Political Climate (with Daria Dawson) | Crooked Media
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October 17, 2023
Pod Save The People
Political Climate (with Daria Dawson)

In This Episode

DeRay, Don and Myles cover the underreported news of the week — a race for speaker of the House, context to the Israel & Palestine conflict and the dark side of fitness journeys. DeRay interviews Daria Dawson of America Votes about the current state of progressive politics.

News

The latest on the race for speaker of the House 

Black Feminist Perspectives on Palestine

Why are Americans obsessed with fitness? The answer: Neoliberalism

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD BREAK]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, this is DeRay. And welcome to Pod Save the People. In this episode, it’s me, Myles and Don, talking about some of the big issues that have been happening in politics in the past week. And then I sit down with Daria Dawson, the national political director of America Votes, an organization centered on fostering a culture of strong civic participation, voter engagement, and mobilization. And advocating for fair, modern elections. Here we go. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Hello, everybody. Welcome to this new episode of Pod Save the People. I Am Myles E. Johnson. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter and TikTok at @pharaohrapture 

 

Don Calloway: Don Calloway, Washington, D.C.. You can find me on Instagram at @DCalloway on Twitter at @DCSTLagain.

 

DeRay Mckesson: This is DeRay at @deray on Twitter. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: So you all I’ve been getting my, my, my CNN on and I understand that the Speaker of the House moment is big. We have um Kevin McCarthy, all these names can I’ve been waiting for this moment for you all to hip me to what’s going on. So I’m not just filled my cranium with Sexy Redd and Will Smith and Jada. So what’s happening? Where’s the government go what’s going on with the government? What’s happened with the Speaker of the House? Let me know y’all. 

 

Don Calloway: I think that’s my cue, brother Myles. So here’s how I will do my best. And and to be honest, I’m far less interested in like the day to day horse race of politics these days. And I’m far more interested in like big picture context. How did we get here and what does this mean for the future in terms of culture shifts? But here’s what I will tell you. As of right now, the Republican Party in the House, which has the majority, is essentially rudderless, is leaderless, since they ousted Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago by actions of Matt Gaetz, the legislative terrorist, they have been looking for a suitable leader. I think now three have tried, three have failed. And it is not clear that the fourth potential speaker replacement, Jim Jordan, will have enough votes from his caucus when they return to D.C. today to become elected speaker when they take it to a floor vote. Uh. So Jim Jordan, as we all know, is probably Trump’s most notable ally in the legislature, um is from Ohio, is uh not prone to wearing a full suit. You always see him in just a shirt with a tie looking like the high school wrestling teacher that he is. And it’s important to note that Jim Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State when they had a decades long, excuse me, a ten year long wrestler molestation scandal. And Jim Jordan was in a position of authority and did not report it. And I mean this is well known his his athletes have come out, Division one athletes, manly men who’ve come out and said that they were molested and Jim Jordan knew about it and did nothing. And we’ve seen this case in Michigan State. And, you know, Larry Nassar, this is no different just in the case of young male wrestlers. So Jim Jordan is kind of a POS to begin with, long before his pro-Trump advocacy. Uh. Somehow, some way, he is the guy that House Republicans have decided should be their standard bearer. But there are a few sensible Republicans that are still holding out at this moment. We don’t know who they are yet because these have all been kind of in caucus discussions. But it is, however, not clear that Jim Jordan will be able to lose, he will be able to get the four or five Republican votes he needs uh to secure 217. And Democrats, for their sake, are using this as an opportunity to extract some concessions. They don’t want to vote for Jordan. They will vote for a more moderate Republican because they know they don’t have the majority in exchange for certain concessions that make it easier to get democratic principles into the legislative process. So there’s a lot of horse trading going on right now. But the big picture is this. In 2010, when the National Republican Party started making space for and allowing some of these crazies, whether you call them the Freedom Caucus, which they evolved into, or the Tea Party or whatever, we saw crazy elements. And if you’re watching this, you know that when you invite crazy into the tent, it’s just a matter of time until these people will eat their own. And you saw President Trump from that and you see a Jim Jordan from that. And the big picture, if Americans want to feel comfortable about where we are right now is remember that the speaker’s race will not determine anything regarding Senate dynamics. It will not determine anything regarding the White House. And adults are still in certain spaces because of our multi-tiered system of checks and balances. But it does appear that one of the worst legislators, one of the true crazies, is on the precipice of becoming Speaker of the House. And that’s unprecedented. It’s just another feather in the cap of the craziness of the modern day Republican Party. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Was Trump the door open for this? Because I felt like it used to be you have to have had some kind of decorum and and and now it just feels like it’s getting wilder and wilder. Is was is it illusionary that Trump was the start of this? Or was it always kind of like this and now we’re just watching it because Trump’s presidency made us kind of like hyper focus in the Republican Party?

 

Don Calloway: Yeah, Trump Trump definitely wasn’t the start of it. I mean, if you think about it, the modern day craziness or idiocy, if you will, is a result of a knee jerk and visceral reaction to the election of a Black president. And you started getting these far right elements in who were willing to say basically, never again. We will never again allow a Black person and all the people that comes with that Black president. Remember, a president is an administration. Administration is more than a president. Right. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Right. Right. 

 

Don Calloway: And so it’s about all the secretaries and all the government workers and all the people who will execute on this agenda, being diverse and being reflective of an inclusive America. And Jim Jordan is representative of an element that grew from that time saying, no, never, not again. And Trump was you know an avatar for that movement, but he certainly wasn’t the start of it. Uh. And the problem with Trump is that you get bad Trump imitators all throughout government and you see them now rising to be speaker of the House. But imagine what this means for small town school boards. Imagine what this means for small town community zoning boards in which they only know to come in, talk racist, talk homophobic, be crazy and hold up things. Right? That is their operating philosophy of government. And, you know, it’s kind of depressing to consider that you’ll see that on every level of government. But we all need to recognize that it certainly was not uh it did not start with Trump. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Don, though so the we’re not completely out of the clear of a shutdown. Right. Like they only they only passed like a 40 day something something something right?

