Stacey Abrams believes deeply that the problems facing America today - police brutality, racial discrimination, economic inequality, Covid-19, creeping authoritarianism - all require the same solution: Free and fair elections. As the only Black woman ever nominated for Governor by a major party, Stacey tells Marc how she maintains hope that obstacles can be overcome and change can be achieved. Stacey also talks about how her family traditions of faith and service shaped her political identity and how her interests in acting, physics and writing romance novels made her who she is. This episode is sponsored by HBO Max, Space Force on Netflix, and SimpliSafe.
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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all right. Let's do this, how are you what the fuckers, what the fuck bodies, what the FUCK Nics, what the fuck a delicate one?
Happening I Mark Marin.
This is my show.
Is anybody? Has anybody seen the light? I want to know.
Has anybody seen the light God
dammit. Please, please, I'm
have to stay in the present man. I really do I guess,
That's the goal that most of us a
we aspire to that. Do you I mean.
You want people say be present, or you know that here the now this is. It wasn't like right now, right now, right now, right now, everything's, ok, right now, right now is it.
Today. I talk to arm.
Doktor Stacy Abrams.
Election day, so when the ship was going down.
In Georgia? Although-
malfeasance all fucked up now.
Broken machines in ten.
General chaos reaped upon.
The voting public of Georgia.
By Governor Brien Camp in his allies.
And I'm not being political here. This is a fact.
So that was going on when I talk to a Stacy. So that's what they were referring to at the beginning of the business of the talk and I'll get to that.
She checking with you guys what they want,
audio ass Monday. It's been a while.
A couple of days here,
they get all kind of settled in
The passing of my girlfriend Lynn, Shelton.
The Arctic is weak. Fourth coming into the end of weak, for since she passed.
Lot lot fewer people check in which is normal kind of abrupt.
The sort of dissipates.
The people who have been talking you every day I talk to. I cried too.
But the alone. This.
If I want to call it loneliness yet, but
He alone this thee
reality of loans
I guess this is what happens in Greece,
I mean loneliness of some kind of yearning. I just.
I was too
We were one.
Now I am one.
The weight of that kind of hit me come
I am going to sit there and I realize.
The wash just hits me just like breaks me down. Just opens me fuck it up. You know like she's gone out of that we had. Everything was
sweet. Now, it's gone, it's all got it's like my life is a different life.
I forget how old,
my friend Steve I seem to be doing. I think it's better
To have someone to howl with their act,
Somebody holding the space? So you can do it.
And then that night
Dave Cross Special sloppy.
Mean Dave sort of started out together have known Dave,
no find. No one. You know we're not part,
if each other's life there's so many people,
come up with your eye,
from around, but you used to live in this weird old Fuckin house with Dave
and I really wanted him to be my friend and we're friend
for a while in Boston.
But you didn't
part of each other's lives. I don't know
we'll do that so few
people that I have the assessment that room
in part of their life, but though
represent a time in my life for
Was crazy and torn
didn't angry, but we're doing comedy and broke in Boston.
Plain soft eyes to watch him, get up their interest.
Do is crazy. Shit. Various is very
define Dave. You know crosses you,
So watch this most recent special. I just wanted some relief for something, but I found myself candy
Mr Belgic, the familiarity of just hearing a voice. It you I knew
My twenties made me feel better.
Was a matter of the material or anything I just seeing that Guy Dave Cross
do you wish to sit on a couch.
And Somerville Massachusetts.
Did he apartment and
the few of us living there and damages
the crossword? Now it's me
on the couch and if you
the nice girlfriends houses. I could threaten
Connecting the heart.
To the old days seem to make me feel better.
Shift gears into what's happening,.
Stacy Abrams, isn't he found her a fair fight action, she's, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives and the only black woman ever nominated for governor by a major party.
Dimension as a possible vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. I knew
which had been reading
out now. It's called our time is now power purpose and the fight for,
yeah this is addressing know what is happening.
From this point of view, from the point of view of
fixing the system primarily enabling people to vote.
Getting people engaged trying to it. It's
It's an interesting sort of solution,
in the sense of like you have these protests, which m are meaningful.
And powerful and, having
and then when you break it all down, voting
being able to vote.
Having your vote. Be counted is
engaging in the civic process is really
how democracy works and
You know I just we added
talk about this stuff sources
standard kind of dvd
a chair a little bit,
but it was like we were dealing with stuff now before I talk
Stacy of or share with you.
I want to assure equip of a past guest
it was five years ago next week that price.
Brok, Obama, did this show.
The interview itself with
was two days after racially motivated church shooting in Charleston. South Carolina was also lesson a year removed from
rushed over police brutality. Incidents in places like Ferguson in Baltimore and.
The first part of what he said in this clip down in a play for you go out of attention at the time, mostly because people only
just on a word, he reference, but the second part was just
is important and has
a tremendous amount of residence today, particularly well
said about police reform. Let's listen
this horrible thing happens, Wednesday, and- and here you have these police actions in Baltimore Ferguson, any where you're coming from where you came from an
we are trying to define yourself.
In terms of the african american community market in terms of racial relations. What we went where are we with that in terms of when you came in in your mind, while for first of all, I I always tell young people in particular,
do not say
comes to raise in America unless
You lived through venom.
I met in the nineteen fifties. Ores
Sixty or seventy is, it is
These relations have improved significantly during my lifetime in yours and
opportunities have opened up and that attitudes have changed near that. That is a fact
What is also true is
the legacy of
most every institution of our lives
the better long shadow.
That still part of our dna. That's that's passed on,
we're not cured of races, racism
We are not sure,
clearly and end, and it's not just a matter of,
it did not being polite to say, nigger and public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not
As a matter of overt discrimination, we have,
societies don't overnight,
completely erase everything that happened two to three hundred years prior, and so
when I tried to describe them in the summer speech that I gave commemorating the ash. There was
again a notion that progress is wrong.
You and we have to take hope from that progress, but
What is also real is that the marches and over and the work is not yet completed.
And then our job is to
in very concrete ways
to figure out what more can we do? So, let's take the example of police practices.
Pops ever really tough job. We up and parlor reason cops, avatar job, particularly in big cities. Is that their
Communities that are poor are sick,
medically locked out of opportunity that suffer from legacies of discrimination has been built up over generations and we send cops in their basically to say. Keep those folks.
For making too much trouble bad. We fix what you just said right. Well, baby, I'm gonna get to that. So so. The point is, though, that we
break it down out into these component parson, we can say number one
our specific ways that we can make police
community relations better and police more right here, and so, if we put together a taskforce with police officers and young people, including some folks who led the Ferguson marches and surprisingly, they came up with a consensus of things that could be done. That would make things better I'd. So
what's in pimento, now
In the meantime, what are we doing to help? Those
lowest income communities. We know that, for example, early childhood education works,
That is one way to break the.
Legacy of racism and
a three year old four year old kid is an environment of love and
is getting a good meal right hand. Has a teacher, that's trained in that
early childhood development
is hearing enough words and is being engaged enough,
you, can get to where a middle class kid is pretty quick
can I it turns out? It is, but it's the promise is that it happens. Spotty,
and it happens in there
community or this school district or this neighbourhood, or this outstanding principle- is making something happen or this philanthropist is
decided to send, but what it? What hasn't happened is us making a collective commitment to do so.
The point I am making is is that when you look at how to deal with racism and how to deal with issues of
but the police shootings that have been involved.
I was interested in having an ideological conversation,
then I am looking
at what has worked in the past and applying,
and scaling up. Why
is required, is a sin.
It's on the part of all of us that what
happens to those kids.
Matters to me.
Even if I never meet him,
because my society is gonna, be better off
I'm gonna feel better about, though
America I live in, and
over time. I'm confident that my children in my grandchildren are gonna live a better life. If those kids also have opportunity
that's where we have to feel hopeful.
Rather than just save it nothing's changed, we have to say, while we actually made significant progress over the last fifty years, if we made as much progress
The next ten years we have over the last fifty things would be better and and and and that's within our grasp it it's it's it's available to us
and this is where again
you wanna get too.
Those decent, well, meaning Americans, who
would agree with that. But
when it gets translate into politics, it gets all confused and and and trying to bridge that gap between. I think the good impulses of
the overwhelming majority of Americans and power politics expresses self contained
The biggest challenge-
he fucking miss that guy.
I mean I assume their people that that heard the the interview at the time. That said,
that doesn't go far enough, but think about how different things would be today. If we proceeded along those lines for the path,
five years instead of going backwards- think about that and this
the reason I played it is because it ties directly into the political philosophy of someone like Stacy Abrams, who believe change is possible,
but also knows the work that needs to go into getting there there's. No,
It fits man so.
Again her new book is called. Our time is now power purpose in the fight for a fair America.
I can get it now. We get books, and this is me and Stacy Abrams.
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Good, I'm going to have a little bit of a problem here in Georgia with the whole. U voting being a right, but nothing so yeah
but if this morning I mean it's a, what exactly is happening? Is it all intentional? It is
incompetence plus malfeasance.
What to do
But they don't want to do it because doing it means the wrong people and their estimation get to vote and then
the things they do know how to do. They do it so poorly
Today we had
hours long lines across the state and they ve got new machines. It no one knows how to operate. Cracked
So they so in on some level the trick was we got these great new machines, good luck,
these great new machines. We don't have enough technicians, we
are going to give you the resources to make them work and yes go with God.
And so what is your like? You have people on the ground from fair fight at all the appalling places.
Not at all them cause you with a hundred and fifty nine counties that assume,
you in Atlanta, twenty five.
Two thirty pulling places
other counties have your more so we're
trying to stock up wherever we can but
gotta statewide border protection hotlines, so anyone using problems can call us
interference all day. I got my first text at seven eighteen from former executive at idea. Em
is she was at an appalling place where the machine didn't work.
And so they all had to get paper ballots
God and where you anticipating something yet
We knew this was going to be terrible.
And that's what the reasons
we ve, been pushing so hard on absentee babbling about my mail, but they either in it. You both do.
Good thing by telling people they could do it, and then
fleetly under resourcing the process. I
nap city, bow that I could not submit because my
what was sealed shut and when I requested another envelope it never showed up. So I had to go and see the line this morning to gumbo. They have
people micromanaging these
depression efforts to the poor at the level of envelopes, efforts it then that goes to the incompetence, so they yeah
Hardy vendor out of Arizona. So if you have a problem, you can't just pick up the phone and Collins the ideal, something more. You gotta call someone who call someone who called there is only to see
They can do what they need to do, but they were already behind, because no one
the volume of request, and so
That's why this is.
It's so infuriating because it is the visa fee.
With poor intention, but they also have incredibly poor management.
I dont know how, because I was thinking about its front from my own life and in terms of how you approach
activism or how to make democracy work on this level. I dont
at first. I don't know how you maintain hope in the face of white way.
