Dear President Trump,
Fairness and equity are or are not realized and enacted for all sorts of reasons, but one of the most critical is access. Nearly all of the problems I laid out yesterday about our electoral process have to do with access and how it is manipulated by a small moneyed group. Therefore, I was heartened when I read about the DNC’s increased efforts to foster strong voter turn out. Yes, they are still pouring money into attack ads, but they are realizing what is critical is combating complacency, despondency, indifference, and getting people to the polls. I think we are waking up and seeing that if we aren’t on our best game and making sure everyone feels a part of things, we are vulnerable to being further marginalized and silenced and no number of attack ads, no matter how clever, is going to help level access to the playing field.
A huge part of the problem with access is that sitting on the sidelines has been a way of life for so many for so long it’s hard to overcome and convince people their voice matters, their single vote matters. You and your cronies might want to say that if people end up sitting on the side lines it’s their problem, no one is making them sit there — it must have something to do with their character, they must not care, they must be weak-willed. That would be a convenient interpretation and would certainly support your up-by-the-bootstraps mythology (which we all know is horseshit). But you need to dig deeper and ask why certain among us have been sitting out or are more easily discouraged from speaking up than others. You have to look at generational legacies. How long were women denied the vote? How long were we told that our place was in the kitchen, preferably pregnant? How long were African American people enslaved? How long were they restricted to the worst jobs and denied access (there it is again) to education? It takes time to break out of oppressive circumstances and some do so sooner than others. And while it’s obviously not new news, many of us are pretty damn angry when we do find our voices, which is scary and threatening to you all who have enjoyed the full access your white male privilege has afforded you.
So access is key and we are claiming it so you need all the blessings you can get as you learn to share:
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy and strong.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.