Chelsea Manning: I'm running so I can "challenge the establishment"

Somebody needs to get this guy a whip and a chair because everywhere convicted traitor Chelsea Manning goes these days there seems to be something of a circus. As we recently learned, the Army private (he’s still technically on active duty while his appeal plays out) announced that he’s running for the Senate in Maryland. Despite the fact that he appears to have zero chance of winning this primary battle, Manning is still able to attract a press following when he holds an event or releases a statement.

This week he’s clarifying what it was that drove his decision to run. It turns out that he really wants to challenge the establishment. (Stars & Stripes)

“This is not the home I expected to come home to,” said Manning, 30, the transgender former Army private who spent seven years in federal custody for passing classified government documents to WikiLeaks. “This is another prison. . . . I need to figure out how we’re going to survive it.” …

“The establishment needs to be challenged, and it needs to be challenged in their footholds and in the places where they feel safe,” she said during an interview in the sun-filled living room of her Rockville, Maryland, apartment.

A framed copy of President Barack Obama’s order commuting her 35-year sentence hangs above the mantel, flanked by photos of anarchist Emma Goldman and playwright Oscar Wilde, both of whom faced imprisonment.

Well, Manning is certainly challenging the established conventions of medical science if nothing else. While there’s not much of substance here in terms of politics (beyond a few xeroxed, far left talking points), it’s more interesting to note the tremendous amount of admiration that Manning seems to have for… himself. Comparing yourself to Emma Goldman and Oscar Wilde is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? Granted, Goldman was an anarchist and attempted murderer who advocated violent revolution, but she wasn’t actually a traitor. And she also at least had the courage of her warped convictions and went out and actually did something beyond steal sensitive data and give it Wikileaks. Wilde was a different story, but wound up fighting a system in Victorian-era England which wouldn’t produce similar court cases today.

Manning finally gets down to at least one issue which he apparently wants to campaign on. Specifically, he seems to be trying to restructure the debate on criminal justice reform.

“This isn’t about criminal justice reform,” she said, “it’s about criminal justice restructuring. We need to start closing prisons. We need to start releasing prisoners.”

One can certainly see how Manning would want prisons closed, but that’s not an answer to any current challenges facing the country and isn’t going to draw serious support. As to the need to “start releasing prisoners” in the United States, one might argue that we release too many already.

Well… at least one too many.