You went through with Brian campaign in the end
and, in view of your choice, to not concede, which was beautiful, but I mean, when you know four years, that this is
happening since the beginning of the republic. I mean how
and you still sort of
push along in and believe that it is possible that we can turn things around. I mean why
with a day like today I mean how do you? How do you keep the faith.
Number one, because my great great great,
and parents were slaves, and I got to be the first black woman to stand for governor and the history of the United States that that's one.
It entered that. That means progress, exists number two.
I'm, a woman of faith,
who believes that says.
Without works is dead. So I dont get to have faith if I'm not willing to do the effort, part of it but
it's also, because I know what can happen when it works
because we ve seen it it. It's not as though there is this
Mythological reality out there that I have no concept of I've actually seen at work in other places. There, Sir,
like organ, which no one would normally consider Nirvana. But if you want to vote it works there,
and it works in neighborhoods end in Georgia, it just doesn't work for the people who need it work. The most.
The problem is
my job is to move to organ its ring IRAN here, because I
Finally, even as somebody who is a progressive person that when it comes down to state elections and stuff, I
I generally will differ
or to somebody, I know who knows more than me and say who do I vote for, I mean always vote, but I don't. I don't always know what people do.
Or or how it affects my life but debts,
Bad right now
it's not in fact that's how most people make their choices we desire.
Based on our own knowledge, but then we see
other people's advice. It's why you every talk show host in Amerika has a show, because
seek information from others who we,
it might know something more right is something
The issue is making sure that the information is good and making
people believe they have the right to ask the questions. One
the things we ve found when we started that when I start the New Georgia project, which was our voter registration effort that I launched in two thousand and fourteen, we
down the people didn't vote, especially the lowest propensity voters, those who are the most afraid of voting, because they were afraid of making a mistake because they didn't have any when they could call. They didn't have a progressive friend who know more about the judges on the ballot right in that one or know how to get the information they need it and so
Instead of they were so afraid of making mistakes, they just didn't pay
the paid, because if you didn't reaches a bit, you didn't screw up or they would over and they may be overwhelmed exactly right.
An end. So it's a matter of educating those people.
Actually it's about.
We're getting of another state is doing great work washing.
State sends out a compendium.
All the things around the ballot gives you information about every single person in every single issue, and
since you, your ballots, you considered home, read through it,
Understand it and then
if your choices in Georgia you're lucky
If you have access to that kind of information, because it's all community based.
And then you get to the polling place, assuming you can get inside or assuming you're absently ballot shows up, neither of which is guaranteed
then you have to try to get your way through and if you stood in line for eight hours or so,
hours of four hours, you're
Willingness to ponder diminished
The sad thing is it is it is it surrenders tonight and eyed, and I dont know what I think about it enough
is. How much of this is? Is tat
who, intentional that disinfection
Jasmine is totally intentional and.
Like alongside of with you know with the
Police brutality, protests in an institutional racism in general that the
is all part of it that this
yeah, the voter disenfranchisement police brutality. You know jail
part of the same momentum that was put on the books
at the beginning of the country
system works exactly the way it was designed to work the system.
At its inception, grey
did the right to vote to white men who, on land
denied the right to vote to women. It denied the humanity of blacks,
denied the existence of native Americans and we
successive wars. That essentially said, if you are latino our asian American, we don't want you either. We want your land, we want your labour, but we don't want. You
and then the thirteenth amendment
ended slavery, except if you were incarcerated and then
The reconstruction laws and the subsequent laws said it
you could be arrested for anything. If you were black, you could be arrested for standing on a street corner waiting.
For your wife,
and the minute you were arrested. You were once again said
to jail slavery. The system
does the things it was designed in the challenge is the p
Well, who are now part of the system are demanding something new and I think that
has been the challenge for the last two hundred for years
Two hundred forty years, the people who designed the system and
benefited from the existence of the system had been,
unwilling to make more than just modest changes to it and the
in point we're right now. The reason we're seeing police brutality take
centre stage of the conversation. The reason we're having a conversation about criminal justice reform.
The reason we're talking about these systemic inequities is that day
of always been baked into the system as a way to support this
superstructure, but now the victims are demanding their rights, because there are enough of us to demand action and to reconstruct the system, but the other pieces.
We have to remember is the system? Is people we
let people to make these decisions. We we
this embody their response
ability by calling it a system. You have it,
The thing that happens happen
because someone decided it should or someone
cited, they didn't need to do anything about what was broken and so
if we want something new way,
we have to do it in voting is the way to do that, which is why boaters oppression has been based.
Into this all long, because the very people who
the victims of voter suppression are the people who would have the incentive to change the structure itself
and it should end if, if it was righteous and if the country worked properly, it would all work like Washington state. It would be that easy.
Voting absolutely here and there
That seems like a fundamental right that everyone should have, and we should all be informed and it should not be a bad challenge, exactly eminent in its thinking about all.
Part of the reason I wrote the book was that we think about these things.
Isolation. We think about them in silos. We think that it
just happened stance that
you live in the south. You have these hired
incarceration and you have people who are
from disenfranchised, if their it in their hearts right now,
part of the idea- arrest them.
Read them and when they get out, they still can't rejoin community. So you,
does empower them. We have to
start understanding what the pieces are, but we also
have to understand how the pieces work together that decision,
to that extent it is a system. It's an intricate.
System were pieces fit together and when you can make them all were really well really rich.
People get wealthier, really powerful people.
