Greetings! This is Rev. – Dr. – Jeff – Hood. I am calling you with a very important message. On December 11, there will be a runoff election for Dallas City Council District 4. On the ballot, you will only find one candidate who shares your progressive values. Her name is Keyaira D. Saunders. Do not miss this opportunity to transform City Hall! Vote Keyaira!!! This message has been paid for by the Keyaira D. Saunders campaign.
It felt uncomfortable. It felt like I was going against my beliefs. It felt… This was the first time I’d ever done a robocall before. The campaign sent it all over the city. Though I was glad to help my dear friend Keyaira Saunders, I have long held that voting is a problematic exercise for the follower of Jesus. I’ve long thought that we should exist outside of the political spectrum. I’ve always believed that mine is a work of social justice not politics. I can’t imagine Jesus voting. With all of this said, I think that there are times that become so evil…that we are forced to step outside of our comfort and fight for the lives of others. In an age of Trump, I have decided to fight.
The Dallas Morning News’ endorsement of Keyaira’s opponent was awful…but one paragraph disturbed me more than any other.
“More concerning, court records from Collin and Denton counties indicate apartment complexes have sought to evict Saunders in recent years. A mother of three children, Saunders said she had fallen on hard times financially but settled debts and was never evicted. Nonetheless, we find this troubling.”
Criticisms based on policy are fair…but fuck anybody that would judge a single mother of three children who has struggled to pay the rent.
I responded thusly…
To the Editor.
Privilege spews forth. While I expect Editorial Boards to judge candidates on their merits, I don’t expect them to be judged on their socioeconomic positioning. In your District 4 City Council endorsement, you had the audacity to make an issue out of the fact that a young single mother of multiple children (now candidate Keyaira D. Saunders) had almost gotten evicted twice in her past. Basically, you are insinuating that anyone with financial struggles is disqualified from holding public office. Not only is such a sentiment demonstrably ludicrous, it disenfranchises all sorts of people whose talents are desperately needed in government. While I doubt such will be given, I am calling on the Editorial Board to issue an apology/correction that plainly states that the socioeconomic positioning of a candidate shouldn’t have been…should not be…and will not be a factor in their endorsements. Surely, the readers of the Dallas Morning News deserve more than blatant classism.
Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood
I doubt I will work this hard in future elections…but we need single mothers of color in governance to look out for all of the single mothers of color and all other oppressed/marginalized peoples…because right now nobody is.
Hope is in short supply these days.
Jesus stands with the least of these.
Jesus stands with hope.
I do too.