 

Don Calloway: Yeah they they passed a 40 day continuing resolution, which means that we’re funding government for the next 45 days. Yeah. So we missed that kind of deadline. We were all watching the clock there. We got about 45 days to come to some type of consensus. And yeah and you were correct to point out that having a Speaker of the House is critical to that. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: But if they don’t have we don’t have a Speaker of the House, can they still extended it again or are we like, legitimately screwed? And is it you know, I’ve been meaning I’m happy we’re having this conversation because I’ve seen online at least people talk about Hakeem Jeffries like, you know, some defectors, some of the saner Republicans defecting, is that a real thing or is that like a pie in the sky thing that was never going to happen. But we should keep talking about it because it is the right talking point? What’s up? 

 

Don Calloway: Yes, I’ll take the questions in reverse. Hakeem Jeffries is not going to be speaker. Hakeem Jeffries knows that. And he’s doing what he can do right now to extract concessions to make democratic legislation easier. But he knows he’s not going to be speaker. The really, the way out of this is to find a reasonable Republican. Right now, I think it’s a gentleman out of Louisiana who goes by the name of Austin, and I think his politics are probably abhorrent to everybody, uh you know, under the sound of our voices. But he is not Jim Jordan. Right. [laugh] So that’s kind of where there are like we are going to have a really, really, really conservative leader who’s not a member of the Freedom Caucus or legislative arsonist. Uh. So Hakeem Jeffries knows he’s not going to be speaker. Yes, we still need a speaker of some sort to pass another continuing resolution to fund the government. Um. And, you know, they’ll come to it in some form over the next week. Maybe it might takes another two weeks. We will have a speaker. But the question is what kind of damage will be done to the leadership image of Republican the Republican Party as adults who are able to govern themselves and present an agenda for the whole country? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Got it. Well, it’ll be you know, this the news cycle has been just so wild that it feels like the shutdown was the number one conversation that it was, McCarthy resigned. Now that random guy is the speaker pro tem or something like that um kicked Nancy Pelosi out the office y’all like, y’all are just doing everything but governing. Oh, and then George Santos oh Myles did you see this Myles? Did you see George Santos carried a baby outside the office?

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. So first of all, I don’t know what the like the actual official tissue like declaration of his sexuality and his gender expression and his community is. But I know a sister when I see a sister. And [laughter] I was like, I didn’t I never got into like that I was like, oh wow, they really diversity points. They really got one of us to totally trade in. It looks so ridiculous. I had the we we been bingeing Dynasty and I saw that clip and it was so hard to differentiate the drama, the melodrama that was happening there from me bingeing eighties Dynasty episodes like what was going on, like deb– 

 

Don Calloway: Devolder. Devolder I believe is her name uh when she performs in drag. Uh. Yeah. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: What was the whole bit like? Yes, I did have a baby like I it’s not mine yet. What was what was that? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: There was no statement about the baby. That’s what makes it [laughter] even wilder.

 

Myles E. Johnson: I was sure that I just missed it. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: He said–

 

Myles E. Johnson: I was like oh I’m sure.

 

DeRay Mckesson: He said, it’s not mine yet or something like that. But there was no like actual statement about the baby and you’re like, what is it is, mind you, people’s lives are at stake here and it’s just like lah dee dah happening in Congress on the right. 

 

Don Calloway: But, not not totally removed from if you remember, about a year ago, all the buzz on the Hill was about Matt Gaetz, who had a son/lover uh who was a of Latino immigration status of some sort. Uh. And he was 19, 20, 21 years old, but he called him his son and at the time. But other people see him making out in the Capitol Hill area, you know, just a lot of weird craziness happening over there on the Republican side. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And they’re trying to throw Matt Gaetz under the bus now. And you’re like, he was fine with y’all up until this. C’mon now you all can’t be the arbiters of morality when he was your guy up until he forced Kevin McCarthy out. And Kevin McCarthy sucked so, like, you know. There’s that. Um. And I’m happy that that guy lost something because he was smug and he was a liar and talked out of both sides of his mouth and like all those things. Um. But it is really wild to think like that is the best of the government right now is these–

 