A powerful and those who get ground up by the system continue to feed in and get ground by the system.
I think it's like a. There are people that who were
it's not a matter of of there's a type of progressive disposition that that demands change to happen immediately and they they are not Neil comfortable with incremental change
And indeed, they do a lot of their dispute. Your point of view is based on maintaining a certain
mentality of of aggravated grievance
and they will not. They will
Relent and they will- and they I think, are- can become somewhat detrimental to the progressive process if there are see
their aggravating grievance, convince them that if they can,
have what they want: they're, not going to help rats problem, roughly
I don't mind there, I dont my effect.
We should celebrate those who call out there.
Problems. Those you're willing challenge the
nor those who willing to declare what should be, but a few.
Don't get your way if you dont get what you want. That's a tantrum and
That's not helpful to anyone, especially to those who
remain mired in this or, more importantly, oppressed by these changes.
I want more. I have a vision of the best, but
I don't have the luxury of
I don't want anything if I can have everything, because my
if life my siblings lives. My nieces and nephews, like my parents, lives
get affected. If what
do is exempt myself from the process. If I don't get what I want and I
I just like in reading the book and
and also in seeing what's happening now than ever?
becomes like out outside
of seeking justice in demanding the criminal justice. If new work in relation to these murderous cops that old
all the answers to making this.
you'll come down to which Europe promoting that daddy
really comes down to voting, and it's not going to be an overnight process and in order for it to work there
the level of education and access it has to be created that could be take it. Who knows how long it will take, but that
the way work to keep people in.
Culture that are either
compromised by poverty or just basic. You know distraction to sort of you
keep moving in the direction that that will make your system function
in and work that that's
the real challenge right. It is a part of this. Is
We are used to this notion of instant change, because that's what we see on television by the end of the hour, the culprit is caught the
Problems are fixed unless you're watching
a melodrama in right case.
The goal is the mellow guy, but we
Train to believe it can work that way even more.
Because we see that first
it does work that way. My response
ability in the space where I enter is that we have to be honest with
people, because politicians feed in two that neared they d,
here that, if you will, let me I will do these things.
And good and well, they can't do nine of them.
And they might get a bill on one that may go into committee. But that's the way this
still works, and so my approaches, I'm like a promise, you fix. I made a promise. You
effort and tell you what I need you to do to make the fix more likely right because debt to which
our elected representatives at any level,
The government are upheld.
After the vote, then the vote
has diminished power, and so my approach
is to say number one. This is complex. This is tedious
it is unlikely to work any. I used to get into trouble when I was minority leader, because I would tell you I would make this
he'll minority leader, means that Latin for lose well like I wasn't gonna get
Two things I wanted
And my job was mostly to stop stupid, or at least slow it down and
I told you I was going to fix everything.
Knowing that I only had sixty votes out of a hundred and eighty either I couldn't do math
for I was lying to and so our
sponsor Billowy is to make sure people
We stand the complexity of the system.
President Obama cannot deliver legislative change
If we don't vote in a twenty two, an election that then turn
the Congress into a conservative frat house
That we cannot have the Supreme Court that we need
we do not hold the Senate in twenty sixteen
we have all of these pieces that we pretend
we operate in isolation, but we all
pretend that by the end of the episode, the answer is there and then
just not how government works its know how politics works? It's not how life
but we have. The responsibility is elected leaders of those who would like to be elected to actually explain it, and
to make sure that we diminish the amount of power people think we hold?
by explaining to them that their power is greater than ours, because the way
they can motivate us to get it done, is to either fires.
Or fires, and that happens by voting in the EU
is the word earlier. People are,
The wound, by what happens in
the more oppressive sit system, the more realistic
It seems that this is going to continue to exist. People can be
Leave that you can eliminate a small scratch, but again
they believe less, that you can actually solve that problem, and so that problem festers until ideal
it's the baseline issue of not knowing how things work
but it's also the imagination that it can be better and that part of the effectiveness of the pressure that the effectiveness of voter suppression of the affair
If of a criminal justice system that locks
so many people it is the constancy of behaviour,
That makes you believe this is all there is Canada there
Use in fighting that
yeah, and then you have that type of state which is so
if what we live in for most people. Yes, the thing: that's
Frightening me now more than a lot of things is, is even very intelligent. Peoples,
ability to see themselves as part of a bigger community as part of a citizenship. As part of that, there's a
selfishness in a self centered is now that's encouraged and seemingly malignant in that I'm
we're in the middle of pandemic, but a lot of people have just decided there
it doesn't exist anymore,
and I dont know what what what that says about Americans but, like I
literally they're they're, just they they're trying to will it away and that
the type of delusional behaviour and lack of respect for the the sort of gender
well being of the populace that I dont quite understand you. I understand it. I don't like it
We have always had these people on our society. In fact, one of them
currently thirds at the head of our country and the extent.
delusion is reinforced
by others who have the shared delusion your sense of you
invincibility become stronger but more importantly to Europe to your underline point,
your sins of communal obligation, gets eroded
in the nation, where so many pockets of our population, so many segments or
we diminished in word and indeed
we shouldn't be surprised that people will suddenly think? Will there really not valuable
we use these terms to this
acting dehumanize and then were surprised by people being disconnected and treating people with
lack of humanity when so it's what we ve built and partly
as we ve had leaders,
particularly in the last four years, but I would say over the last
then their level best to demand
One thing I wrote a than afterwards for that, for our time is now
and I talk about the fact that for forty years we have heard Republicans say that,
your bureaucrats are useless and that we should treat government small enough to drownded in a bath,
incarcerated and they use the language to separate
and divide us, but also to diminish our faith in science. We know what
We trust the very
the thing that will save our lives.
