The Palace recently received an almost awesome missive from Democratic congressional candidate (FL-7) Nicholas Ruiz III:
BREAKING: The Fortune 500 Challenge – With stock market indices sitting at world record highs – we challenge Democrats to demand that the Fortune 500 companies show good corporate will by paying no employee less than double the current minimum wage, or be taxed accordingly. This puts no one out of business – and is the first vital step toward addressing the vast inequity created by decades of corporate profiteering amidst predatory wage suppression and a Congress of indifference. Help our campaign advertise this challenge on national television.
And a sincere thanks to everyone that has helped so far.
I know we’re all feeling satisfied with the great work the Democratic caucus is doing. Thanks to President Obama’s leadership and vision, we’ll soon have dirty Keystone XL tar sands pumping sweetly in the Canada night, and piped exquisitely parallel the continental divide, all the way down to the Bayou Riviera on the Gulf of Mexico. I feel the burn and glow now as I write to you.
It’s even better that the Democratic caucus so nicely tends to the American family’s sore plight by voting wholesale against the Democratic Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Back to Work Budget – the only budget circulating in DC right now that would actually help the American family. What did we Americans do to deserve such benevolence at the hands of our stewards? A godsend, surely.
Now, I’m just a liberal. A progressive FDR, New Deal Democrat – so I’m sure social justice is better left to Democrats whose campaign accounts are filled with millions of USD in corporate donations from banks, oil companies, defense contractors and accounting firms. Not to mention, the $millions from liberal instituions like Harvard U and UC Berkeley, and great actors and smart PACS that really know more about what we need than you or me. But I’ve freedom of speech, so I intend to use it. It’s my humble little contribution to making our already perfect world, a little better than that even.
So here’s what I’ve got. I’m running for Congress. Against Republican corporate lobbyist cum congressman John Mica in FL-7. I’ll need your help to win, and since I know you’d prefer to see my face on MSNBC rather than his ( I’ll never go on Fox, and you can quote me on that) you’ll help me to do that. Never mind, that I’ll actually vote for things like the CPC Back to Work budget. And I’ll vote to double the minimum wage. And I’ll vote against more dirty XL fuel projects. I’ll vote to conserve land and oceanfront. We’re over-developed – what we need is conservation and sustainability. It’s an entirely different conversation, than the slash and burn, develop, pollute and expand, by the way, ‘did the market go up today?’ lunacy of the far more responsible Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Unlike the more responsible Democrats who like parties and jewelry – I like to read. I have a Ph.D, so you can feel confident, that I will probably spot, and will move to strike any hidden language in bills that accidentally awards billions of dollars in tax breaks for corporations and billionaires, ’cause like we say in Florida – that just ain’t right. So those are the perks you get with supporting a candidate for Congress like myself.
Like, for example, I’m happy to report that I know of three other Democrats worth your time and money for the 2014 mid-term elections. The first is Democrat Andrew Hounshell, a steelworker in Ohio. He’s running against GOP philosopher Rep. John Boehnor, that really outstanding GOP rep. that loves to work with good Democrats like Steny Hoyer to get deals done. But Andrew will be a much better U.S. congressperson than John Boehnor. Just trust me on this.
Another Democrat you should know about is Carl Sciortino, a state rep. in Massachussets. He’s running for Congress, too. He hopes to replace current rep. Ed Markey, since he’s running for the Senate in 2014.
Lastly, I must tell you about a wonderful Democrat, Alan Grayson. You know, that bashful rep. from Orlando, FL. Yes, that one. Let’s hope he stays in Congress long enough to greet me when I get there. I’ll need his help, and others like him, to do everything I’ve been telling you about in this political life.
Love and solidarity always,
pd. pol adv. by nick ruiz, democrat for congress
Isn’t that almost awesome? It truly is almost awesome. But I would prefer that Nicholas Ruiz III be actually awesome. So I wrote him back.
Dear Nicholas Ruiz III:
I’m a New York City-based blogger and lefty activist, and I have been thoroughly enjoying and forwarding your sharp and witty emails. I have also donated to your campaign. But the latest email I received from you struck me as problematic, and I thought I’d take a moment to explain why.
I would like to take it as a given that you are an ally in the cause of equal rights for women. As you are undoubtedly aware, for decades women have been experiencing major setbacks in states across the country as well as at the national level in the form of dehumanizing legislation. But that whole “Republican” War on Women thing? It’s also fueled by Democrats who are either indifferent to what they perceive as “women’s issues” — wrongly, in my opinion — or worse, they are True Believers themselves. Clearly women need all the allies we can get in Congress (not to mention everywhere else). So when I read this passage in your otherwise excellent message, I saw a bright red flag:
We’re over-developed – what we need is conservation and sustainability. It’s an entirely different conversation, than the slash and burn, develop, pollute and expand, by the way, ‘did the market go up today?’ lunacy of the far more responsible Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Unlike the more responsible Democrats who like parties and jewelry – I like to read.
There is no shortage of clever ways to mock craven establishment Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz — and this is especially true for a wordsmith with your obvious skill. But when you employ sexist tropes like this to do so, you are perpetuating the stereotyped view that all women are vapid, shallow and materialistic. You may not be a misogynist, but that other guy, the one who really, truly hates women and sees them as less than deserving of basic human rights? He reads it as validation that his view of women is correct. He thinks you agree with him. However unintentionally, language like this contributes to the already toxic culture that women have to navigate every single day.
And yes, I’d still be writing to you if you went after Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin in the same vein.
There is, of course, the practical value of taking care to avoid alienating potential voters and donors, and I suppose that would be reason enough to be more conscious of such things. But I hope for more from you. Can I expect more from you?
-Iris Vander Pluym
P.S. It wouldn’t hurt either if you had also included a woman among the candidates you deem worthy of support in your latest email. Were you to do so, you might find it instructive to note how she is portrayed in the media. (Hint: no one will inquire as to how you will “balance” your career with your responsibilities to your children should you be elected, or focus on your choice of shoes, handbags or suits. Well, unless you’re a truly bizarre and original dresser. Which could actually be a lot of fun, now that I think about it.)
I will post any reply I receive from Nicholas Ruiz III. Then we can all revisit the subject of his degree of awesomeness.
[h/t Melissa McEwan]