Ep. 53: Zephyr Teachout On Why Women Are Made For Politics
"In moments of really difficult decisions- just act. Don't wait until you find the perfect choice. Because yes, it will shape you in some very profound ways. But you can't know the ways it's going to shape you and there's so much value to action, and there's so much cost to inaction."
Law professor and political activist Zephyr Teachout shares her experiences running for office, first for New York Governor in the Democratic Primary and then for Congress in New York's 19th District. Although Super PACs funded by billionaires spent millions to target Zephyr, she describes running for office as the most human thing a person can do. Zephyr explains that politics is about meeting, connecting, and listening to people -- all things that play to women's strengths! Not only does Zephyr think self-governance requires candidates of all kinds, especially women, but she also believes everyone has it in them to run for office. Listen and get inspired to enter politics or to fearlessly take any bold action!
"Men are far more likely to ask about a potential job: 'Do I want this job?' That is the most important question for them. And women are more likely to ask, 'Am I qualified compared to the most qualified person I can imagine?' I think it's really important to shed that question."
We discuss Zephyr's fascinating journey in politics, why it's critical for women and minorities to get involved in politics, the exercise she did before running for office, the role of fear in going public, what demotivates women from running for office, being specifically targeted for her gender by Super PACs, what keeps her going, why women are well-suited for politics, the most common things she hears when talking to young women, not letting criticism get you down, and recognizing the value in imperfect action.
"You don't hear the full range of things that people are dealing with when you have such unrepresentative politics. People ask me a lot about running for office as a woman. I think there's a sense that running for office is not only about appearances but is sort of vaguely dirty and corrupt. We certainly have to get rid of that, because if we leave politics to people who fit the Ken doll image it's not going to work."
What you'll learn:
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