Why I’m Supporting Elijah Manley for U.S. President

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Well, the big-mouthed youth liberationist–that’s me, btw–has really gone and done it now! And as usual, I’m very proud that I’ve gone and done it ūüôā¬† I’m hereby endorsing Elijah Manley of Ft. Lauderdale, FL for president. He will get my vote in the coming general election, and if he’s not on the ballot in my state, I’ll vote for him via write-in. Why is this such a controversial choice, even for an avowedly iconoclastic socialist like myself?

Elijah is not only the sole youth liberationist running and perhaps the first to ever run for such a high office, but he’s also a youth himself… as in, 16-years-old. Yes, you read¬†it right;¬†that number was no typo, and it sure as Hel wasn’t a joke on my part.¬†Elijah’s Facebook timeline, Twitter feed, and the conversations¬†he has had with many¬†at the growing number of¬†youth liberationist groups online make it clear that he’s more than brilliant and well-informed¬†enough. He offers proof that wisdom or great¬†understanding of¬†the political¬†apparatus¬†is not a trait unique to older people… much as the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and the majority of older people who consistently vote against their own economic interests for politicians they know little to nothing about–or on the basis of how nice-looking and how personable they may seem on TV–also routinely prove, albeit in the opposite manner. You can meet Elijah here.

Now, before anyone just assumes on the basis of what they read above that either I or Elijah¬†are unaware of the constitutional provision requiring all presidents to be no less than 35 years of age, and¬†wastes the¬†time and effort¬†to leave a link in the comments section to the Wikipedia article on the U.S. Constitution stating that age-based requirement, please read the above linked article and/or these following words from me first: we are well aware of this provision in the Constitution. However, as noted in the article, Elijah has consulted youth-friendly attorneys who made it clear that it’s not against the rules for him to simply run for office. Moreover, one part of his campaign is to challenge that ageist provision and prove that younger people are deserving of their full civil rights on all levels, including the right to hold any important political office which their individual merits prove they are capable of. It’s intended to send a message by actions rather than mere words alone, which I believe is very important.
Also, before¬†anyone similarly¬†wastes time by¬†leaving a comment asking me if I seriously believe Elijah has a chance to win, let me burst that particular “let me prove how stupid and na√Įve Chris is”¬† bubble by making the following clear: no, I don’t think Elijah is going to win. I fully believe that it’s most likely that Killery (yeah, I’m calling her that)¬†will be the victor. I’m voting for Elijah because I believe he is the best person for the job who is actually running, I’m very sympathetic to the social democratic and youth liberationist-friendly policies of his platform, and I find it distasteful to once again put my principles aside to give my vote to whichever of the two pre-packaged corporate-approved candidates of our two-party oligarchy I deem the “lesser evil.” And¬†I sure as¬†Hell am not doing the “brand loyalty” thing that far too many progressives are doing by supporting absolutely¬†anyone who happens to run on the Democratic¬†party ticket.¬†I’m endorsing Elijah to send a message that I believe in, plain and simple. Victory doesn’t always take an immediate or readily recognizable form, but manifests as a series of bold and groundbreaking actions over time.
“But why don’t you put that support behind Killery–er, Hillary, Chris? I mean, she is a woman, her election will open a lot of important doors, women are a more respected minority than youths, and most importantly,¬†she is actually electable.” Because I deplore Killery for the same reasons I deplore her husband, the Bush family, and all the other die-hard supporters of war and the continuation of a destructive, archaic¬†status quo. I’m not fond of the idea of still having a system run by any politicians, but¬†as long as¬†having a commander-in-chief in that Oval Office remains such an important reality in the world, I will not be complicit in electing someone with the track record of Killery and the Bushes, and everyone connected to them.

If I was truly na√Įve, I would be firmly convinced that the mainstream progressives have a snowball’s chance in some fiery afterlife realm to move her policies¬†several notches to the “left” after she gets elected. Anyone who hasn’t learned this important historical lesson, including how it was shoved so firmly¬†in our¬†collective faces¬†with the current sitting president, frankly has a lot of nerve calling me na√Įve, let alone “unrealistic.” Let me make it clear that I would have gladly voted for women candidates like Cynthia McKinney and Jill Stein of the Greens, but neither of them has a youth liberationist agenda. Hence, Elijah gets my “message” vote over them.

