A few years ago I had dinner with a nice young lady who worked in city government, and she had asked me more or less the same question. I wrote her a lengthy reply (on an older blog) that I will repost below.
At this stage in our nations history I represent one of the most unelectable types of people imaginable. Or at least that is how it seems. And a quick glance at our history would show how arbitrary this exclusionary process is.
- Not college educated. I dropped out to foster a career in retail which offered promises of a better income and lifestyle immediately to me. Growing up relatively poor this appealed to me at such a young age, and yet it's a decision I've regretted since. Still, we've had non scholars involved with every aspect of our nation including some of the very framers of our Constitution and a few of our Presidents. Now? Prestigious university (and the implied money needed) is often mandatory
- An atheist. Though I dislike the word (given that people believe it means something when it means very little to anyone who grasps english) it is how I am classified. I find myself in good company however, given that many great men behind our own Constitution were also of a similar philosophy. Thomas Payne would be saddened by the unelectable nature of someone like me.
- Ardently committed to the separation of Church and State. There are many on the political right (and apologists on the political left) who have big problems with this. And yet the Constitution itself was decried at the time of its creation by many as being entirely too unreligious. Any glance at a history book with a keen eye to the european theocracies of the day would remind one why this was both a necessary and correct decision. Then...and now. Religious freedom is in essence freedom of thought, and though I consider organized religion personally to be a dead train-wreck of a philosophy, I would rather everyone have the right to believe as they deem fit than have the current pseudo-conservative judeo-christian ideological mandate that currently is all but indoctrinated into our modern government.
- Ardently committed to a morality based on the evaluation of the well being and suffering of individuals, instead of one based on taboo's, idolatry, and sexism. One easy example of where we've gone horribly wrong. We teach sex in schools by telling teenagers with raging hormones not to have it, and imply that there is some modern moral evil in contraception despite the fact we've had it for thousands of years. Ever wonder if there's a causal connection between this and the fact that the United States has higher teen pregnancy HPV (and thus cervical cancer), AIDS, and abortion rates (in some cases by orders of magnitude) than all other modern economies (and higher than many countries we still incorrectly deem as 3rd world)? Does it take genius to see this is the horrific outcome of one of our many idiotic social taboos? No.
...Some additional personal details to round out my entire unelectable argument...
- I'm divorced. You've either got to have that proper "mom-wife" figure behind you (as a male being elected), or the proper uber-achiever wife. I have neither of those. I have an extremely off-balance ex-wife however, but that's a story for another day. Not only are these "negatives" pointlessly judgemental of me they are equally (and offensively) judgemental of what a spousal relationship is, of females in general, and me for making the choice to not remarry in a huge hurry. But I did mention how the process has devolved into one of "celebrity", so this shouldn't be a surprise perhaps.
- I am not financially well off or economically successful. When people encounter me, they often find my wit and intellect to be a bit of a surprise considering I'm fairly poor (in only the economic sense however). People tend to equate success with such things. Still I consider myself quite enriched by the fact I came through four corporate downsizes (since 1996) with three separate companies, a divorce that occurred during a period of long unemployment, and the accrual of quite a bit of debt. These things taught me, if nothing else, the uselessness of socio-economic status when it comes to being happy, living a good and moral life, and grasping what it is to live well. Still, not living within the necessary socio-economic circles to even begin playing in the political arena is a near insurmountable barrier. Both a grossly unfair one, and an entirely unnecessary one as well.