A Reflection on Tonight’s First-Round Presidential Debate
I have noticed that, when you’re straight, white, male and otherwise “privileged,” you can allow yourself to focus on issues like “the economy” as though it were something isolated about which you can be objective. However, when your everyday lived-experience lies in a category other than one of those (straight, white, male, etc.), your marginalization makes you focus on those, and then your focus on “social issues,” considered the discursive antithesis of economic issues, makes your perspective less important than those whose focus is on the most important: “the economy.” White supremacist capitalist patriarchy maintains its authority by making us focus on our identity and then calling into question our priorities.
So, I will admit that, going into tonight’s debate, centered on the economy, I was less educated, and always have been, than I am on “social issues.” Nevertheless, I propose that we have to see how the economy is itself a social issue. I’d like to see how we can put it in conversation with those issues we ghettoize as “the culture wars”—to see more clearly how they inform one another, rather than closing off “the economy,” as we are wont to do, as something about which we can be objective.