Please allow me to make something else clear: I’m not promoting Elijah as some sort of messiah who is going to “fix” all of the problems that capitalism creates, or save the world, etc, et al. He is one person and only human, but¬†I think what his courage and candidacy¬†represents is of tremendous importance. He’s challenging the system and providing an important step forward for youth rights¬†that cannot be understated. His lack of success in winning is not going to change the inspirational meaning and importance of what he is doing. If you don’t think he’s serious about this campaign and is nothing more than a “mere kid” just trying to get attention in a particularly pretentious manner, then please look here for proof that he has filed all the required paper work with the Federal Election Committee.¬†That link provides proof positive that¬†he¬†is indeed¬†very serious (naysayers, tremble!), and he’s determined to¬†demolish the common ageist myth¬†that no person under 35, let alone under 18, take politics seriously and are not interested in having a seat at the most important table in¬†everyone’s lives.

Elijah is not a socialist like I am, and he accurately uses the label of social democrat to describe himself and his platform¬†rather than inaccurately claiming the label of “socialist,” as do so many of his fellow social democrats. He doesn’t stand for the total abolition of capitalism and a replacement of it with a money-free system based on social ownership as I do, but as I’ve often stated I think a social democratic form of capitalism¬†considerably more ethical than the highly deregulated, mostly unrestrained,¬†quasi-laissez faire version we have now. Further, as I’ve also often said, I’m¬†hopeful that in the future¬†many of the genuine and dedicated progressives of today will one day give up their efforts to tame and “humanize” capitalism and become socialists as defined by Marx and Engels. As comedian Judy Tanuta would say: “It can happen” ūüôā

I think that the importance of¬†what Elijah stands for cannot be understated¬†This is a moment that youth liberationists have waited for ever since the movement emerged Phoenix-like from the ashes¬†it was reduced to¬†by the conservatives and protectionists who gained so much power and influence under the Thatcher and Reagan regimes. Elijah¬†was one of the first to take this important step (along with Brady Olson of Iowa), and¬†I’m engaging in no¬†hyperbole to point out the historic significance of this.¬†If¬†Elijah ever does get elected to a public office (and I think he will),¬†and he suddenly repudiated his platform in favor of something more conventional or conservative, you can rest assured I would immediately cease supporting him. I would never support him–or anyone else–based solely upon their age, gender, etc., with no concern for their policies or track record. They would have to have much more going for them than such an arbitrary factor; Elijah does, and Killery doesn’t. It’s that simple.

I still yearn for the day that humanity collectively achieves a moneyless society built on cooperation rather than competition, where politicians go the way of the dinosaur along with currency and production for profit; however,¬†as long as politics remain a facet of our existence that can be used in many important ways for progress towards a better future,¬†I will never be satisfied with promoting the “lesser evil.” I prefer to go for a candidate who offers a real difference, with “different” not being simplistically defined as replacing a status quo-supporting¬†Democrat with a Republican and vice versa¬†ad infinitum¬†¬†after one invariably makes a mess out of things. We need the best we can get, not the “least worst,” and I think there is a good chance that Elijah would be that person if elected. And if he can’t get elected, he can nevertheless¬†send an important message by striving against the odds.

In a World of Competing Forces, is Massive Student Loan Debt Such a Surprise?