Myles E. Johnson: That’s wild. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: –bozos. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: That’s wild. So we’re going to go to Israel and Palestine and talk about what’s going on there. DeRay I’m very interested in hearing um what your opinions are on what’s going on. And then obviously I love your opinions, but also I think you’re so good at like, what can we do? Because the news is is loud, everything’s loud. I’m so interested in just in you kind of guiding some people on what is the safest thing to do with your mind in this moment and what is the safest thing, the direction to where to go, because there’s so much information and there’s so many kind of forces making you really want to pick a side. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Let me just say that it has been really interesting to see this conversation both unfold and evolve. So like all of you, I remember hearing the initial reports about Hamas’s attack on Israel, the people at the concert being killed and slaughtered, and the biggest loss of life in Israel from an attack since the creation of the state of Israel. And as just a full stop statement, there’s no way to condone that. That is wrong. There is no way you justify, I think, you know, killing people at a concert like that, like there is and I think that the initial that was the whole first conversation, and that makes sense to me. And then Israel responded and you’re like, okay I, it makes sense that there’d be a response, right? That like you would be like, who killed all these people in our country? And I actually know a lot of people who, you know, saw it, didn’t really know anything about Israel-Palestine, but were like, okay, we can’t have people just blowing up people at a concert and there’d be a response. And then the response was just so wild, I you know, cutting off water, electricity to all of Palestine, telling a million people they need to evacuate in 24 hours or or a little bit more potentially, But knowing that there’s no actual way to evacuate and the best evacuation is to go to Egypt. But they closed the bod– the border. Tons of kids being killed. And I saw the conversation very quickly coalesce around people being like, hey, I don’t know everything but genocide is wrong full stop. No matter who does it, no matter the reason people have, no matter how right they think they are, like we cannot support genocide. That is like a it just is a hard line. You want to figure out what’s going on with Hamas. Okay. Can’t support genocide. And it it still has been pretty wild to see people sort of shimmy this idea that you can’t support genocide as in like the total destruction of Palestine itself and the people therein um with some sort of critique of all of Judaism, because it is not that. And that is, you know, I just want to name that because I’ve seen that happen online. I’ve um, I’ve experienced that. So that’s like my framing for this. Now, what I understand as well is that all of us were, you know, aware when 9/11 happened. And I do think there’s something about the shock of events like this that really does just completely and totally shape your mind. That like the surprise, the shock, the rage. And it is hard to talk to people when they are shocked and raged all like I was one of them. Like I remember 9/11, I remember the announcement on the um I remember where I was I remember the announcement. I was in school. I remember my principal’s daughter was in one of the buildings. And there is only one response that people have when that happens to them. They’re like, oh, no, we got to and I I actually understand like that moment because we lived it, right? And we were wrong in Afghanistan. That was wrong. Do you know what I mean? Like we we, we some people said it then everybody needs to say now, we were wrong in Iraq. We killed so many, that was the wrong thing to do. America is wrong about a lot of these things. And I think it is consistent to say that then it’s consistent to say that like genocide is just a bad thing. Third thing I’ll say is that this moment has pushed a lot of people to start to learn about the creation of the state of Israel, the historical resistance of of Palestine. Like all of those things we should be talking about more than we have. And Myles, I’m sure you’ll bring up but like there’s been a long line of Black activists, Black writers, Black thinkers who have noted the Palestinian question as a defining question of generations. And I’m interested in that conversation happening. Yeah, that’s those are my like initial thoughts. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Absolutely love those thoughts. Yeah. Like you said, that that is just in my blood, my great grandmother or excuse me not my great grandmother, my [laugh] my grandmother would kill me if she heard me say that. Um. My grandmother was in the Black Panther Party. My mother went to the Black Panther’s um you know school in Bedstuy, um shout out to [?]. Um. So this is a conversation that’s been in my household my whole life, you know, and it has been something that we’ve talked about my whole life, even though it wasn’t always the hot subject matter in mainstream politics. And it goes beyond saying that violence and that brutality is horrific. But as somebody who’s lived in Black communities and as somebody who has been friends with people who have been in jail, who has family members where people who’ve been in jail, who have arrived at heinous, brutal conclusions of how they’re going to navigate this life. I do understand how somebody can be oppressed for decades, in silence for decades, and left out of their and kicked out of their home for decades, and how they arrive at brutal, desperate conclusions. Because settler colonialism makes you arrive at brutal conclusions. And it upsets me that I see so many people taking the side or trying to take a side in something that there is no there’s really no side on. It’s it’s it’s a horrible situation and if you know the root of it a.k.a Israel went in and and and took took this and took this land and that has been the constant struggle. It’s hard to not want to be a giraffe and look at the bigger picture of this of this situation and I think that I love that you mentioned 9/11 and these other moments that happened in America, because I do think there were a lot of Black people that said, I get how come there are people around the globe who do not like America. I get how there are people who are around the globe who don’t find the sanctuary or the holiness of America. Right. And want to do things. And I think it’s a part of sometimes our arrogance and and our colonial brainwashing that we think that you will go to somebody’s land, take it, deprive them of resources and brutalize them, and then there will just be no and then the response to that will just be, you know, centuries of piece? It baffles me. And I was watching YouTube, [laugh] and when I was watching YouTube, I saw an infomercial for Israel. If this if you’re picking a side in this moment, I think that you already are not seeing the bigger picture. But then if you’re picking the side of the people or the government, I should say not the people, but the government who is able to put out infomercials just less than a week after an attack. I would I would investigate why you’re on that side. To me, for different reasons, this still becomes one of the subject matters of our generation, because Israel has the the the American propaganda thing on their side. And you see a lot of people failing to really think critically and globally about why this event happened. So, again, to me it feels obvious, but just to reiterate, brutality and violence is wrong. But just like a riot it’s just like in moments of desperation that I’ve witnessed in like my own communities that I grew up in. I know that usually those moments of physical, intimate, personal violence and brutality have a political root. And it makes me sad that a lot of people who are supposed to be like kind of our shining lights during political moments don’t necessarily lead us back there because they’re afraid of maybe rightfully so, maybe of their own safety, or maybe just because they’re afraid of their brands being wavered or whatever. But it kind of feels like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode where I’m like, if you we just open our books, [laugh] we will see that there’s been a continuous silent war that’s been happening, and now we’re able to brand this attack in order to get as many people to be okay with the brutality that Israel has already probably has already planned to do for Palestine, was already wanting to do this. Just needed an ex just really need an excuse. And that’s my true to blue opinion on everything that’s going on. Like DeRay said, theradicalblackfeminist.com has put out a reader list of people like Toni Morrison, June Jordan, James Baldwin, um all um Malcolm X, all these people who have actually talked about, Nikki Giovanni, who have actually talked about uh this struggle. And I just beg people, no matter where you fall to read more about it, to read all sides about it, but then also remember specifically, if you’re a marginalized person where you fall in the struggle and and and try as much as you can, put your empathy there, too. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: You know, the only other thing I’ll double click on that you just said is that um when I think about 9/11, the other thing that reminds me of is part of the shock was that this wasn’t soldiers fighting each other. It was people who flew a plane into a white collar office building and then did it again, and then the Pentagon. And then right, I think it wasn’t it wasn’t soldiers on a battlefield in the middle of nowhere duking it out for two countries. It was bringing this to the middle of New York City. And like all of us, remember the wild I mean, that was a wild moment and the American response was wild too. I mean it was just it was a moment. And in that vein, this this, this the the chaotic conversation about this actually makes total sense to me. Um. And when you said, like we understand the frustration, I do think there’s something about and I didn’t get this until I became an adult, you know, I was sort of taught that America was right. Right? That like we sort of were the peacekeepers in the world. And we went around and we helped people figure it out. And we were the arbiters of democracy. And you’re like, well, you know, some people think that. A lot of people don’t think that, you know what I mean? A lot of people have a different understanding about the American involvement in foreign politics. Um. And you don’t have to condone people’s behavior to understand that. You know what I mean?

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yeah, the more that we put work into understanding an entire situation, because I think that is the biggest privilege of being American is that we got time to read Israel, we have time to read Palestine literature, and we have time to kind of analyze the cultural moment and see the infomercials and be critical of which um stations are saying what. We really have time to really. We we do actually have more time than we than we project about really sitting down and and thinking for ourselves when it comes to this and thinking for yourself just cannot come from the media cycle and what they want you to believe. Because it’s UK and it’s Germany and it’s and it’s America and that and in those places do not have good reputations when it comes to settler colonial histories and and and and their intentions when it comes to doing certain things. And if you find yourself rallying for that same side, it’s worth taking a critical look of of of have you been got? [laugh] Have you have you been politically influenced to take a side of the colonizer so you can be quiet during during, during these moments? This is not a new thing. It’s just our thing, you know? And I think that we have to stay critical when it’s our thing. 

