Sunday, August 05, 2018

Anecdotal thoughts on the governor's race

A friend of mine, who I've had the pleasure of knowing for more than a decade, Brenna Lane posted some anecdotal thoughts on the race for governor of Michigan on her personal Facebook page. She addressed some things that she had seen about Democratic candidates Shri Thanedar of Ann Arbor and Abdul El-Sayed of Detroit.

With her permission, I wanted to share her thoughts with everyone as a guest commentary. The following are her observations on Shri Thanadar's campaign as well as her personal experiences with Abdul El-Sayed, which I publish here with only minor editing.

Stock photo by Sanja Gjeneor/Pixabay
Some anecdotal thoughts on the Governor's race here in Michigan:

Story #1
In my economically distressed neighborhood in Highland Park, there are Shri Thanadar signs everywhere. While driving home yesterday, I saw a van in the parking lot at Dean's liquor store at McNichols and Second. It was unmarked, but two men stood at the open back doors, one handing bundles of Shri signs to the five or six men waiting in line to receive them while the other counted cash and gave it to a man who had a bundle of signs under his arm.

I later saw my neighbor go by carrying a Shri Thanedar sign. I asked him if he was pulling it out and he said, "no, I'm putting them in all up and down the block." I asked, "Willie, why are you supporting this guy?" and he replied, "because they gave me $20 if I put out 20 signs."

Story #2
During my junior year of high school, I attended Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills. Abdul El-Sayed was in my grade. We had Calculus and AP Physics together. He was generally kind, humble, and very smart.

One time, I was waiting for our bus with my girlfriend who had presented a paper in one of her classes that day. She was dressed up for the occasion - wearing a skirt (out of character for her) and it was the first day she had ever worn makeup to school (the first time her mother ever allowed it). She was heavy handed with the makeup, and her look that day was a stark contrast to the way she normally dressed, which was a much more conservative, nerdy-bookish look.

Four guys on the basketball team, all seniors, approached us and asked my friend if she was planning to "go to 8 Mile" (that is, become a prostitute). They continued by asking her how much she would charge, making hand signs mimicking oral sex and thrusting their hips as they laughed. She was trying not to cry, I was telling them to fuck off.

Abdul El-Sayed was walking down the hall, saw what was happening and got between us and the guys. He asked them if that's how they thought men behaved. He asked "do you feel proud right now? getting laughs from your friends at the expense of her feelings?"

I don't remember everything Abdul El-Sayed said that day in high school, but it was basically like "you guys are seniors, this girl is a sophomore, pick on someone your own size or better yet, don't be the kind of man who picks on anyone."

The called him a f****t, and her a whore again a few times and then left. Abdul El-Sayed apologized to both of us. He said that things will be different when we were out of high school and the boys grew up to be adults.

Although I'm still not sure he was right on that last part, Abdul El-Sayed was standing up to bullies that were bigger than him and pushing back against toxic masculinity when he was 16 years old. Even if I didn't love his politics, I would still vote for this guy because of his character. He truly is a servant leader.

This is a crucial primary. Please - get out and vote. And if you employ people, please give them the time to vote.

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