An Open Letter to My Future Mentor

By Puja

Dear Hillary Rodham Clinton:

I hope this letter finds you well. Over this past weekend, I attended a “Ready to Run” day-long seminar put on by Annie’s List; which, as you probably know, is an organization committed to getting pro-choice female candidates elected to office. During this short, but empowering session, we were told how to craft a message and prepare to make the decision to run, given resources to file paper work,  and other campaign essentials. It was invigorating. I must also report that I feel the intersectionality of the women represented is a testament to a legacy that should be associated with you. Perhaps one of the most positive things to come out of the Russian influenced misogyny that was the 2016 Presidential election is that women are collectively committed to showering the patriarchy in glass. YOU INSPIRED THAT.

The organizers said that the women gathered are a special breed. Special in the sense that we put our lives on hold on a Saturday morning to learn about running for office. Special in the sense that we were ready to take our activism to the next level. During the ‘how to craft your message’ training, it was pointed out that this specialness could backfire if we get  “wonky.” Wonks have a hard time proving they are personable. So even if we love the stats, we should find a way to put them in a broader context to appeal to voters. This made me think of you; it made me think of all those stories that talked about your personality more than your qualifications. Those articles pointed out that you were more personable one on one, that Senator Kaine was selected as your running mate because he kept you loose in front of crowds. Let me tell you HRC (can I call you HRC? Silence is acquiescence) I got very affronted on your behalf. I know you are working on moving past this and don’t need people to be affronted for you. Here you are dedicating your life to helping others, possessed all this knowledge culled from years of service (‘experience’) and some campaign strategist found a way to turn it against you. I bet any secret MI-6 dossier on you would say “spends a lot of time on issue research, talking about issues, finding a way to solve issues, listening to the people (of all classes and races) and studies up” aka you are a Nerd-level wonk. For the record, NOTHING would have affected the awkwardness that was the Mary J. Blige interview.


Women make up 50.8% of the US Population, but account for [about] 20% of any elected body. 


Driving home, I again felt affronted on your behalf. I started thinking about the actual sacrifices I would have to make to pursue public office. I kind of like my life the way it is, I am still working on #adulting. I actually went to this seminar because I am the wonk, and I like being behind the scenes…so strategist or speech writer is what I came in there to learn about. But then…but then I volunteered to give a draft version of my platform, the message of my campaign. For the record, it ties together civil rights, government spending habits, and the American identity, and incorporates my personal identity: Immigration. People clapped, several of these Wonder Women told me they liked what I had to say. I liked what I had to say; it felt nice saying it. But even though it was nice to be heard and I communicated my thoughts and feelings in a way that may fire up voters…can I change my life? Can I become this polished political candidate and slog through muck and mire and fight and climb when there is a real possibility a force akin to an orange baboon in a poorly made suit could derail me and the ideals I think America wants to preserve?

Am I HRC strong?

I pivoted away from that question to “Am I Qualified?” And I don’t mean in the sense that women undervalue themselves and rarely feel qualified enough. I mean that the women in that room already running for office all had prior experience in their fields. All but one of the women were running for school board in order to fight the potential dismantling of public education (one woman is running for city council). I hope they all win.

HRC, I don’t want to run for school board (or city council). I know the value of public schools and importance of equal access to free education, but there are SO many women very passionate, knowledgeable, and more invested in the nuances of education reform and those are the people who should be running for school board. When my table mates asked me what office I was thinking of running for, I said ‘state senate.’ This was my answer because the SB4 demonstrations were on my mind, the fact that representative government seems to be going by the way side for ‘special interest government,’ and these numbers: there are 29 women (out of 150 representatives) in the Texas House and 7 (out of 31) in the Texas Senate. I’m afraid to break that down racially.

texas-legislature-party-makeup

HRC, I need your help because I don’t think I spoke the whole truth when I said state senate. I want to be the first female immigrant US Senator from the Lone Star State. Usually I would say I should put the time in and pay my dues, but I’m ready to now. The Texas Legislature only meets every 2 years. They only put forth garbage laws that violate the Constitution and have to be litigated ALL the time (way to waste taxpayers money Texas…just do right the first time). I can’t spend my time spinning my wheels in the Texas Legislature when there is work to be done on a national level. The current US Senators appear to care only about their allegiance to their party (but would probably get offended if you told them that was Communistic in behavior). Checks and Balances need to be restored. And as my friends can tell you, I have not been afraid of checking people since November 9, 2016. OK that was hyperbolic, which is why I do better behind the scenes.

Will you be my mentor? I need to know how you survived, how you coped, what kept you going. I need guidance on how to go high when people go low (I expect Michelle to be at that brunch). I am waffling because just thinking about how insurmountable a battle for an establishment republican’s spot in a red state for a NON CHRISTIAN MINORITY WOMAN scares me, so help. There are only 639 days until mid-terms.

Your Future Mentee,

Puja

PS – Lets not place too much credence on educational pedigree OK. I didn’t go to any ivy league schools but the orange baboon went to Fordham and Wharton and Bobby (formerly Piyush) Jindal went to Brown, so we know ivy leagues aren’t churning out rational minds as much as their tuition bills and competitive application process would let us believe. That’s a part of establishment politics that we will talk about over brunch. Call me, tweet me, friend request me, hell send Huma if you want. Help me make it rain glass.

#Puja2018

 


I wrote this on 2.5.17, I will have a separate post about the Devos mess later. Trust. 

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