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 🙂 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 naïve 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 naïve, 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 naïve, 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” 🙂
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.