#IdentityPolitics, What @BernieSanders Should Have Said…

I want to be the second Latina senator in US history, any tips?

Rebecca, first let me respond to the question in a way that you may not be happy with… I actually hope you’re not the second Latina senator, I hope you’re the 14th or 15th Latina woman to enter the Senate. I hope that Hispanic and Latino Americans — Latina women in particular — continue to assert themselves politically, continue to make demands of power and continue to influence the future course of this country. So while I do hope you get there eventually, I hope in the meantime many more open that door as well.

And then, let me say, that if the Senate looks anything like it does now, when you get there, you’ll be surrounded by colleagues that reflect very little of this country. They’ll have come from more privileged backgrounds, they’ll be predominantly men, and they’ll be predominantly white. And with that, they’ll likely not have had any of the experiences that you’ve had — even your colleagues from your own political party — their view of this country, and indeed the world, will have been shaped by vastly different experiences.

And because of that, my advice to you, is that time after time, vote after vote, hearing after hearing it will be critical for you to pair your identity and your experiences and your voice and your passion with the all-important principles of standing up to the oligarchy, of pushing back against the moneyed interests, of looking out for those who have never been given a voice.

I think we can all agree that diversity of race and ethnicity, of religion, of gender, of sexual orientation, and of economic class in government and in the halls of power is critical in creating a legitimate and inclusive democracy — but it must be paired with the progressive ideals of making this country more fair and more prosperous for more people and not only the wealthy.

And that’s the struggle, Rebecca, the struggle for this party to not only lift up more diverse voices, to push more voices from the margins to the center, but to ensure that those voices — all voices —  are speaking up for the things we know are important.

The Civil Tube: Jon Stewart Takes Over Colbert’s Late Show Desk

The Republican national convention wrapped up last night, and while we’ll be hearing plenty of serious political analysis of the convention in the days to come, it’s also important to put it all into context with some levity and a few laughs.

And that’s exactly what Jon Stewart did in a recent appearance on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. We’ve missed you Jon. Watch below.

The Civil Tube: Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?

In a new book titled, “Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?” author Thomas Frank takes aim at the Democratic party and the discord between its rhetoric as a party of the marginalized and working class and its leadership — a wealthy, wall-street oriented, elite class of individuals — who are in no way connected to, or interested in, the struggles of its base supporters.

Recently, Thomas Frank sat down for an interview on PBS Newshour. Watch below.

Trump Rules

With Donald Trump all but wrapping up the GOP presidential nomination, many voices in the political landscape have already crowned Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States (see here and here).

But after the absolute spectacle we just watched in the Republican primary, I’m much more hesitant to call this one over. Too many rules have been broken in this election season to take anything for granted. Donald Trump has revealed a number of truths about our country — truths that we really already knew but perhaps never realized their full depth or weight. (more…)

Greater Gender Parity in Elected Office

I’ve been doing some more research on gender equity and representation. Out of curiosity I had wanted to compare the United State’s level of gender parity to the rest of the world, but in the process came across a very interesting article in the Guardian (emphasis mine):

In 2010, Senegal’s gender parity law came into force, which requires political parties to ensure that at least half their candidates in local and national elections are women. The law is viewed by many as a necessary step to force change in a country with complex gender dynamics, influenced by traditional customs and beliefs, Islam and French colonialism. More than half of Senegal’s 12.5 million population is female and although women have long organised at a local level, forming co-operatives and associations to improve access to public services, this has not translated easily into power at parliamentary level.

I had never heard of a law like this, but I really think it’s something to watch. The legislation doesn’t require the election of women to a national or local position but does make it a responsibility of the party to find and field women in half of their political campaigns. That’s the opportunity that many capable and dynamic women need and desire. They don’t want you to open the door for them, they just wish you’d stop blocking the way.

And now it appears that laws like these are trying to spread to other African countries. If you have a few minutes (about ten) I recommend you watch the documentary “30%”  — detailing the struggle of female activists in Sierra Leone fighting for 30 percent representation in parliament. You can watch the full documentary on Youtube here. I’ve posted the trailer below.