Yesterday, Jazz wrote about Chelsea Manning’s decision to enter the Senate race in Maryland as an “unapologetic progressive.” Chelsea also released a kickoff campaign ad yesterday which presents America as a dystopian place of fear and oppression. The clip uses lots of slow motion video of street battles in Charlottesville as if that were representative of the nation. A narrator (or is that Chelsea?) intones:
We live in trying times.
Times of Fear— of suppression— of hate.
We don’t need more—or better leaders.
We need someone willing to fight.
We need to stop asking them to give us our rights.
They won’t support us. They won’t compromise.
We need to stop expecting that our systems will somehow fix themselves.
We need to actually take the reins of power from them.
We need to challenge them at every level.
We need to fix this. We don’t need them anymore.
We can do better. You’re damn right #WeGotThis
This could be the trailer for any one of the dystopian, teen-lit movies which have been so popular in the past decade, i.e. Maze-Runner series. Given Manning’s preferred gender perhaps the Divergent series is a better fit or better yet the Hunger Games. Without very much effort you can imagine Katniss Everdeen (actress Jennifer Lawrence) reciting this entire speech as she rallies the troops of district whatever to fight President Snow (actor Donald Sutherland) and his goons. Chelsea Manning is the girl on fire.
I guess we should all be thankful that at least Manning isn’t referencing Harry Potter and Dumbledore’s Army. Beyond the atmospherics of this clip, what is it exactly that Manning is promoting here. He’s talking about taking power “from them” as he shows images of the White House and the Congress, but how would becoming an elected Senator in Maryland take power away from these institutions exactly? Doesn’t participating in the system as a candidate reinforce the system?
At the very end, Manning says “We don’t need them anymore.” At this point, it really does sound like Manning is calling for an entirely new system of government, one that would replace the existing systems that won’t “fix themselves.” What is this new system and what would it look like exactly?
The only person who would actually lose power if Manning won this race is incumbent Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat and one of the more consistently progressive members of the Senate. The site Progressive Punch gives Cardin an “A” rating and a lifetime 96.3% record of voting for the progressive position. Can Chelsea actually do better for Maryland’s progressives than that? This clip really doesn’t explain how that would work.