 

Don Calloway: Ultimately, I think it’s important to remember that Palestine is not Hamas and Hezbollah. And Hamas and Hezbollah are not the people of Palestine. That’s one truth. Another truth is that we can stand with Israel in saying they deserve to live in peace in some land and not be exterminated. And you can never forget as the no pun intended, they always say never forget. In their lifetimes, their entire ethnicity was almost destroyed, wiped from the face of the earth. So they are correct to be extremely heightened about anti-Semitic talk, which leads to deeds, which, you know, is not disconnected from terroristic action from Hamas and Hezbollah that has lasted generations now. Um. But again, Hamas is not Palestine and Palestinians are not Hamas and Hezbollah. They also have some right to their ancestral homeland and to live in peace therein. It is not new, Myles, as you brought up your your ancestral history, um it is not new for Black, thoughtful intellects to have studied the Palestinian conflict. It is not new for thoughtful Black people who are fighting for liberation to align themselves with a greater global struggle for human rights, in which Black people are typically the ones catching the short end of that stick. And in the Middle Eastern conflict conflict, the side that Black liberationists would identify with, not side with, but certainly identify with is the Palestinians. Um. And so it is not it is not foreign or anti-Semitic to have some sympathies with not Hamas and Hezbollah, but with oppressed people who happen to be brown in a certain region. And and the Palestinians of Gaza have for generations been at this point an oppressed people, um and they are oppressed with the assistance of larger European and white American colonial governments across the board. There’s no disputing that. And, you know, I don’t claim to be an expert in this conflict, which is thousands of years old. I don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong. I do know that Israelis are right to be heightened because, again, there are people still living who saw their entire families and their entire ethnicity wiped out. And we could not imagine that type of pain, even with the legacy of slavery, because we were not right there having seen that in a way that many Jews were. Um. But that does not give them the right to systematically and intentionally oppress an entire nation of people um and conflate them with the fundamentalist terrorist elements that do exist in Palestinian culture and in the Palestinian milieu. Um. And what troubles me most, and this is just keeping it entirely 1000 with you all, what troubles me the most is the notion of even hinting at perhaps there is something other than just a 100% there is no two sides pro Israel is cancelable. Right? Just the notion that the idea of let’s have a thoughtful discussion about this in which we recognize Palestinian humanity is cancelable. Because that is not anti-Semitic to recognize the humanity of every group is not anti-Semitic and it is not to side with Hamas and Hezbollah. And uh yeah, it really worries me how we’re framing the public dialog around this because of what voices are being allowed to speak and what voices are being discouraged from speaking, but most importantly, what voices are being punished for even touching upon something that is not completely pro-Zionist. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: And we know this, right? We know this in our circles. We um at least I do because I’m in a I’m in a lot of um cultural, communal, identity based circles. So we so I’m very. I couldn’t tell you how many times I had to have this conversation. Talking out my neck sounding like my mother to somebody who’s trying to weaponize their transness, their Blackness, um their disability, or their poverty in order to silence somebody who has a critique or has an expansive idea. So we know that’s right. So, I like, there is there is nothing I don’t even feel the need to say this, but I will. There’s nothing enemy that that is um hateful towards any race of people because of their race or even because of their political their their political sides. There’s nothing in that and I mean, when it becomes anti-Semitic. But what I do notice is when people have critical thoughts that are based in literature, that are based in well thought out ideas that are not just somebody talking out of there, you know, you know what, Kanye and not just talk and not just talking out of their hatefulness, um Elijah Muhammad, but they have critical ideas about what’s happening and have critical ideas about settler colonialism no matter what race you are, that that’s not that that it doesn’t matter if you’re a Jewish settler colonial colonialist. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Black one. It doesn’t matter if you are a gay one, a trans one, an American one, or whatever the case might be. We’re not for that. And there’s no race that you can be where we’re not going to articulate not being for that. That is what’s scary about their their not being a being able to be a breadth of voices in opinions that talk about this subject matter. 

