« WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Episode 1130 - Stacey Abrams

2020-06-11 | 🔗

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.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey folks doing more searching than streaming these days well, HBO Max is a new streaming platform where all of HBO meets the greatest collection of movies and shows it's all over to be a series like game, the thrones in secure plus black, your movies, like a star, is born and time was classics. Ike, citizen, Kane, Bowler, Tv shows, like friends, knew me ex originals for all ages and all your favorites Owen, place place for just fourteen ninety nine per month start streaming today download the app or visit HBO Max dot com. To start, your retrial free trial is for new customers. Only restrictions apply 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. Stacy Abrams, Doktor Stacy Abrams. On Tuesday 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, a witness a receiver. 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, equally cross.
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 that room but anyways. 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, Fair America, 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 impact 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 President Obama 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 Nothing's changed
comes to raise in America unless You lived through venom. I met in the nineteen fifties. Ores Sixty or seventy is, it is incontrovertible contrast. 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 slavery, Jim pro crimination in 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 poverty. If 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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If we saved Outcomes Rice W P, I can get a free, hd camera. That's s! I m p. L, I s e, F, p, dotcom, Slash, W T have to make sure they know that our show sent. You ok got it. 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 slipshod that. 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 been running 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 Governor election 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 is dramatically 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 slavery is 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 lately
all the answers to making this. Work correctly 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 A wound
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. To which 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 forty years then their level best to demand our faith 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 strong man 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 calling so 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 on 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. I collins 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, the much 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 relationship 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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Transcript generated on 2020-06-14.