We cannot then be surprised that in the midst of a pandemic, the people
been told for forty years that government can't help that Science
that real and that, if your phone
somebody else's fault that they don't trust?
they don't trust government and they don't think they have any responsibility too
In terms of where we're add now, which is
scary and and its hearted, to really
determined what happens next on
given day, but there I
and me, I can understand that there are reasons to be helpful in there
Things going on people are waking up.
And people are fighting for their the good fight. But do you
is there any party, your brain, that that that fears
Terrorism in a real way. Oh absolute,
we are living in the early stage?
is of an authoritarian regime. It begins with a
Populist, usually, who uses
language and brandy osity to attract attention, and
Strapped from their lack of moral core it, then
It gets transmuted into the.
Domination of a certain form of can
Education, so that they can discredit every
the communication that doesn't reinforce their message
You then see them. Take over institutions or if they can't take them over like the judiciary, they then actually
Why to diminish faith in the other organizations like the media, like inspectors general
and then their end game is to stop the elections.
They stop elections, not by declaring authoritarian rule. If you look like, if you will get
one in Turkey. If you look at India, Modi and India, if you
look at your boss, Gennaro. These are all.
Third tearing populist who have endured
The stages of this
but if you want to look at whose gotten it all done, look at Victor Orban and Hungary who
essentially now become
the taking over of what used to be a thriving democracy and what time
has done is every stage of the populace playbook.
The only remaining stage is to discredit our election
either by denying people the right to vote, which is what he's doing by saying that we should be able have male imbalance, even though he and his
entourage rise use in fact made may have you fraudulently use them.
We. But they also then say it's fraudulent. If anyone else tries to use it. Oh and listen,
dismantle the? U S postal service, so just in case defrauded accusation doesn't work. We take the money away.
We are in the end game of early stage, authoritarianism, that's beings,
the borne by the? U S Senate, because the other thing a populist and authoritarian populous. Does
they convince their political adjutant. That,
their only survival, is to forget who they are and
you join in this definition of whom
Ours is a nation, be oil is too over being a representative exactly what that's terrifying.
But the thing is and the reason for the overly
The full title is that we can still fix it.
Democracy is fragile, but it can.
Also be resilient. If the people within its remit,
Who they are? We had
civil war. That was fought over whether blacks were humans and that
ripped us apart because not everyone fighting agreed that even the people fighting for black humour
did he actually believed it to be so, but they believed in the ideal of the democracy enough that they were willing to spend their disbelief. Any
if the outcome was good, if they were willing to do, of course,
you had redemption, which came after reconstruction when they were like it's never mind, but
even in that moment in that fraught moment, we will win
Here too, we,
a fragile democracy that was torn asunder, but we had
was willing to fight to build it back, and
no, it was built back on shaky ground. It was the firmer than it had been before that that war now
I have to assume that when
were growing up. This was not the plan oh no like,
I mean what the humming, how many kids in your family, I envy. Second of six children where'd, you grow up
I was I was born in Wisconsin, but might we all European Gulf Mississippi? Ok,
big family gulf war- misery.
Be your folks where's. Your folks do
my mom was a college librarian who made less money, sometimes in the janitor who clean the college right.
Dad was a shipyard worker. He was disliked.
It can so after college. He just couldn't get off his job, and so,
ended up working as a dock workers in a shipyard workers and that
They did their life,
they did that until the age of forty yeah well, they were both called into the ministry and became United Methodist ministers. So we move
To Georgia, when I was fifteen, there were forty and
they went to every university to get their masters of divinity sitting in debt to become
Really poor, Mississippi ministers have definite demagoguery. You move Mississippi,
they were both. Obviously people have faith in eight that when you say they got the calling was. How does that doubted that manifest some idea,
had been ordained as a Baptist, pastor preacher. When
He was in his early twenties by tee hadn t didn't preach and even the Baptist Church is low
organised, then or less regimented, then add genetics, or do they get into it s, sort of like a business endeavour,
no, no, no that's. If my dad he was he prayed
his faith. My dad was,
one of those young evangelist you really wanted to talk about.
Look I didn't. He was involved,
The civil rights Movement Ass, a teenager and for him between poverty.
He and civil rights like those were usually where his messages came together. Yeah my mom was called
later in life, but we had grown up in the Baptist church, which said that women at least the strain of Bacchus, we were
The missionary Baptist church did not ordain women and women were not supposed to be involved in that part of the church. My parents, practically my mother, did not find this to be a suitable
frame for our understanding of our faith. In so we became United Methodist and
Even then, she was shy about accepting her spiritual call.
Eventually she did and that's when they went to gradual and
They both had congregations. They were both practicing different churches.
Are they finished in Georgia in ninety two? They waited a year. So when my under sisters she's a couple years behind me in school
it let her finish high school on, I think she graduated on Saturday. They move back the Mississippi on Monday. Ok didn't want blood Georgia down impact. This is the big my dad
the church and add to church charge. My mom had
we churches and Rural, Mississippi
and eventually my mom, became
first woman to consolidate churches and the state of Mississippi and built consolidated church. Factually this big pink
church on the side of the highway, that was a community center.
It was a gathering pace and my
I ran the outreach ministry and my monsters through. You grew up
in the church.