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, you’re listening to Pod Save the People. Stay tuned. There’s more to come. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Myles E. Johnson: On a much lighter note, and hopefully I’ll be the lightest of this note, we bout to talk about working out. [laughing] And that has been my um, my, my, my, my big thing I’ve had so many struggles. DeRay has been around me um up and down with my weight because of um mental issues and then different different um medications I have used that like are for anxiety but they made me gain weight and I’ve always just kind of had this internal struggle with gym culture and had this internal struggle with just how just just how because of the social media age, it used to be that gym culture and fitness culture was something that happened for 2 hours on Saturday or happened um sorry, R.I.P. Suzanne Somers. But Suzanne Somers and Jane Fonda when they were trying to revive their career. And now, because we all have access to our phones, everybody’s posting their diets, everybody’s trying to um show pictures of them in the gym and their workout journey. So it feels like gym and fitness culture has actually taken over our media diets in a way that I don’t that I think there’s a lot of people who are being really critical of it. And I’m one of those people. And as somebody who’s been like, Oh, I want to gain control back over my body and I love how I feel when I workout and when I dance and and when I eat well. But also I don’t want to feed into something. So I’ve been doing some just me being me. I do some studying around where did this come from? How did this happen? And there’s this Salon article that I found really um, really, really interesting that connects neoliberalism, our individualism to the heightened experience that we have with gym culture and fitness culture. So quoted in the Salon articles, it says the last half century may be considered the age of fitness, and it’s no accident that this coincides with the age of neo liberalism. Rather than generalizing call to arms here neo liberalism denotes an epoch that has modeled itself on the market, interprets every situation as a competitive struggle and enjoins people to make productive use of their freedom. So I love how this Salon article frames our obsession with fitness, our obsession with health, and our turning it into brands and businesses as a way of feeling political, social, political control. And it’s something to be. And it’s so easy because we are trained to be obsessive about it. I thought this felt very freeing and also made me feel like I was right in my mind. There’s another video by the um YouTuber intellect um James Somerton from Canada, who I think is a like really brilliant person who actually does the cultural connection of what we now see as um modern fitness culture with it’s it’s roots in um Nazi Germany and and um Nazi propaganda and the kind of bodies that um Hitler thought were the most desirable and how American soldiers looked to compete with those things. And how then during the 1950s, because um in Hollywood or excuse me, not the 1950s child, I wasn’t there, [laugh] but in the 1930s and forties they used to we start seeing um Hollywood endorsing these um these uh body figures, and we start seeing a commercialization of this idealistic body. The video is almost 2 hours. This Salon article is not the shortest one either, but I would really, really want everybody specifically privileged, economically and privileged Americans, to really think about what they’re throwing out there, even if it feels harmless. Because right now, even though we’re all one cell that’s a part of American media, we all are are a cell in American media. So me just following Don, my Don Don might be my only access to straight Black male culture, right? So if he’s only showing himself working out and and doing certain things, it creates this environment around bodies that really empowers the idea that there’s one body to have and there’s only one way to be healthy and there’s only one right healthy body, and that is a symptom of body fascism. So even as I’m on my own way of figuring out what’s healthy for my body and with my doctors, I have to be very critical about not recreating those things as I lose weight as I look healthier as I as um as you know, you feel sexy, too, and you just want to, you know, show it off, making sure that you’re not adding to the pool of body um that that what’s called in James Somerton’s hands um video body fascism where we kind of say one body is the healthy one and all of them are and everything else is uh it’s for not everything else is unhealthy. Everything else is not just unhealthy, but undesirable, ugly and shouldn’t be looked at. And we know for sure that that doesn’t work around Black people. As somebody whose whole matriarchal side is is big people who are living into 90. We know that there is probably something going on in in in people’s uh in people’s lives and DNA and cultures that makes us not all identical matches when it comes to fitness. And I thought that was an interesting thing because where, you know, DeRay’s DeRay’s um fit God. [laughing] But not but not but not but not not annoying uh gay man body fascist, but like but like is a fit God. And I think we all like love, health and stuff. And I thought this was a really interesting challenge around how we share our journeys, how we share our relationships with our bodies and our health in a way that does not continue oppressive ideologies that really are rooted in, I don’t want to say just rooted in Nazi Germany, but that’s where it came from, [laugh] just rooted in the in the worst of our past. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Myles. I’m happy this really gave me um language because I remember when I restarted, so I’ve probably been going to the gym consistently for a little bit over a year now, and this is probably my third attempt. I did it during COVID a little bit. That was a huge fail. And then I did it a little bit after COVID with trainers. And I just like, couldn’t I just couldn’t get it. I was like either the trainers were like trying to make me be some avenger on day one. [laughter] It just was like too much. And then this time I was like, you know what? I’m going to do it and I’m gonna put some rules in place. I was like, no powders. Like, I’m not making smoothies every day. I’m not doing that. So I’m not doing that, and then I just need to feel successful every day. Like that was my goal. I’m gonna go for an hour a day. I want to feel successful. I was like, I’m not taking body photos. So I’m not doing any before and after. Like, not a thing I’m going to participate in. And for the first four months I had no strength. I was like, you know, 15 lb dumbbells, 25 lb dumbbells, which was fine for me. And I was like, Well, since I don’t feel successful necessarily with the weights, I’m going to be cute. So I like, have the coolest gym clothes because I was like, I could do that every day. Like whether whether I can lift a single thing or not, be cute in the gym, I could do that. And that like, got me through it and it’s cool and now I’m stronger, blah, blah, blah, blah. But it was really important this go round to do it in my on my own terms and for my own reasons. And people have asked me like, do you have before and after photos da da and I’m like, I actually don’t I didn’t even I don’t even have them on my phone. I didn’t I never took like so you can you know I posted every day as like accountability. And I will say the proudest I’ve been is people being like, oh, I go to the gym now because I saw you do it slow and methodically. And it’s like, Yeah, I really did just like go in and was like, ah I hope I, hope I can do it and any day where I like sort of sucked at it I was like, I’ll be back tomorrow. Now what, what sort of touched what the article touched upon that what my first thought when I did mine is how much class plays into fitness. Is that being able to afford a gym that isn’t packed. Being able to like I had to eat my body weight in protein, that’s a lot of food. Like that’s a lot of something to get to 150 grams of protein every day. Like it actually reminded me of how class is so much a part of fitness in a way that you that I didn’t understand until I started to work out on a consistent basis. And the third thing I’ll say is, thank God I have a healthy body image already and I love there were Black organizers who would always say, that body got me here. Like [?] this body sustained me for a long like way before I ever got to a gym. This body loved me and took care of me. And I’m like, I love that. That’s like the most beautiful organizer thing. And it’s like because the Instagram algorithm, because I look up work workouts and stuff, my explore page is just chiseled guys some days and I’m like, whew thank God I don’t really have body dysmorphia because that is a cr– I look at a lot of things on Instagram, not just fitness, but because of the way the algorithm works. Like if I didn’t know any better, I would think that everybody was like this eight pack, you know? And it’s like that is thank God I like came to this differently, but it is like a thing. So I’m happy you brought this here. 

 

Don Calloway: You know, there are for me three different stops on this intellectual line of thought. And the first one is esthetics. The second one is fitness, and the third one is health. And these are three dramatically different concepts. And to be clear, esthetics matters the least because esthetics is whether or not it’s defined by Nazi Germany it’s defined by an unreachable standard that men or women shouldn’t be trying to aspire to right? And it bothers me to see my almost 15 year old, you know, in our gym downstairs trying to, he’s doing this for esthetics. At 44, I have gratefully reached the point where, yeah, I’m looking up work outs on Instagram, but I’m no longer trying to look like, you know, Simeon Panda or whatever these you know what I’m saying? Like, that’s no longer reachable for me. So I’m doing it to remain fit and thank God thus far I’m still fit right? But ultimately one can be fit and really not be healthy. What are you eating? Are your arteries clogged up? Are you smoking? How is your lung capacity? All of that stuff goes into health and health, uh Myles if it be, any encouragement to you, is, number one, the most important thing and number two, the most diametrically opposed from esthetics because you can’t always see health right? And by the way, this includes mental health. And a big part of why we should be working out is to sustain and maintain our mental health as well. So if you look at it along those three things, yeah esthetics is cool, right? It’s cool to be, you know, beach body, but that’s actually probably the least important aspect of all of this. Fitness is fun because you want to be fit and have a functional body. I want to be able to be walk up these stairs. I want to be able to walk around Brooklyn one day with my partner and not get winded. Fitness is important, but ultimately health is what’s most important. And that aspect is not only under emphasized, but it’s really not discussed at all when you’re talking about this really corrosive gym culture. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: I love that. So, Don, I have another question that’s kind of personal Barbara Walters style. So I feel like we don’t necessarily always hear about straight Black men’s um insecurities with their bodies. Did you have any type of journey? You don’t have to obviously you don’t have to go into details, but was that ever a struggle for you? Because sometimes it could just seem like Black men are just like born desirable, straight Black men are born desirable and come here ladies. Did you ever have some insecurities around body? That was

