on September 15th and early hours of September 16th. I had been planning on attending an Intersectional Candidate Training later on the 16th, but unfortunately managed to fairly severely injure myself on the evening of the 15th (long story short — don’t attempt to do a minor surgery on yourself with zero training). As I was debating when to call it and quits and head to the hospital due to my growing exhaustion and blood loss, I decided to focus my energy on my “Why I am running” story to both have something really good for the Intersectional Candidate Training (yes, I was being an optimist about still making it) and to get me through to a mentally negotiated deal with the clock on when, if the bleeding did not stop, I would go to the hospital.
Some of the positions expressed are no longer ones I hold, and there will be an updated version of this produced at a later point in time. For example, I no longer consider myself a democrat, no longer believe voting should be restricted by citizenship, and no longer believe that reform alone will be enough. Nevertheless, much of these concepts and positions are still ones that I strongly believe in. Here we go.
Why I am Running:
Every single one of us, as Americans, can claim Freedom as our birthright. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Yet, in 2017 these very rights are being undermined on a systemic level.
The right of life is taken from thousands of us each year due to unaffordable healthcare. Without healthcare as a human right, we undermine the very first principle upon which as a nation we are said to stand for.
In concerns to both life and liberty, both are denied for those many Americans who now live on the streets. What liberty do they have except for the liberty to struggle and in many cases die in this hostile world they are now in? We must ensure that housing — a safe place in which to gather ones mind and store and utilize ones possessions — becomes a right. When our government cares more about what a company or a high-rise contract can do for the city, more than what the city can do for the most poor and desperate among us — the priorities are wrong. Calvin Coolidge once said that “the chief business of the American people is business”; but I beg to differ. Government must not have a profit motive; government must not be for the real estate developer, software tycoons, or even financial giants — it must be motivated by the uplifting of the community that it is supposed to be serving. It should be in the markets of human support more than in the markets of human drama, tax minimization, or some other mechanism by which it manages to neglect so much that it important for human life and potential.
As for the pursuit of happiness. Who exactly can pursue this in 2017? Can it be pursued with no home, no health, no political influence, lack of good education, poor transit ability, no stable internet, no computer or computer education, no low skill jobs available at wages high enough to get ahead, an increasingly polluted atmosphere, alcoholism reinforced by posters and ads, mental health issues going unaddressed:
This is even before thinking about privilege. Your race, your attire, your culture, your religion, your gender, your sexual orientation, your criminal history that you thought had been repaid to society.
They’ll call some of godless, I’ll call them faithless.
They’ll tell some of us to “go back where we came from” or to “go to Europe” — I’ll tell them to look at the state of our country.
They’ll be pardoning confederates and condemning Durham’s southern heroes — I’ll be pardoning the statue smashers and condemning historical amnesia.
They’ll tell us that Zionism is good and that racism is bad — I’ll try not to laugh at such a novel hypocracy.
They may have guns, they may hate guns — but none of them want you to own a gun. It’s their right, or disdain, but either way they don’t want it to be yours — no, no gun unless you have accumulated something worth protecting. That house you can’t buy, that family you haven’t been able to start, that understanding of responsibility you could never have.
I’ll remind them that all rights matter, that black lives matter, and that their beliefs have no grounds against our hard-won rights.
In a more egalitarian world where for ages past tyranny was seen as coming from the King, it may have made sense for a “right” to merely be considered as something government “doesn’t get in the way of.” This is an outdated notion that has turned rights into economic privileges — and that’s before considering traits that may make you individually different from the established social order.
The government’s role must now change. It must exist to serve its people. Therefore, it must not only avoid trampling rights, it must now also act to ensure them accessible to all of the governed population eligible for said rights.
The government must educate people to where they are literate enough to actually participate in our democracy and economic society.
The government must pay for voter IDs and labor to whatever ends needed to ensure all can vote on election day if 18 and American.
The government must pay for healthcare when people cannot. If its too expensive, then the people and their representatives must radically alter what has made it so expensive through deep reform and replacement.
The government must be willing to pay for gun training when a would-be gun owner cannot afford to do so. The mechanisms for safely storing and acquiring a firearm must also be subsidized for folks who can’t afford it.
Instead of breaking unions, undermining them, or offering merely kind words, the government should establish and office promoting unions, going out to workplaces, and getting labor as organized as possible — with boots on the ground to counter reactionary capitalists.
Instead of relying on private means of production and distribution of goods and services fundamental to our Cherished Rights, the public must step in where needed to guarantee them for the American community.
Instead of setting up military bases all over the world, we must set up a new and brighter future all over our own country.
Iraq and Afghanistan take lives, money, and a once-believed right of privacy from our people. The returns are:
2. Kabul corruption
3. Financial ruin
4. Increased demands for cutting welfare instead of the sacred cow of perpetual warfare
5. Ruined lives — caused by physical or psychological trauma
— -End of Document — — (at this point, it was time for me to head to the hospital)