Sunday, October 14, 2018

Women’s work

I’ve long said that if the USA wants a better class of politics, we need a better class of politician. And what that means in practical terms is that we need younger people, people of all different races and ethnicities. We need people of all religious beliefs—including especially those with none. And we need a LOT more women in office. The ad above highlights that particular effort.

The ad is from Serve America PAC, founded by progressive Democratic US Representative Seth Moulton. He is a combat veteran in the Iraq War, and many of the candidates the PAC supports, and all the women in the ad, are military veterans, too. The PAC is committed to “transforming our nation’s capital and state capitals across the country by supporting a new generation of leaders who will put people over politics.” It is a worthy goal.

The women in the ad all decided to run for office after having already served their country. They saw that their work serving the country wasn’t done, and realised that if they didn’t step up, who would? More of this, please.

I know plenty of men like me—middle aged and older white men—who get defensive and even lash out when it’s suggested that we’re not always the best choice for elected officials. I used the word “always” deliberately, because we white men, older white men in particular, have always taken for granted that of course we’re the best choice for election, no matter what. Well, sometimes we’re not. In fact, these days quite often we’re not the best choice.

This isn’t about us being men or white or older—all those things by themselves are irrelevant. But they often combine in ways that end up advancing the interests of other white older men to the exclusion of others. But the USA is becoming browner over time, and eligible Millennial voters now outnumber eligible Baby Boomer voters. We need the people who are the USA—and the future—to be in the halls of power. As the modern proverb puts it, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” something that younger people, women, and every minority has experienced first-hand. We need all of America to be represented at that table, and not only, or predominantly, older white men.

We older white men have our roles to play, too, of course. We can help younger people and women of all races get into office. We can advise and support them. We can also still run for office—as long as we work with everyone else, not against them. I’ll still vote for older white men, obviously, but only the ones who want to move us all forward together, not the ones who look out only for themselves and those most like them.

We need a better class of politician. We’ve tried changing older white men for other older white men, but nothing changes. Maybe it’s time we tried something different. Things can’t possibly get any worse—but they can get so much better.

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