[seconds of silence]

 

Don Calloway: I’ve ever looked in a way that is, quote unquote, “undesirable.” Right. But you’re still holding yourself to an unreachable standard. So you can not feel happy in your own bodily esthetics, even if you’re fit. Even if you’re healthy because you’re searching for the least the least of the importance, which is that a certain esthetic, right, the six pack with the whole symmetrical everything. And, you know, hey, listen, you know, I haven’t done bad, but I’m not you know, uh [laughter] I’m not I’m not DeRay at this point, I look at his workout post everyday and I’m like, wow, that’s incredible. Right. And but but that’s not what I’m searching for. But yeah, I mean, look, from 13 to you know 30 when when when the the the standard is uh AC Slater. Right. Dating myself but it is what it is. The standard is you know Odell Beckham. No you’re not that and I think it’s important for straight Black boys to understand that you’re still beautiful if you’re not that and don’t kill yourself or hurt others trying to pursue that. Right. Because that’s just as unreachable as the Barbie standard or the hourglass standard uh for women. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I will say this makes me think of two things. One is I didn’t know anything about steroids before I started going to the gym. And I look at some of these guys, I’m like, oh, that’s not like no I could go to the gym 20 hours a day. And I’ll never look like that. 

 

Don Calloway: That’s not doable. That you can’t get that. That’s not natural. That’s right. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Yeah, I can’t get it this way, right? So like, that really helped me. Also, like, I didn’t I didn’t have body goals when I started. I literally was like, I’m gonna go every day and, like, try and see what I can do with my body. The second thing is now, because I go to gym every day, I have a lot of friend dates in the gym, so I’ll go with I go with a lot of people. If anybody ever wants to go to the gym, let me know. And um there are so many guys who have gorgeous esthetic bodies who have no functional strength. 

 

Don Calloway: That’s right. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Like, we’ll be doing like the basic squats, like 5 lb weights on shoulders and like cannot are struggling, like, literally are like but you look at their body and it’s like, you know, six pack big biceps, but like literally no functional strength. You’re like, you couldn’t carry a suitcase down you know what I mean? You actually have no functional strength. And that is something that I didn’t even like shout out to my trainers because we did so much functional stuff at the beginning. Like that was that was what I learned. So even the things I post are things that are like, I’m like, Oh, this is like really taking my body to the new level. But, but I just didn’t even I to me muscles meant you are strong. That is like what I thought before I went to the gym and I’m like, Oh no, these boys got a lot of muscle and body and, you know, 25 lbs is their max on a lot of things because they actually don’t have functional strength. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: And I love that you mentioned that. The last thing I’ll say before we wrap on this is outside of my own fitness journey and my health journey um because I’m I’m healthy, you know, and and but I had never lost weight without doing it unhealthily. Um. And because I’m trying to find this balance between um meds and how my body’s reacting and stuff like that, it’s like, how do I stay walking around Brooklyn and and ready for whatever pops off in Brooklyn and and being and being present and stuff like that. 

 

Don Calloway: People have stages as well, so right. Like, like so super DeRay probably won’t last forever, right? [laughter] But you know, you want him to maintain his health and fitness after he gets out of this, you know, soldier phase. Right and, you know, I’ve been, I’ve been smaller than I am now. I’ve been bigger than I am. I’ve been more cut than I am now. My worry is that I pray that someone is not pursuing that out of a sense of self-worth. Like if I’m not if I don’t get this esthetic, I’m not worthy or I’m not beautiful. But more importantly, I pray that they center health right regardless–

 

Myles E. Johnson: Right. 

 

Don Calloway: –of the esthetic and and regardless of, you know, how this looks for the gram, you just pray that they’re centering uh uh their overall wellness and health and that can look so many different ways. You know and, but I think you’re you bring up something interesting that when we not around everybody every day and you see them on social media and you see people dealing with these like you see people who work out and get ready for shows and then five years later, say oh that was a phase. I did that, I did that bikini show [?] and it was awesome. Um. And so I want to I want to allow people the opportunity to work out and and and pursue various versions of themself in the fullness of their own humanity. But I just really pray that we’re all centering just a sustainable health and wellness state of being as opposed to, you know, this, this, this ephemeral and quite toxic esthetic space. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: I absolutely love that. And I wrote one time that I believe in vanity. I’m a vanity [?] fan. I love [laughter] all I love all things glamor. I think a good way to think about it is if your vanity is fueled by fantasy itself, it’s healthy. 

 

Don Calloway: Yes. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: If it’s fueled by expectations of society, it needs to be investigated. So as long as it’s filled with oh I made up this superhero supermodel in my head, and I’m going to do things that don’t compromise my my actual health to do it. You know, I’m in the trans community. We we I will I will be getting on the table. I will be getting botox me up like I’m fighting it with my whole life. So I totally get the manipulation through beauty and glamor. Um. But I also think that it you we should investigate who who who who did that voice come from? You know so. 

 

Don Calloway: Yes. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: I love this. I never hear people, young men, talk about this. [laughter]

 

Don Calloway: That’s a real thing. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Don can find peace. 

 

Don Calloway: It’s a real thing. [laughter]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Don’t go anywhere. More Pod Save the People’s coming. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: This week we welcome Daria Dawson on the pod. She is a national political director at America Votes. During her career in Democratic and progressive politics. Daria has served as the director of strategic engagement for then Senator Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign, and the deputy national political director at the SEIU. There, she led the congressional lobbying efforts of the Fight for 15 campaign in it’s early stages. We talk about all things progressive politics, where we go, where we’re going. Here we go. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Daria, thanks so much for joining us today on Pod Save the People. 

 

Daria Dawson: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me here. I’m so excited about this. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: So let’s start with your journey to this work. What’s your story? How did you get here? Did you always care about voting? Were you always an organizer? Did something happen that sort of pushed you into this space and made you commit your work to this? What’s your story? 

