Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Response to Mr. Piggot on the DEC

I agree with Elvis when he proclaims that more people should join the DEC (Democratic Executive Committee). I also agree that the representation of black people is too low within our ranks, and I would add to that my feelings on there being too few people in the DEC with disabilities. Hell, I’m the only member with Tourette’s, but you won’t see me making a self interested public spectacle about it. He accused the DEC and specific members of racism.

I saw Mr. Piggot on the campaign trail. I didn’t hear all too much about issues, and that for me is a big deal. Being bold on specific issues such as cannabis legalization, standardized education, public transit options, and healthcare as a right should be a standard bearer for our candidates and our Democratic Party. The DEC could and should be louder on the issues, whether it helps encourage increased membership, helps candidates/elected officials to do their jobs, or both. One issue I had with Mr. Piggot’s video was his lack of attention to the issues. He discussed racism in detail, but didn’t go into his views (or the DEC’s lack thereof) on issues like Biking while Black, the War on Drugs, affordable housing, or the justice system. I’m not sitting well with that.

He mentioned my friend, State Committeeman Russ Patterson, making a statement wherein Russ said something to the effect of “In the past I haven’t always supported people due to their ethnicity/linguistics” in an effort to establish moving past that possibility toward supporting a more diverse cast of individuals—such as Jose Vasquez whom Russ was an avid surrogate for during his District 58 race. Mr. Piggot has a problem with this—It’s the case where an earnest man is coming to terms with harsh realities, and using past (not current) experiences to encourage genuine support for a  candidate. I refute this as evidence of racism in the DEC or being expressed by Russ.

He mentioned how Chairwoman Ione Townsend spoke with him to encourage him out of the County Commission Election. I’m not sure what Ione’s reasons were for saying these things, but I genuinely doubt they came from a place of racism. Maybe she figured Elvis would fare better in a School Board race, or didn’t want him to sour potential relationships before gaining more political experience. Whatever her reasons, I don’t believe they were racist. Her opinion on Elvis leaving the BOCC election was not an indication that he had to leave, rather it was her opinion, and possibly the opinions of other members. He also mentioned Angela Birdsong not getting as much financial assistance from the DEC Victory Fund. I am not sure why, but I can guess that a decision was made to prioritize the countywide races in order to try and pull the entire county out to vote.

The racism argument that Elvis is making seems a lot like an issue centered around him. He only mentioned Angela and low demographics in the DEC beside issues surrounding himself. A lot of people from various identities have struggled with the DEC, the Roberts Rules, the bureaucracy, etc, but they haven’t made it a direct issue of any “ism” — like my distaste with a lack of disability representation and talk on the issues doesn’t urge me to go on an anti DEC tirade. I form good connections with people and work on a mutual decision to make things better. Still, I would like to see more black, disabled, etc labeled people join the DEC to increase membership diversity. I welcome it! I am NOT denying that racism exists in the DEC, or ableism, or sexism, or any other prejudice. I just disagree with Mr. Piggot’s take on it.

Mr. Piggot is posturing himself for a run in 2020, and possibly on December 10th when the DEC holds its next election. Let’s make something clear; at this time (not officially) I like Sky White and Gwen Miller for BOCC District 3, and Chair Ione Townsend for re-election as DEC Chair.

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