But more than that, my parents really raised as to believe that, if you saw
a problem, you supposed to fix it. So we were my mama caused a genteel poor.
We had no money, but we watch PBS me read books and my parents.
Take us to volunteer regularly and we would look scans,
like you do realize, were poor too, and therefore
once was it doesn't matter, no matter how little we have there's somebody with less
Your job is to serve that person, and so we,
We grew up with this. Both faith tradition, but also
service tradition. That said you? U dont, let other people suffer. If you can help you dont, let other people have lack
you can give your job is to be.
The community. Your foot
he's too and in particular, when became Methodist the
innovation of our faith said that you live your faith by doing good, but we ve been raised that way, plus my pair,
Also raised this, they would take us with its with them when they were going to vote
and so we grew up with this very strong triumvirate of he served with faith. Narrative
a service narrative, but also a democracy. Narrative governing didn't do what it was
post you for us and didn't do what it was.
Before a community, but that did not exempt us of the responsibility of trying to hold it.
Yeah? I mean you talk about that in the book a bit about how these promises were made. Laws were passed in that
because of the way the federal system works, that
they weren't necessarily enforceable and state level. So there was a lot of waiting and ineffectiveness and things that were promised didn
happen, but your parents, you lad,
I guess it's a sort of not not just faith, but they
They needed to be part of the system, because that was their responsibility. Absolutely I'm here instead of credit
will understanding of wife. They grown up in various degrees of poverty. They had grown up under Jim Crow, but they also both had experienced and see
What could be if the systems work the way they should at separately and together, their ethos said they had
obligation to try to make that manifest, and they raised us with the same idea.
And what will that thou serve the backdrop of faith service, civic response,
stability. But what did you want to do with your life? Early on, I didn't
I actually went through I cycle through many ideas. I was my first hearing college, I've, majored and physics and philosophy
And my area theater and I was the starboard- those spring play your play and death.
The last black man in the whole entire world by Suzanne Lorry parks.
Like acting. I love acting. I went
when our ties for my last year's of high school, oh yeah,
That was part of the dream.
It was until I realize I did not want to do what it took to be an actress long term, because I
of but not enough to make up my life, I loved physics
But not enough to study differential calculus,
I can watch STAR Trek in all. Read your Carl Sagan I'll, be ok! That's enough!
If you see me, I read Ellen White men and I get my bike. Ethics
if EU kind of live philosophy, when you do the work in politics anyways, what
is it a sort of whether a defining moment where you knew you had? What did you get a a political
in the ninety. Ninety two, the rotten king decision
and down I help lead protests in Atlanta. Aha
but I also got into an argument with the mayor of Atlanta and
with him. He was not doing enough in his
all to help poor young people- and I have used it.
Council meeting, not because I wanted to be in politics, but I
Thrace understand if you wanna know how people spent your money show up, so I will just yet
we encourage when your account, I would be most boring, freshman
college. You can imagine. I went to zoning meetings in zones.
With his zoning hearings- and I sat in City Council meetings because I feel I wanted to-
you're standing here. If you want to understand government
I went understand government I didn't want to be in it. I don't want it and why they were so bad at what they did and I got into a fight with Maynard Jackson. He was the mayor of Atlantis here and the few,
later, he gave me a job, but I still do
think I wanted to do this for living. However, be
As I mentioned, I had multiple majors, the deed
Of the college made me right a paper about what I wanted to know when I left, because she was determined I would leave and that I had to have a degree to get out, and she, like you, can't keep majoring in things
here there is that a little note in the register.
Everything I was not allowed to declare another major city had to get this form. They were not permitted to give me the floor and instead I had read this paper and Edward
Paper, I realized what woke me up with me:
me excited about my day when I enjoyed learning
not more than other things, but what really helped organised my mind was. The
section of politics, economics and sociology, and so I made it the degree. I studied those things and that move me into this,
world and that it was so, but it was the day that the allay riots kind of got you into organizing behind
again my parents it had as we been protesting. We ve done all these little pieces. That was the first time I was
the lead and then I was apartment organization of students we
I left organization after a little while because they were more interested in the protest peace. I was.
I believe in protest, but I have always believed that protests had to have a practical end, the and fruit,
and this is not at all
instigation of any one else. There are those.
For whom activism is the thing, and we need people who constantly holders
highlight what's happening in the system, and we ve got people for whom being apart,
of the system is the work they do with how they deliver. I've always straddled those worlds, and so I view
I believe, in the protest, but I also believe protest has to have a practical end and what I
founded that I
It should be on the practical side and war. I did it. I've decided
he'll be in charge of the practical side. Ex people didn't do it, you told them and because I'm
the authoritarian I had to get elected to jobs. That would permit you to fix the thing,
there were broken. I think about it. In this, my parents do direct action. Their wives have been about being in service to individuals and
it is critical. I have always been more fascinated by
and drawn to. How do you fix the systems because you want to
systems to work, because there were
always be people in need, no matter what problem
we fix. New ones will crop up to take their place in. So you want people who were in the act of a space in the direct service base, I'm compelled by the system,
peace, which is how do you dismantle systems that don't work or don't or work the way of their intent?
it but don't serve the people they should run. And then, how do you build new systems and put in place the infrastructure so that the old can't creep in and take over again? And that's where my focuses with inward useful
they were, the word did you would you do the graduate work? They did? It
asters agree in public policy or in at the University of text
this end. Albidus full public affairs here and there in my lot, agree at Yale. You and I focused on tax.