 

Daria Dawson: Starting this conversation with that. I grew up in the south, North Florida, which is still the south, um and I am the product of two educators, Black educators in the South, one on a collegiate level, one um teach a former elementary school teacher. Um. And my parents were raised to be involved in the process. And it is something that they instilled with me and my brother very early on. For them, voting was a way to have their voice heard. And my parents, both being products of the greatest generation, being baby boomers, I would say too young to be engaged with the civil rights movement. But knowing the impact of it, both going to school during the time when integration was still pretty new. Both of my parents are actually like that first set of students to like, integrate their high schools in the South. So that is something, you know, they were living history. Um. So voting was something that they always said both of my parents super voters since they were 18 years old. So teaching my brother and I how valuable that is. Um. And I was raised on the motto of if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. And speaking up for what is right. You know, I hear stories my mom would share with me of like taking me to the voting booth on, you know, going to vote with me on her hip as a baby. So it was automatic [laugh] for us to do that. And I think just growing up, um it just stuck with me. So I’ve been doing politics pretty much since I finished law school back in 2000… Um [laugh] just not to share my age, but I’ve been doing this work for about 20 years and my first job out of law school was in the state legislature in Florida, which was a different time actually, when it was a collegial process of Democrats and Republicans working together. Got the bug for campaigns and, you know, traveled all over the country, living on folks’ couches to be an organizer, knock on doors, talk to people. So I’m of the old school of in order to engage a voter, engage a person in the process is to actually have a direct, direct conversation. So that has always just stuck with me and the work that I’ve done. In addition to campaigns, labor unions uh worked for two big labor unions in labor states. So being an organizer is just been instilled in me to just communicate with voters, teach voters, teach people about the process, because we’re seeing in real time now that if people didn’t care about your voice and voting, they wouldn’t do so many things to restrict that. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: So let’s talk about America Votes and and how you how how, how this work is situated in the landscape of work around voting. There’s a lot of work that’s been happening around voting. What do what are you all adding to the space? How would you define your work and help us think through it? 

 

Daria Dawson: Absolutely. So America Votes um is the coordination hub of the progressive movement. It’s a coalition table, and it was formed in 2003 to bring progressive organizations, those organizations that had a vested interest in uh political power to coordinate and be aligned on the vested outcomes. And at the time, if you think back to 2003, going into the 2004 cycle, that was when it was about the reelection of George Bush and like not good for the progressive community. Right. So a little thing happened, ironically, during that time, also when it came to like knowing the data and having data, being able to track who we engage with. So you had these organizations like the choice groups and the labor unions come together to really say, hey, let’s do this in a coordinated way because we’re going to be talking to the same voters. We don’t have unlimited resources in doing that. So let’s keep track of who’s talking to who and also identify who those trusted messengers are, who are the best messengers to engage with the constituencies that we need to turn out. Fast forward um fifteen years, maybe sixteen years later, when you’re looking at that time between 2016 to 2020 and the coalition in itself needing to identify, okay, the voters that we need to communicate with of course, the young voters, people of color, we do not win without having constant communications with those voters. And how do we identify who are the best messengers to come to the table? So there was a tremendous growth between in the post ’16 after the election of 25. Sorry, 45 excuse me, 45 as president of new groups being formed and coming to the coalition. Again, to be a part of that coordination effort. I became the political director in 2019, right before the 2020 cycle and right before the pandemic, um and really took it personally to identify the organizations that have the chops to talk to those communities that the Table of America votes must look like the electorate that we need to engage and educate and turn out for the 2020 election and beyond. So we focus on a couple of things when it comes to education, particularly voter education, and you’re looking at what that means for the election administration laws in states and ensuring that voters are educated on the what’s the ins and outs of actually going to vote. Um. And then mobilization, turnout, not waiting until the end of the election cycle, not waiting until Labor Day of an election year to engage with voters. But think about it as a yearlong process. And the thing that is so unique about America Votes is that we actually have infrastructure in key states, in the battleground states that you would imagine, which also includes Georgia, which also includes North Carolina, of setting up long term infrastructure, where our staff there is thinking about how do we when, what are the universes we need to connect with um and who are the best people, organizations, messengers to connect with those voters throughout the process. So it’s education it’s accountability um and then connecting with those voters to get them mobilized to turn out not just on Election Day, but educating them also of every opportunity to vote from the date that ballots drop. Because in a lot of states, ballots drop in September of an election year. So if you’re waiting till September to talk or October to talk to a voter, chances are they may have already voted. So how do we engage and educate our our contacts, constituents, voters, audiences um of all of the opportunities to vote from the date that ballots drops? And also keeping in mind that a lot of the organizations at our at the coalition have a lot of things that they are focused on. Right. Whether it is building power, whether it is organizing members, whether it is abortion or climate change and policy implementations. And but the key to that, we believe, is ensuring that the progressive leaders are elected to office and focus on winning elections. But elections are only one tool in the toolbox. So America Votes has of takes that off of the community to think about how do we engage the constituencies and voters that we need to turn out to vote, and we focus on that for our coalition. They trust us to do that, and then everyone can think about the other things that they need to do for the benefit of their organizations. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: What do we need to think about as we go into 2024? So, you know, I think I’m one of the people who, Lord knows, have been inundated with the like, you know, the last president was ripping up the mailboxes so people couldn’t vote by mail. You know, some people are, some places are doing you know Pennsylvania just did automatic– 

 

Daria Dawson: Voter registration. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: –voter registration through the DMV. And then you get the whole other spectrum. Right. The people are you know, you got to show up like at a certain period of time and if you don’t do it then. 

 

Daria Dawson: Right. Right.

 

DeRay Mckesson: And I know in Georgia, it was that um they can now feed people in lines again because that was a restriction last– but but what what do we need to be paying attention to? What what are the questions we should be asking? What are there hot spots around the country we should be particularly paying attention to like what’s the what? 

