We marked the one-year anniversary since Trump’s election with another election, this one for key races in Seattle: Mayor and City Council, among others. We elected the corporate shill Jenny Durkan by a landslide. This was the headline in the Seattle Times:
To so many of us, this election felt like Trump’s did. Our city is in crisis, we need a leader who will protect what we love, who will be radically accountable to our communities, especially those hurting most from our rapid pace of development. This is an accurate depiction of what’s really in Durkan’s DNA:
Durkan represents the worst in politics. She’s locked up protestors for months without charging them. She disregarded the four men who accused our prior mayor Ed Murray of sexual assault, gladly accepting his endorsement as he shamed his victims. Further, she even went so far as to say at least one racial slur on stage during her campaign. Add to all this, Durkan was the only candidate in the end to promise to continue the police sweeps of our homeless neighbors.
Jon Grant also lost his bid for City Council. Grant was the only person left running in any of our races who was truly grassroots and funded solely by community. He rejected all CEO and corporate money. He was going to be radically accountable to those hurting most. I was so, so sad to see his loss. This is a picture from Crosscut of his election night party. Nick and I were there. You can see me in the background:
Unfortunately in our current political environment surface identity is only so far as many people look. For example, folks were heavily focused on electing our first lesbian mayor (which Jenny Durkan is) although she is terrible for us and for the parts of the LGBTQ community that are most marginalized in our city. There were gay folks around the country posting how happy and excited they were for Seattle’s progressive win with Durkan. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to scream at them. I wanted to say, “Too bad Durkan is awful and essentially an eviction notice for so many of my friends!”
Jon Grant’s opponent who won is a woman of color, yet heavily backed by mainstream Democrats and establishment money. I am so aware now of how surface level identity can work against progressive movements. People seem to forget that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a woman and she is crushing the future for our kids. Let’s also remember that Seattle City Councilmembers Debora Jaurez and Lorena Gonzalez often vote against progressive movements. So, identity and lived experience are important, but just because someone comes from a marginalized community does not mean they are automatically the best champion for the folks who are marginalized now.
This is what I posted the day after the election. It was reposted by Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant:
The next day, I saw Jon Grant and posted about it:
Here were some other posts and headlines from election night:
Just before election day, we had yet another mass shooting, this time 26 were murdered in a small-town church in Texas. Here were the headlines:
This is what I posted on Facebook:
This is what other folks posted on Facebook: