Last Tuesday, Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District chose Army veteran Misty Plowright (D) to represent their party in the race against incumbent Doug Lamborn (R) in November for the US House of Representatives.
In a historic week in politics where the U.S. government removed its ban on transgender troops, Plowright became one of two openly transgender politicians who won their primary battles.
In a step away from politics, as usual, I reached out to Misty to ask if she would give me an interview. I wanted to give Misty a platform to share more about who she is with the world. She agreed and I sent the following questions, which she promptly answered and returned. I was blown away by the sincerity in her answers and I hope you are too.
Q: Please describe yourself, your journey into politics and your platform.
A lot of words can be used to describe me. While a lot of labels can be applied to me, I don’t fit neatly into a single category. I’m an IT nerd, political junkie, policy wonk, gamer, and more. I don’t really know how to do anything half-assed and throw myself fully into everything I do.
For a long time, I’ve been content to stick to the shadows where it’s safe. As a trans woman, being “out” is dangerous. Some years ago a friend of mine from Seattle helped found a non-profit called the “Gender Justice League” which focuses intently on activism for trans rights and education. She came to Denver last year for a conference and we had lunch together to catch up. I told her I really admired what she was doing and wished that I had the courage to be out and be a voice for trans rights but I was too afraid. She mentioned that was one reason she did what she did because there were a lot of people like me who were afraid to speak out.
During the caucuses this year, I spoke with a Hillary supporter who said something that really struck home. He said: “That kind of change doesn’t come at the ballot box. That kind of change comes from the streets. You gotta get out there and risk getting your head cracked open, risk getting shot… you have to be willing to put it all on the line.” I disagree about the ballot box, as I do believe meaningful change can come from the ballot box. He was correct, however, in that you have to get out there and put everything on the line.
With everything that has happened over the last decade plus, and getting inside the process in a way I haven’t been involved before (as a registered independent, I was generally excluded from the process until general election time), I couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer. Numerous people urged me to run for office, and with everything going on (including Bernie Sanders needing help if he were elected), I decided it was time to get after it and get involved in a really big way.
Our elected officials don’t represent us anymore, and the people’s voices aren’t heard any longer. I want to be a voice for the voiceless. I want to bring the voice of the people back to the party of the people. I want to bring 21st-century thinking into a governing body that’s stuck in the 20th (and is some cases 19th) century.
Someone needs to call out politicians on their bullshit and make them hear the voice of the people instead of the lobbyists who fill their campaign coffers.
Q: If you could cure one disease in the world what it be? Why?
Aging. I know we don’t typically think of aging as a disease, but if we did and approached it as such, we could wipe out nearly all of human health issues that people suffer from. To really knock out aging, we basically have to figure out how to repair any cells or damaged DNA on demand. Accomplishing that removes nearly every affliction we suffer from.
One of the primary reasons I’d like to see that cured is because I think it could be perhaps the greatest awakening of humanity. Our lifespans are quite short in the grand scheme of things, and as such as a species we tend to be fairly short-sighted. Imagine if our lifespans were measured in centuries rather than decades. We would start taking a long-term view of our problems. No more would we focus on small short term stop-gap solutions to problems, but rather long-term solutions that would actually resolve the problems we face. Imagine the scientific discoveries that could be made if our greatest minds had careers that spanned a century or more, or the knowledge that farmers and ranchers could accumulate, or how deeply artists, authors, carpenters, and other tradesmen and women could advance and hone their expertise.
Being able to truly see and grasp the long term picture of ourselves and the world around us would make humanity much more responsible and even-tempered in my opinion.
Q: If you were president and could enact any law outright, what would it be?
Well, the President’s powers are limited (appropriately so) by our Constitution. However, assuming I had the power to enact anything I wished, I think I would have to enact a policy that barred ALL private money from our political system and moves our elections/campaigns to entirely publicly funded. This would effectively eliminate most corruption from our politics as well as greatly lower the barrier of entry for individuals who wish to run for office and represent their communities.
Q: Do you think World Peace is possible? What one thing do you think might be the first step in the direction of it?
It is certainly possible, though I don’t think it’s possible this precise day. It will take a great deal of work and frankly, humanity needs to grow up more first.
I think the best thing that could happen to move us to peace would be if we were contacted by intelligent life, not of this earth. Simply knowing with absolute certainty that we are not alone in the universe would unite humanity in a way that is unprecedented. There would be a great upheaval for maybe a generation or so, but after that, I have no doubt a great peace would settle over a united world.
Q: Do you think war is necessary?
It is an occasional necessity. The crap we’ve been doing for decades is not. Military force should only be used under a declaration of war and with the full force of our military might. These half measures and endless conflicts do nothing but create egregious collateral damage and unnecessary casualties (both civilian and military).
Q: If you could be any profession at all, what would it be?
It would actually be several. I would love to be a theoretical physicist focusing specifically on quantum and astrophysics. In addition, I would also like to be on the forefront of trying to develop the necessary hardware and software for creating true, fully developed and functional AI.
Q: What is your favorite Inspirational quote?
Everything is impossible until it’s done.
Q: Do you think humans should be concerned about the planet?
It’d be pretty stupid not to be. It isn’t like we have another one hanging around that we can go to.
Q: What is one law you would do away with?
Civil forfeiture. It’s nothing more than legalized robbery by the state.
Q: Do you have any addictions or obsessions?
Star Trek. Pretty sure I was born a couple of hundred years too early. It’s an incredibly optimistic view of our future with humanity united and working as one. I went to a Star Trek convention as a kid once and actually ended up correcting one of the trivia questions. It’s one of my absolute favorite memories.
Q: What do you think is the meaning of life?
To help each other and make the world a better place.
Q: Do you think it’s possible to have your dream job?
Absolutely. In fact, I chased my dream job for a decade. From the time I was in high school, I went after a job at Microsoft. In 2007, I landed my first contract with them, then another in 2010 before they outright hired me in 2012.
Q: Do you ever talk to inanimate objects?
I curse at computers frequently.
Q: Are you curious about what goes on behind closed doors in other people’s houses?
Not really, that’s their business.
Q: Do you think the United States is the greatest country on this earth? Why or why not?
A: Ever see the opening for the first episode of “The Newsroom”? If not, you should. The way Jeff Daniels’ character answers this question is precisely how I feel about it.
Q: What is one thing you tell people right now to change the world for the better?
Care about each other and the planet.
Q: What do you think is the key to a healthy relationship?
Honesty, trust, and communication are paramount. Too many people are dishonest or untrusting in their relationships, and it ultimately destroys them.
To help Misty change the world, please donate to her campaign click here.
Please check out this great piece about Misty, which recently ran in The Guardian.