 

Daria Dawson: I appreciate you starting with Pennsylvania on that, because I do think um in addition to keeping our eyes out on the restrictive policies that are coming into place. We also have to look at opportunities to expand. Right. So like a consequence of having a Democratic governor in Pennsylvania was to allow for automatic voter registration through the DMV offices. So I think what we have to to answer your question, I think one thing we need to keep in mind, with 2024, if the trends continue from ’18 2022, then this is going to be a historically high turnout. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to win. Our people are going to turn out. So education has to be a part of it. I do think what’s happened since the last administration, federal um 45, um because I refuse to say names, is that people are more clued in and understand what’s at stake. I do think we saw that with the Supreme Court, with the Dobbs decision, and essentially taking away a right that, you know, 50 years, they say the Supreme the same Supreme Court, not the same court, but the court also said was a constitutional right. I do think people are very clued in as to elections do have consequences and that there has to be engagement at all levels. But what we are saying that we need to keep our eyes on is, as I mentioned earlier, those election administration changes that happen on in the states, especially those states that have anti democracy legislatures. We are living in a time when it is very clear that one party is anti democracy. They believe in building power. They believe in sustaining power. But we’re seeing actually that they can’t really legislate for anything. So what are these anti democracy legislatures doing to chip away, chip away at opportunities of young people, people of color, to actually engage in the process? Perfect example in Wisconsin. Uh. We I’m sorry, not necessarily in Wisconsin, but we definitely saw in the ’23 Supreme Court race of young people turning out on those college campuses and like lines wrapped around buildings for hours and hours for a state Supreme Court race. Right. Which is going to be essential to how um abortion rights and also gerrymandering in Wisconsin. So what are some legislatures thinking about now? Let’s not have precincts on college campuses. Who is that impacting? You know, that’s an easy way. We’re making it too easy for these young people to get engaged. So let’s move those precincts off of college campuses. It’s little things like that that we need to keep our eyes on. You know, and we talk about Atlanta um excuse me, Georgia. When you say, you know, you couldn’t feed people in lines. And um and as they’re standing out you couldn’t give people water while they’re standing in line. Voter suppression, Right. Because, you know, moving polling places at the last minute is an opportunity and that has actually happened in some states also. Any time in my opinion, any time when someone is standing in line more than 30 minutes to vote is voter suppression. You know, I think we need to keep our eyes out when they have early voting, just 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., like we’re going to do early voting, but we’re going to have it Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm. What are most people doing Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.? We’re going to have early voting, but we’re not going to do it on Sundays. We’re just going to have it on Saturdays. Well, you and I both know what happens on Sundays. Black people go to church and organize the souls to the polls. So it’s those little things that we have to be aware of and have friends and allies that know um the laws, I should say excuse me, that know the laws and have those relationships with the county Board of Supervisors with the secretary of state’s office, because those are the ones that actually set the parameters for um the voting rules in the states and in the counties. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Now, because you’ve been in this work so deep around voting, are there any misconceptions that you hear people sort of talk about or bring up that we should clear up? Like I you know, I know some people you know, I know people who are like, I you know, I’m not I don’t want a driver’s license because they gonna make me go to jury duty. And da da da, [?] [laughter] Oh my goodness. Um. But are there any things about the way people have sort of thought about voting or it doesn’t apply to them or, I don’t know, like are there, I have to imagine you’ve heard such a range of things. 

 

Daria Dawson: I think the biggest misconception, and I’m sure you’ve heard this too, is that my vote is not my vote’s not going to count. Right. And I think in a world where the Electoral College matters, people think that. But the Electoral College is determined by the votes within those states. So if you’re in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, uh I just said pretty much the states that is a pathway to 270. Right. But it’s not the only path to 270. And I forgive me for like leaning into the federal side, but at the same time, I think a misconception on that point is that people only think about the presidential and not everything else. And if there’s anything that we should learn from where we are right now with the Supreme Court is that every federal election is about the Supreme Court. Right? It’s not just a presidential. Yes, the president appoints those judges, but at the same time, the Senate confirms those judges. So what you saw happening for the past couple of years before 45 became president was Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans getting judges confirmed on the lower courts. Right. With the help of the Federalist Society. And now we’re seeing like those justices in the lower courts are those that are being appointed, you know, higher. So again, sticking with federal that is, I’m always going to lean into that. But if anything, we should learn and I think the ’16 election taught us this was it’s not just about the top of the ticket anymore. And the best quote that I’ve ever heard someone say was, yes, the presidential and who the executive office of the United States is important. But if you want to get the resources from the White House to your house, then you have to have the right people in the state house. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And what um what can people do? What can listeners do who are like, you know what? We get it. Yes. How can I be involved? What would you say to them? 

 

Daria Dawson: I would say find ways to get involved in the issue that you care about. Right. Um. You know, super exciting news recently about the Climate Corps that this administration is rolling out, mimicking the Peace Corps of the JFK administration. Climate change is real. Like, don’t let anyone else tell you differently. If that’s your issue, then look at those organizations that are doing that type of work and sign up to volunteer. Go, go to their website, get their talking points, communicate with your peers about that. If abortion or criminal justice or anything, that is your issue that gravitates towards you. And I’m sorry, I can’t believe I didn’t say this gun reform. If that is your thing, then look at it. Look at ways to get more engaged with the organizations that are leading on those issues. It’s not necessarily all about supporting an elected official. A lot of the groups at our table is not necessarily about, you know, we’re going to elect this Democrat for this office, it’s more so like we’re going to let the candidate that is best on our issues and the one that we can hold accountable in moving those policies um towards a more for a more just society. So, yes, you can, of course, make a plan to go vote and make a plan for ten people in your life to go vote. But at the same time, I think you have to get involved on the issues that move you and the issues that are essential for your communities to thrive. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Uh. Where can people go to stay, stay in touch with your work or stay up to date on what’s happening? Is there a site and should they follow somebody?

 

Daria Dawson: You know, America Votes. We do have a site AmericaVotes.org. And on that site we have all of the partners listed in our coalition and we have their organizations linked on our website. So you could always, you know, get in touch through us that way um or just track the di– how diverse the coalition in itself is. Um. Yeah, um but I’m also on the site formerly known as Twitter. Um. If  folks just want to just you know DM me, follow me, etc. welcome that. Welcome to like hear back as to like you know, figure out ways to get involved in the process because again it is about turning out to vote come whenever that special election that general election, that primary election. But it’s also about the before and after when it comes to voting and being involved in the accountability, being involved in the education also. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And the last question is, what’s a piece of advice that you’ve gotten over the years that has always stayed with you? 

 

Daria Dawson: You know, I’m going to take it back to to my mom. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. [music break]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Well, that’s it. Thanks so much for tuning in to Pod Save the People this week. Tell your friends to check it out and make sure you rate it wherever you get your podcasts whether it’s  Apple podcasts or somewhere else. And we’ll see you next week. Pod Save the People is a production of Crooked Media. It’s produced by AJ Moultrié and mixed by Evan Sutton. Executive produced by me and special thanks to our weekly contributors Kaya Henderson, De’Ara Balenger and Myles E. Johnson.