I intend to run for office someday. Probably someday not very long in the future. And so I’ve begun working on becoming more political and more effective at communicating and that will gradually begin to spill over into my writing, though I’ve never shied away from political topics and rhetoric before now anyway. This post is just a bit of a rough script for what might one day become a speech I use to introduce myself as a candidate for office. I’m a progressive myself and that tends to be clear to people based off of the language I use and the sort of policy I’d like to implement one day but I’d be thrilled to hear your reactions to this post and any suggestions you might have for me or questions you’d like to have answered after reading this post!
Diversifying the American Dream:
I remember the first time someone told me that the American Dream wasn’t for me. I was enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and had been having a pleasant chat with another student in one of the residence halls in the Spartan Village. When I mentioned that I am an atheist his expression changed. When he next spoke his tone had changed as well. He was more critical of me and was eager to challenge me. It was a funny change at first, and one that reflected an all too common experience for atheists and even theists of belief systems that aren’t Christianity in the South who could learn quite quickly that at least part of our worth and our respectability in the eyes of others often hinges upon perceptions and assumptions about our religion and our religious beliefs. It quickly lost its humor. By the end of the conversation, he told me that the American Dream or at least his understanding of the American Dream wasn’t for people like me. It was an accidentally political statement and oftentimes the most important political statements are political. This was a student who was pursuing a degree at a prestigious university who had a specific understanding of what it meant to be American and thus to be eligible for the American Dream. I think we need to diversify the American Dream.
My name is Luciano Gonzalez. I am a Puerto Rican atheist and a conflict worker who wants to run for office. I believe that we, the American people, deserve leaders who are as diverse as we are. We deserve to be represented by people who went to schools other than the Ivy Leagues, we deserve leaders who didn’t study law but who studied the sciences and a multitude of other fields, who went to trade schools or community colleges, and yes we deserve leaders who never had the opportunity to go to college because that shouldn’t disqualify someone from running for office and from working to use policy to create positive change. We deserve leaders from a range of religious beliefs because we are a people of a range of religious beliefs ourselves. We deserve multilingual representatives in Congress because we are a multilingual nation. We deserve factory workers in Congress, teachers in Congress, accountants in Congress, and more. There are lawmakers in power right now who have forgotten how diverse we as a nation are ideologically, religiously, culturally, and linguistically and incredibly they have managed to forget the beauty of our original motto: out of many, one. E. Pluribus Unum.
Not everyone’s achieved version of the American Dream is their family living in a two-story house surrounded by a beautifully painted picket fence or to be the creator and president of a business that makes hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars a year. My personal American Dream is to be part of a movement that creates a society where conflicts are nonviolent and encourages creativity and the end result of that dream for me is to leave behind a stronger, more positively diverse nation for those who come after me than the one I happened to be born in. That’s a more diverse American Dream than what I grew up hearing about. I want to get to know you and what a finished version of your personal American Dream would look like for yourself and for those who come after you. I hope that you’ll consider voting for me so we can work together and eventually help create the sort of nation wherein everyone’s American Dream can come true at the same time. By working together we can create a happier, safer, and less violent society.
Getting political is fun but so are suggestions and edits:
That was rough. I’ll be the first person to admit it. But that was also a speech that came about in less than an hour and told a personal story while introducing readers to some of my core beliefs and the ideology that would guide me as a politician. I value peacefulness and safety while also defending diversity and creativity. I remember the history of our nation and know about concepts that reverberate throughout American historical memory because I’m earned a degree in history and I want to work towards a more peaceful society as a conflict worker who recognizes that conflicts don’t need to be violent and don’t need to be seen as universally negative either. I also understand that what is political doesn’t have to be intentionally political for it to still ring of internal politics and political beliefs. It’s vague but its main purpose is to get people to want to read on or ask me specific questions so that I can explain my beliefs and my positions myself.
I won’t often share this sort of political post here on Patheos but I do want to work towards one day running for office and part of that involves making use of the resources I have and the audience I’ve built here and elsewhere for when I eventually run for elected office. That being said if you like this post let me know. I want to know how this made you feel and if you’d want to learn more about me as a candidate if I were running and I gave this speech at an event you attended.