IDENTITY HAS NO PLACE IN CANDIDACY

abraham-lincoln---death-threats

^ what a candidate looks like has nothing to do with selecting him or her

— —- —-

It’s sad to have to say the next sentence, but to some, the obvious isn’t obvious at all, so here goes :

We at Here and Sphere DO NOT pick our candidates on the basis of their skin color, their gender, or their ancestry.  What matters to is about a candidate is his or her character, diligence, knowledge of the issues, openness to compromise, and likability.

Two nights ago, on twitter, I was critiqued for not insisting that the candidate to support for the State Senate seat just vacated by Linda Dorcena Forry be a “person of color” and, preferably, a woman. The reason given, in  twitter shorthand, by my critic was that the population of Boston is “more than 50 % POC.” To which I responded, “that is irrelevant to a candidacy.”

The population of Boston may be more than 50 percent people of color, or it may not be. Whichever is the case, it has no bearing on who a preferred candidate should be. I know of no particular in which a person of one biological sort is unable to represent people of all sorts of biologies. Being an elected representative isn’t different from being one’s attorney. People do not choose their attorneys for biology but for expertise and skill. But I digress…

The rise of social media and selfie custom has moved people to think that how they look is who they are and that the message is the image. I beg to differ.

How one looks, changes. One’s skin color turns to dust. One’s character and accomplishments, however, only grow stronger. We may look at pictures, but pictures do not vote, do not speak, do not debate and persuade, do not beget children, do not kiss and hug, do not eat or cook, do not write great literature or research into history. Nor do I find much truth in the proposition that I am set back if the person representing me doesn’t “look like me.” What does matter is that that person have similar ideals to mine and has accomplished deeds that give me confidence in his or her future deeds.

We all need to think again, step back from the moment, lift ourselves outside ourselves. Responsible citizenship is N OPT “all about me.” Or, to put it another way, these words of Socrates say what I am am trying to say :

A friend of Socrates, I believe, took a trip through the eastern Mediterranean. When he returned, another friend asked Socrates, what did he learn ?” To which Socrates answered, “Nothing, for he took himself with him.”

The responsible citizen steps outside of him or herself and makes his or her candidate choices from several such outside steps away.

As it happens, I have supported candidates of all manner of look. People from all over the world live in Boston and are citizens here and run for office here, and from them I, like you, select those we appraise as the best. I hope that will always be the case, and that selfie custom will never become anything more than a diversion.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

 

 

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