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The following is a guest blog by my good friend and business management expert Synder Rebel which deals with one of the many serious problems inflicted upon the 99% in our wondrous capitalist system, and the particularly rapacious form of capitalism as practiced in our native land of the United States. That would be a topic I myself have discussed before, the phenomenon of massive higher education debt imposed upon so many millions of individuals who have attended college and/or graduate school to work towards gaining skills and training to enable us to make a decent living in the dog-eat-dog labor force.¬† Since you’re probably wondering, yes Snyder is utilizing a pseudonym, since he’s worried that expressing his opinion under his own name would have negative repercussions on him due to working for a government agency. Nice to see how much faith the labor force has on the important democratic principle of freedom of speech… which seems non-existent in an economic framework that is totally dictatorial anyway. I decided not to argue with him about that too much and simply post the important words he has to say about this matter, especially since like too many of us (including me), he’s chest deep in college/graduate school debt and can speak with much authority on this topic. His post was edited for grammar, but nothing he had to say was altered in any way, and he fully approved of the version of this post prior to its presentation. Enjoy!

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Before I begin discussing this subject, I will just preface my post with the following: these comments are my opinion and should be taken as such. Everyone else is, of course, free to think whatever they want. Next, I will keep my name and other personal information to myself. The reason for this is simply that I work for a government agency in the state where I live and my comments may be considered inappropriate [You‚Äôre worried they‚Äôll fire you if you criticize an aspect of the government that even Emperor Obama has recently been forced to concede is a major problem? ‚Äď CN].
Alright, let’s get started on the subject at hand. We live in a world full of economic forces that compete with each other. For example, healthcare insurance, in theory, takes care of people who pay for it. However, healthcare providers, insurance companies, drug companies, etc., et al., are all wrapped up in their own layers of bureaucratic processes to avoid paying for whatever it is.

 
Within the context of student loans and the accompanying debts, I ask you to think about the following points. The costs of a college education continues to escalate each year. Education at the college level must be paid for in this country, whereas in other First World nations, including various European countries such as Germany, college is provided free. Many parents in the United States do not save for college because they cannot afford it, especially when the literal cost of living, i.e., the necessities of life, are likewise in constant escalation. Couple these costs with raising and providing for children, and saving for future college tuition must take a backseat.

 

 

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On one end of the spectrum, it is expected for people to advance their education and go to college to develop the skills they need to enter the job market later in life. Further, college attendance opens many other possibilities for personal and professional growth, as well as being a good general platform for intellectual development; for me personally, it proved to be a life-changing experience which helped me to overcome a lot of my emotional baggage and begin to open myself up to the wider world. That is how it’s supposed to be for everyone according to all the most ideally constructed sales pitches for colleges. The truth is, I think, that while all of these things are possible, there is also an element of luck involved. Too many young people, I think, buy into the myth and get caught up in the party scene soon after arriving on campus.

 
This brings us to the other end of the spectrum: a college education, while potentially carrying all of the above mentioned benefits, the tradeoff that came with it was a hefty one. The catch was, of course, one hell of a price tag to have hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles for the rest of my life. All of the benefits do not change the fact that I currently owe, very literally, a small fortune to the government that I will probably never be able to pay off completely.

 

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So, back to the beginning of the argument, the tradeoff I mentioned amounts to a competing series of variables that leads to a precarious win/loose scenario IMO. I won a college education but I lost all of my peace of mind as a result of the massive debt I graduated with. The concerns connected to it will always be stewing in the back of my mind like a kettle of soup over a flame, with the result being constant worry and fear over what will happen if I cannot manage repayment. For instance, what if all of my education does not help me secure a job that pays me a descent salary so I can both pay back all that I owe and live the way I want? The truth of the matter is that all I want is a good life, which means a decent job and all of the possibilities that come with that. However, in order to work towards that goal and have the chance to get the type of job that I wanted, I needed to acquire those skills and develop my intelligence so I could journey forth into the world and strive for something better. We all know that it’s very competitive out there in the world, and real opportunities for advancement and development in both personal and professional contexts are relatively scarce gifts that must be bought with favor upon favor to the mutual benefit of others involved.

 
In conclusion, massive student loan debt now seems to be a fact of life; or, at least it is if people actually want the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop into something more and something better. These opportunities now come with a price, a huge price tag that encompasses a lot more than the amount of cash you have, and will ever have, in the bank. I think that education should be open to all without having to metaphorically sell our souls to legal loan sharks like Sallie Mae.

 

 

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