Elsie and public policy
you ve got it all covered. I try to learn stuff
and then, where did you have time to get wasn't there?
I know there was a
there are some writing going on. So during Osborne,
My last year was cool. I wrote an article on inaccurate
please it's and got it publishes a journal article on the operational distance,
he unrelated business income, tax exemption,
but I also wrote my first romance novel called rules of engagement. That sounds like us novel
It was actually it's that various do it started.
This is fine, although here, but I was writing it in ninety. Ninety nine right there were no black women who had ever been published. Writing espionage. There were very few women who have been published has been Austria and there were no novels with black women as the heroin, and so I
made my spiteful love and got up romance novel, see you're able there
to find a way, and I tried to be practical whenever I came and did it so well
it's a pretty well over the course we again I was so I was writing romantic suspense,
as a black author at the very beginning of black writers in the romance base being taken
Basically there been amazing woman like Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jack.
But there were a lot of black women who were give who are taken seriously, especially romantic suspense yeah
I sold fairly well well enough that they bought two more books and then I got picked up by Saint Press and then I got opinion.
my books sold more than a hundred thousand copies, but I am I
I could pay car notes with it. I could not buy a car wreck,
But you didn't write under your name. I did not, because when I was about to publish my
article on tax policy come out, and Google had just become a thing,
beyond. If you old, Stacy Abrams, it will pull out both my tax article.
And the first thing I ever published, which was when I was in high school. I wrote this paper,
In my physics class, then I got published in the journal of the astronomical society of the Atlantic, adored state, university and so
No one is going to read a romance novel by Alan Greenspan or hawking. So
had a separate identity for my romance and what's the name ass, the Montgomery
ok, so people can go by those books if they want they can indeed now. What's going
I'm with you I today on a day like today with what's going on in advance to the elections, and you have I mean
you want a person in politics? It has a very active.
Nemesis in in Rhine Camp.
The eight that you do you like,
and and and and spite you have on a daily basis against him. Personally, when,
when you have these days?
It would be disingenuous to say that isn't personal rights.
That kind of indebted just takes a lot of energy first to do your
I like to quote Bruce Banner from
inventors when he says I'm always angry
who I am but it's a low simmering anger that helps me remember why I do what I do and
when I'm tired and exhausted, but is also.
He's not good at his job has
endangered, are people he supporting
system and continue to support, in fact, was the architect of the system of voter suppression that is harming people on this very day and
he's the proof of the in
depression and voter participation.
Despite having this oppressive system. That runs the game it. We are seeing record colonel in part, because people, when you tell them they can't have
the thing they may decide, they don't want it, but you're not gonna tell them, they can't have it and especially if they
think that more is possible if they do, if they try
and in also it was your efforts during your campaign for governor that that got a lot of these people registered. You got a lot of sense
registered through the registration work started in fourteen because tee to the earlier. Conversely, on all of these things take time, there is no instantaneous result,
There is a demographic change happening across the south happening around the country, but you have to harness.
And so I started an organization and two thousand fourteen to start registering the eight hundred thousand unregistered people of color.
In our state. The organisation is now independent of me, but at this point they
Instead more than four hundred thousand of those people so half there, I started fear fight because I,
watch, voter suppression happen and one,
to build an organisation that could begin to tackle it because
not winning the election and being really mad, wasn't going to solve the problem, and so I urge an organization, and then we will not have my first wave of just righteous anger
I started thinking about the national scope of this problem and so were operating in eighteen,
states and were helping, find and support folks in these states to tackle that are suppressed.
You're in the State House in Europe. They representative, right, I eleven years
So you know how it and you know that was
the hands on experience of how it worked? Absolutely I I was
legislator for eleven years. I was the leader of the Democrats for seven years and when I would hear people you bad mouth
Either Nancy people or checks humor like the hardest job, one of the hardest jobs in politics is,
Be in charge of the people who are going to lose running that within
Donnie Isaacson, actually once he was, he was a minority leader when he was before it became a. U a senator is republican and he was there.
Leader of the Republicans back during
ended thirty years of democratic dominance, and
once said, you know
minority leaders a job that has neither carrot nor stick. You can't promise you can't punish.
An end. But that means, if you're going to be successful,
you worry haven't
abrogate spaces. You learn how to work with people with whom
we have nothing in common, except the breath you breathe.
You learn how to take wines. Don't look
like went to everyone else, but sometimes
victory, is making sure people don't get hurt worse and write it.
And I learned to be fairly effective at it.
I would I like you to be vice president will think it.
You would like to be vice president right.
I have mentioned it when asked Anne.
What do you see that role is being
percy is a role that Joe Biden is going to he's going to decide what he needs and who he needs. My responses, which I think you've been through blown way out of proportion time. I answer questions as honestly as I
it is a question. People seem to really like asking me, so I answered each time a mask.
Fundamentally it's the job of the lieutenant young than its president is there to support the president's vision and
Personally, I think one of the space
is where we have seen the deepest arose.
Of our democracy is in the axe. Active exercise of our democracy and jobs
spoken to his belief that we need to do more. I I think that an important job I think it's gonna, be a critical job.
Think about recovery, and we do your point earlier. People seem
forgotten that were in the midst of a pandemic near the point we haven't
but not the ones who have lost their jobs and their not coming back, who are economically decimated.
