The whole political scene in America has been downright depressing if not obscene lately. I just want to go to sleep and wake up when it’s over, but also want to quit my job to spend a thousand hours a day fighting fascism, injustice, racism, sexism, and cruelty. Exhaustion and motivation make for a more confusing cocktail than Red Bull and vodka (but, on the same token, MUCH less gross).
It has gotten me to thinking about the ugly side of power and who deserves to have power. I want to say something a little controversial: I don’t think white men deserve power right now. At least, I think they deserve MUCH MORE EXTREME vetting before we give them power. It’s not that I think white men are incapable of using power for good, or incapable of being moral beings (I know far more good, moral men than I know evil men), but we have to take into account the system in which they have been groomed.
For years, white men have been taught–if not in words, by demonstration–that they are above the law, that their bad actions do not have the same consequences that other genders and minorities have. This has become locked into many white men’s subconsciousness today, through, in no small part, no fault of their own. But it is incredibly difficult to shed the messages that have been pounded into us since we were young. We all carry these messages and have used them, unconsciously, to form ourselves and form a worldview. They are more part of us than anyone would like to admit. Eventually, we make decisions out of these messages, and become responsible for continuing to adopt the attitudes born out of them. (And yes, we all need a LOT of therapy.)
Because of this, I regard all white men who desire power with a large dose of suspicion. I think it is time to give power to the underserved, the oppressed, the minority voices, the folks who have suffered under patriarchy and white supremacy. As a group (so diverse it’s unfair to call them a group, but here we are), I am far quicker to trust their intentions than those of white men (again, with its own range of diversity, though a much smaller range). I think the messages they have received have been destructive, but perhaps more conducive to effective, moral leadership.
Of course I do not want to deny any good, moral, strong, committed, humble candidate from being in public office, even if the candidate happens to be a white man. But I think it’s time to start looking at the historical oppressors of this country with the justified amount of suspicion and resistance that that group has, as a whole, heaped upon those around the world (to much more evil and violent ends).
And while we’re at it, let’s make systemic changes that instill better messages to our young white men so that the tools they use to construct their ideas of themselves and the world are far more humble, compassionate, and careful. Alongside those new messages, let’s apply a MUCH greater amount of accountability to all white men. Rigorous accountability could very well save this country. Historically, white men have acted without any true accountability. This. Must. End.
It’s not just about electing great leaders; it’s about creating a country that enables the rise of great leaders and identifying where the more poisonous of our leaders are coming from. Sorry, white men, but that’s you.
Until we make broad systemic changes, and until the old, white, male guard still operating under the old, destructive assumptions has been educated or weeded out, it’s time to prioritize giving power to the historically disenfranchised and violated, after vetting for the same morality and integrity we want in all our leaders.