COLUMN: Stop pretending politicians reflect your interests

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

Politics are the tool of lobbyist and large corporations to enact their will in the name of their own profit. Politicians are the pawns that enact and protect those interests in their name. If these interests ever intersect with your own, it is because a billionaire said so, not because that politician has any actual desire to advocate for your interests.

Elections are characterized by catchy slogans, appearances in key states, and empty promises. Politicians kiss babies, meet local organizers, and make grand statements about the change they wish to enact, and when they speak to change we want, we feel inspired and hopeful that someone at the top actually cares about us and our needs. This is simply not true.

People have normalized the amount of money politicians spend and receive to the point that we think someone being paid 21 million dollars by real estate companies (Barack Obama in 2012) is saying anything other than what those investors want them to say. Us little people do not have 21 million dollars to contribute to manipulate policy, so why would politicians give up that kind of money to act in our favor?

Over two billion dollars was raised for the five major candidates in the 2016 election. Five people raised over 30,000 times the median household income in the U.S. We cannot continue to act as if our voice, as people who represent that median, can ever have our needs at the forefront of a politicians interest unless we are happen to align with the interests of major corporations.

The idea that the average person, that poor people, that middle class people, that anyone in this country without several million dollars laying around can do anything to impact the status quo through voting or political action alone needs to be abandoned. It is manipulative, but more than anything it is just not true.

If you want to see change, be change. Act, do not just vote, do not just expect politicians to take care of you. True justice has never been awarded to anyone through a ballot box, and even the right for everyone to vote was fought for with literal blood, sweat, and tears.

Feed your community and communities near you, teach people in your community to read, start funds to help members of your community pay rent, whatever it is just do it, do not wait for the mouthpiece of some billionaire to promise it for you.

Obviously policy has massive impacts on our everyday lives, but we have to understand when policy negatively impacts us, using those systems to advocate for ourselves has never and  will never be effective.

COLUMN: Vote radical: tradition won't beat Trump

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

What do Hitler, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Donald Trump have in common? They were visionaries of what seemed like preposterous goals at the time, but every single one of them, with the possible exception of MLK Jr., was immensely successful.

Trump has made a mockery of every part of American politics. He has attained the highest political position in the world with a platform that accused an entire nation of people of being rapists and alleged crimes ranging from tax evasion to rape.

He did this, however, because like MLK Jr., he had a dream. A dream that to rational, intelligent people was a nightmare, but to many in this country—ranging from dirt-poor voters down south to some of the biggest powerhouses in Washington—was a godsend.

All this while Democrats pushed forward powerful, qualified, and dignified candidates, who made the fatal flaw of preserving the status quo. They pushed forward members of the establishment, using the powers of the establishment, and promised to protect the establishment.

Even though they were wrong in their decision to vote for Trump, those who did did so because they finally had a candidate who was promising what they wanted.

None of this justifies Trump’s behavior, and the kind of radical we need to win is not one who will give false promises on a bigoted platform, but one who has some kind of vision of the world their voters wants to see, and for them to make it happen.

Trump was a wrecking ball to the American political establishment. What we do not need is someone gatekeeping and defending the wreckage; what we need is someone who is willing to be a wrecking ball that will knock down his wall. There is no sense in preserving political tradition when we have entered an era where political tradition has been the butt of every sick joke this president calls political action.

When MLK Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to speak to the whole country, he did not say “Let us wait, our time will come” he said “I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to hold hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers” to an America that blew up churches with black children inside, and beat and hosed black people for sitting at the wrong lunch counter.

In the same way black people needed MLK Jr. to articulate the dream and inspire the country to achieve it, many people in this country needed Trump to bring their racist dreams to light. The civil rights amendment was born from a radical’s dream, and so will be the wall between us and Mexico. It will need to be a radical to take that wall down, but that can only happen when America is ready, and time is running out.