And if you're, a person of color, namely a black person. The likelihood
you getting this disease and dying from it is disproportionate to your put your heart, the population. We have to think about. How do we recover from a pandemic that is not going to dissipate,
we ve stopped having the daily alarms in part, because we ve now hit the sort of steady state of info
that is abnormally high and so the next president,
and I have to figure out how do you deal with this system
inequities the racism and the infrastructure,
corruption done by the Republicans to reboot
What communities that Wilson
we have no other hope, but governmental
best men and governmental intervention and we
I think about is that the local state and federal level,
and much as I encourage people to vote at every level because the laws are different, the rules are different. The responsibilities are different.
And we're going to need to think about. How do you serve on those three levels? Well, now,
I don't know why I don't really want to ask this question, but what do you see happening? If that doesn't happen? We look
from the south. I always anticipate the worst, but I'm from the south, so I hope the back and I work that will be.
Should it for some reason not come to fruition our responsibilities, don't change and.
Our obligation, is to do what we can to make certain. It doesn't happen in that's why fighting, but
suppression, but also a
engaging the protesters and demonstrators and not hatred
to this idea that, if we just pack them on their head, that things will go away, but that we legitimate
he engaged and we validate the anger and the pain
that we also remind them of the tools, because one of the reasons for the book is that there are tools we can use.
And we know they're out there, because the republican
I've been using them for a while
you didn't mantle. Our access run its white whole chapter. Talking about the senses which
Some people is about is interesting as my article and mesopotamian astronomy. What a census is one of the most affected
the tools that we never use on the progressive side. It is not just stick
of. We are. It is a Talley,
what we need
it's a road map for what we're going to do, and it lays out both economic and political power- and we act like it's. A surprise
every ten years, we're in
end of treating it as what the Republicans treated
They see it as a weapon, they say to them.
I've been of war against these very communities.
See it as a weapon of peace.
We can do this work with it if we can energize and engage and actually follow it through. We start to.
Vest more the communities who needed we start to fit fund.
New systems to replace the systems of inequity. We can't you do if we don't get counted and if they can tell them.
Story that says that the nation isn't as diverse as we think it is because that meet the political power isn't diversified. Meeting.
Economic opportunities are diversified. It means those with power
continue to have even more and he's got it.
People to fill it out, take five minutes. It does it. Take
I've told people I might show do it, but I think that to you
the president of the United States spend a year and a half scaring every person of
every emigrant, I filling it out of the citizenship question
your black person or brown person who lives in a state that scene
be a harsher state where you do
the wrong. Wronger gonna come and get you.
There has been the rumour that, if you fill out the census, Ruddy can use to rest come getting, they can come get you. I
My people, love, is, if you have a utility bill or self on, they already know where you're sure. What other? Since
you can get your money, but we cannot ignore the
A lot of work has been done to create suspicion to diminish.
It was believed that it actually works. If not how long it takes it.
What does it mean? If I do it and what does it mean,
I don't know, that's my responsibility, that's what you're doing it. We ve got it all people that the
risk is actually low, but the reward is quite high. They ve got to get past the fear of the rest
Now, when you said earlier, we are talking about you answering the question and by vice president about wanting to the job and how you look at the job. Why do you think you get flak for just the stepping up in answering honestly, so
I think one is that I'm I've been this unusual position. I've gotten this question for fifteen months, starting
March Twenty nineteen
No one usually gets the question because I had lunch with the vice president and a story got planted, that we were talking.
About me running on a ticket with right through, I got all these questions. I answered
Firstly, then, I said you don't run for second place in a primary, but people get the second half of my sentence. There was a comma I said, but if I do
run in someone wants to consider me I'd, be honoured to be selected right at since that time,
I'm almost every time I've talked a reporter questions. Come up, I believe in
distancing candour. So I can answer and fell
A month ago I was on
and television. I did like three shows back to back, because I was trying to raise a hundred million dollars for the families on a snap,
that's? Who were not getting their stimulus, checks and
the same time that brain camp was trying to kill Georgia.
By reopening the state. After being when the last people to close it,
without doing this, the necessary steps
Nobody remembers the first two thirds of the interviews. They just keep remembering the question I got at the end that answer right. So I dont.
I understand that people misconstrue candor for campaigning.
I wasn't, I do the same thing on pretty much any conversation. If you asked me a question, I'm gonna answer it, but you feel that the response do you think, that's its relative to
Taxes are more worrying. I your heart of part of what motivates me to be so
ended, but also confident that I recognise that I dont look like what people are used to and when they
think about positions of,
power when they think about higher office its
only been two black women to be: U S, senators in american history,
there has never been a governor. There have only been fifteen women,
of black women ever elected to state quite office in the
three of the nation, though I don't look like what their use
but I also know how people think and if you want people to
start to imagine more. You ve got to tell them what that can look like and
as I have said before, I'm not just answering for myself. I am answering for every woman of
or every young woman, Ryan person of color who imagine
what they can be and if I deny what I think I'm capable of I get people permission
can only deny me, but to also deny them- and I was raised to do better were frank: you got
choked up young couple values just to hear you speak, I get choked up. So that means you have a big future in politics. What thank you
relax until Jason, candor is
your friend he and I met in a fellowship programme, and I I told him I would he
they. There was on going beyond your show, and I promised to let you know that he just thinks a worldview and he says I found it.
Wait. Yankee texted me the other day he's a good guy. Really is nothing
we're talking to me. Stacy appreciate it. This has been wonderful and I deeply deeply appreciate it.
Ok take carries out. You do
That was me and Stacy Abrams again the book our time is now our purpose in the fight for a fair America is available very much enjoy talking to her. What else,
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big into the heart
Transcript generated on 2020-06-14.