I am a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from California District 33. There are a little over fifteen weeks before California's primary election on June 3, and a funny thing happened over the last couple of weeks. I became a footnote!
I mean, I campaign, attend house parties, reach out to voters; I do all the things that candidates do. And in terms of the usual indicators of electoral success - fundraising, numbers of volunteers and donors, digital reach and drawing of large crowds --I'm the frontrunner.
But according to the pundits, I've become an afterthought ... the last paragraph at the bottom of the article, after those who pass muster with the political elite have been described as the fierce competitors, deemed the pre-ordained inheritors of the mantle of official permission to take part in the horse race. I'm the "Also running is the independent Marianne Williamson" person -- the "New Age guru" mentioned at the bottom of the page. You can almost see the soft sneer of officialdom when it dismisses you, the subtly implied, "Why don't you just go away now?" As in, This is ours; didn't you know?
But all that is exactly why I am running for Congress: experiencing, perhaps in order to articulate better, the lock-out that is experienced by average Americans every day. We don't have an open political system. We have a political elite, ruled by political parties, that decides who gets to play. And whoever is playing, however nice a person, is part of the same conversation that we've been having for years, the stale worn-out rhetoric that promises to do little more than perpetuate the system as it is.
But don't get me wrong: other competitors in the race want to go to Washington and fight for you! Make no mistake, I'm saying something different. I'm asking you to consider why it is that in the most powerful, prosperous nation in the world, just guaranteeing that you'll receive the minimum amount of access to a proper education, economic opportunity, good health care and a livable environment is always such a fight! I'm suggesting that we do more than manage the symptoms of our dysfunctional system; I'm suggesting that we address the disease.
And of course the political elite don't want to do that - because political elitism is the disease.
The fact that a few self-appointed arbiters of who-gets-to-run-and-who-gets-to-play - whether in the area of politics, education, economics or anything else - know they have it in the bag because they hang out with others in the same gang, and they own the system, and they control the media, and they go to the same dinner parties, does not mean that we cannot disenthrall ourselves of their mental filter. And that is all, I assure you, that keeps the lock in place. It is not their money, or even their connections, that makes them masters of our universe. It is the simple fact that we are not laughing at them, but are lining up for their approval instead.
So regardless of whether or not you agree with my political vision, plan to vote for me or support my candidacy, I hope you will join me in recognizing that something is fundamentally wrong when any group of people, including any political party, thinks it's theirs to decide who will be taken seriously, who will have a shot at power, and who will be considered a viable candidate.
That is not their job. That is your job. And if you do agree with my politics and you do wish to see me in office, I hope you will write more of your friends to tell them about my candidacy than you might have; post my website more times on your social media than you might have; and give a couple more bucks to the campaign than you might have. We're trying to penetrate a system here, and it is dense. It is energetic. And it is not amused by free thinkers.
What is my response to that? Be one anyway. For it's the only way to truly be free.