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maryann johanson | #BlackLivesMatter

question of the weekend: Which political figure do you admire most, and which do you detest?

Emmeline Pankhurst arrested

We’ll wrap up a week of politics with a question from reader FormerlyKnownAsBill, who wants to know:
Which political figure do you admire most, and which do you detest? And why?

I think we can be generous and extend the definition of “political figure” to include not only those who hold or have held elected office but any public figure who has fought for or advocated political goals.

I find it hard to have any faith in many politicians today because they don’t seem to live their publicly held positions — as with, for instance, the many right-wing politicians who shout about a very narrow definition of “family values” but behave in ways contrary to them — and also because many of them will not be impacted in any negative way by the actions they take (or don’t take) in office: rich politicians who will never have to worry about making ends meet if taxes go up or benefits are cut, for instance, or male politicians who will never get pregnant and are vanishingly unlikely to ever face sexual assault or harassment. What they do publicly seems too much like a game to me, as they toy with peoples’ lives, and that infuriates me. So I detest almost all of them. At the moment, the Republican “Team Rape” is top of the list. The fact that they lost big on Election Day is a relief.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that my most admired political figures are those who actually lived what they stood for. Rosa Parks didn’t set out to be a political figure, but fuck yeah, she was tired of taking shit and just refused to take it anymore one day. Mahatma Gandhi was a bit of a weirdo in some ways, but his method of nonviolent protest is magnificent. Suffragettes who went to jail and sometimes died because they believed they had the right to participate in public life are awesome to me. So I’m gonna go with Emmeline Pankhurst in the U.K. and Susan B. Anthony in the U.S., who didn’t sit on the sidelines but got into the real, physical fight for what they believed was right, and for something that has benefitted all of us.

Your turn…

This QOTW comes via a previous QOTW, which asked “What kinds of things would you like to learn about your fellow FlickFilosopher readers?” Feel free to continue adding suggestions there for me to grab for future use.

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