stacey abrams is the future of the union

February 6, 2019
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If you didn’t watch the State of the Union last night then you have something in common with Stacey Abrams, who became the first Black woman to give the Democratic Response to the address. Abrams isn’t even an elected official — thanks to the fact that an election was stolen from her — but her fight hasn’t stopped since the midterms. Here is a Black woman, unelected, whose voice now serves as the equal and opposite response to the garbage barge of lies delivered by the most powerful man on the planet. It’s a moment and we cannot let it pass us by before fully luxuriating in its implications.

Abrams started by introducing the American people to a concept of “family values” that isn’t a caricature of a ’50s suburban life. “Faith,” “Service,” “Education” and “Responsibility” were values that Stacey used to include her family into the narrative of the working-class American family — it is these pillars that helped the Abrams’ navigate the unforgiving waters of trying to keep a working-class family afloat. The Abrams family form a part of the substantial subset of working-class Americans excluded by the notion of what a “working American” constitutes because they are Black and now Stacey has used her visibility to shift and expand that narrative.

Where Abrams really began to soar was her mentioning of the consistent failings of the occupant of the Oval Office — particularly, the government shutdown that left over 800,000 federal workers without wages for weeks. Career politicians enjoy a privilege that divorces them from the reality of the average American and the growing gap between these classes manifests in a president who would leverage the livelihoods of government workers to scrape an arbitrary win. Stacey described it best when declaring that “the shutdown was a stunt engineered by the president of the United States. One that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned, not just our people, but our values.”

She displayed the gravitas of a politician who understood that the American people came before partisan agenda and that the art of the compromise between parties is crucial in the quest to serve the will of the people as a public servant.

“Our most urgent work is to realize American’s dreams of today and tomorrow. To carve a path to independence and prosperity that can last a lifetime,” said Abrams. Trump didn’t bother mentioning our pending climate-related demise because the profitability of poisoning the planet outweighs actually being able to survive on it.

Stacey’s crowning moment was her assertion that “the foundation of our moral leadership around the globe is free and fair elections — where voters pick their leaders, not where politicians pick their voters.” In a political climate where power is used to deliberately shame, harm and exclude, the democratic credo that the US spent the past century building has fallen away to be replaced by the power and money grab that is modern politics. “America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants, not walls,” Abrams adds, emphasizing the legacy of an America built by immigrants.

Stacey Abrams delivered the State Of The Union that Americans desperately need right now. An assurance that there may not be any adults in the room but they sure are ascending the ranks of politics. In her final remarks, Abrams says “even as I am very disappointed by the president’s approach to our problems, I still don’t want him to fail, but we need him to tell the truth and respect his duties and respect the extraordinary diversity that defines America,” providing a classy and hopeful rebuttal to an administration that is a stranger to both. What Abrams is saying that America needs a leader right now and if they can’t find it in the Oval, then they can just look to her and the new class of Democrats.

Stacey Abrams is the future of the Union. She is a capable and compassionate force that every elected official can aspire to. She represents the American story while serving as a reminder of the resilience of the American dream. I know I’m ready for the next Abrams campaign.