This is What I Want, Too…

I just came across this on a friend’s Facebook page, and knew I had to post it here.  It’s by a woman named Zoe Leonard, an artist and member of the collective Fierce Pussy, which is also associated with Act Up (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).  To be honest, I’d never heard of her before today (although I’d certainly heard of Act Up back in the days when I worked with people with HIV/AIDS in New York), but when I read this quote I felt that it had to be a part of this blog:

“I want a dyke for president. I want a person with aids for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia. I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to aids, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying. I want a president with no airconditioning, a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the dmv, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and layed off and sexually harassed and gaybashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape. I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a Black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy. I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown: always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief and never caught.”

I’m with you, Zoe.

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4 thoughts on “This is What I Want, Too…

  1. A.M.B. November 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm Reply

    That’s a powerful passage. I’m going to have to think about it more. In some ways, we have made progress when it comes to who can run for President and other high offices in the US. It’s no longer limited to people who were born wealthy into two-parent households, but we still expect a certain background. For example, even though President Obama’s early childhood and ethnic background differs substantially from Romney’s, both candidates went to Harvard Law School.

    • holdingbreathmemoir November 21, 2012 at 2:22 am Reply

      It IS powerful–it was one of those things that make me wonder why I hadn’t already thought of something like it. And, as your comment implies, that “why” is important. Even the most liberal among us (and I’m seriously on the liberal side of the spectrum) seem to take for granted that a presidential candidate have certain “credentials” that don’t necessarily have to do with experience or relevant education. I think that a lot of peope even assume, without ever thinking about it, that a candidate has to be Christian. When there are “accusations” that Obama is “secretly Moslem,” others deny it, and yet you almost never hear anyone say, “Even if he were Moslem, so WHAT?!”

      But I’m not particularly political. I just would like to see someone who’s really known what it’s like to be on the losing end of things, and who’s been misunderstood and despised and disrespected for not “making it” according to this society’s standards, someone who’s truly capable of empathy because they’ve been there, run things for a while. In lieu of that, I’m damned glad that Obama is still president, and that Romney (and, to a greater extent, Ryan) didn’t make it into the White House.

      • A.M.B. November 21, 2012 at 2:34 am

        It would be amazing to have people in the White House, Governor’s mansions, and sitting in our federal and state legislatures who understand what it is like to live life as part of the vilified 47% in their adult years. As a country, we blame the poor too much for their life circumstances to ever vote them into high office. We think that being poor is their fault.

  2. holdingbreathmemoir November 21, 2012 at 2:44 am Reply

    Vilifying and blaming–yes. I don’t know if it’s always been that way and I just hadn’t paid enough attention to understand that, or if it’s gotten worse. It makes me very sad that that’s the case.

    I took a look at your site–it looks really interesting! I see that you went to Harvard Law as well. My mother went, too, but she graduated in (I think) 1955. She was one of about three women in the class–does she have some stories to tell about that! 🙂

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