Braveheart in Arizona

The text below is the transcription of the video above.

Background and Apology

The speech you are about to listen to has proven to be controversial.

After I finished writing it, I was very proud. I thought it was daring. I thought it was captivating. I thought it was truthful.

But when I delivered it to the audience I hoped would eat it up, it bombed hard.

That audience was the good Democrats in Arizona’s 24th legislative district.  I had been given 2 minutes at their monthly meeting district meeting, the first official group of Democrats I was going to try to win over.  These are meetings where a around 100 of the most motivated Democrats in the district hear from their elected representatives, and plan to take the issues to the neighbors.  Their passion for good governance, and the grassroots work they do because of that passion is incredible.  Many of them have been fighting for change in Government much longer than me.  I was excited to have the opportunity to persuade them to help me in my campaign for Governor.

It did not go as planned.

First, when I wrote my speech, it took 4 minutes.  But I was so proud of it, that I really couldn’t figure out how to shave it down.  Having been a member of some groups where timekeeping is very rigid, I knew I didn’t want to go over time if their was a very strict observance of the time table.  So I asked around about how rigid these meetings usually are, and was told that they are usually pretty casual.  I assumed that the casual atmosphere combined with my incredibly compelling speech would mean that no one would begrudge me an extra couple minutes.  

Once at the meeting, things seemed to progress just as I’d been told.  Around 10 people spoke before me, and all but one of them went significantly over.  The section for my announcement was supposed to begin at 7:50, but it didn’t actually begin until 8:10.  So I was feeling pretty good about taking an extra couple minutes.

When I began, the crowd was warm to me, and cheered for a couple of the things I said.  They were mine to lose, and I did lose them.

The trouble began when I reached a passage in which I use the word rape in a figurative sense multiple times.  Some people in the room were deeply disturbed by my use of that word, and they asked me to change it.  While I did modify the speech on the fly at that point, and it seemed like many of the people were still interested in what I had to say, I had lost the leaders and some of the more vocal people in the room, and the tension was palpable.  

The second my 2 minutes were up, unlike all the previous speakers, they asked me to stop speaking.  I responded that every single speaker before me had gone over time, and that I intended to take advantage of the same courtesy.  I offered to sweeten the pot by making a contribution to their district fund.  Honestly, I wasn’t trying to demand special treatment, or use money to make up for my bad behavior.  I was trying to demand equal treatment to all the speakers who had gone before me, and I was trying to show genuine interest in helping the district fund its initiatives.  

However, I absolutely understand that I had violated the rules.  Certainly none of the speakers before me had said anything that had offended anyone in the room, so they felt justified in treating me differently for that reason.  And they felt like contributing to their district was already an expectation given my candidacy for Governor.  And they felt like my challenging of the leaders in the room was incredibly disrespectful.

Though I tried to muscle my way through the rest of speech, the room got so loud in opposition to me continuing that it was pointless.  I was defeated.

I stayed around to shake hands and with people.  To their credit, they were all friendly.

I subsequently made a post, the purpose of which was to share openly that not every moment of my campaign is successful.  Though I didn’t try to misrepresent what had happened, some of the people in the meeting who saw the post felt that my perception of the events didn’t accurately represent what had happened.

The meeting was a few days ago, and I since then I have traded messages with the leadership team.  They have been very gracious in communicating productively with me.  I suspect that I will have to do a lot of work to win back the trust of these wonderful people, but I intend to do that work.   I hope they will accept me back into the fold when they see my sincerity and my drive.

I want to apologize to the leaders of LD 24 and the good Democrats who attended that evening.  First, I want to apologize for disrespecting the leadership team by trying to continue my speech after I’d been asked to stop.  Bottom line: it wasn’t cool, and I shouldn’t have done it.

I also want to apologize if it seemed like I was trying to use money to get special privileges.  I absolutely understand why it was perceived that way.  I promise, my intention was to show you that I am passionate about empowering the good work you do.

Most importantly, I wish to sincerely apologize for the trauma, anxiety, and other forms and levels of discomfort caused by my rhetoric.  It was not my intention to cause anyone to relive past experiences or to fixate on the prevalence of sexual assault in our society, and to the degree that my speech had that effect, I could not be more sorry.

I previously agreed to release the speech in its original form, and after these opening remarks I will make good on that promise.  The speech contains the word rape, along with a usage of a racial slur and 2 slurs based on sexual orientation.  When these words are used by people filled with hate and bigotry to describe the good citizens of our minority communities, they are repugnant, and I condemn such usage.  That is not the way they are used here.  The purpose of the language is to draw attention to the incredibly negative effects of the policies that come from the current political climate in Arizona.  If you are the sort of person who finds the use of such words offensive for any purpose and in any context, please do not continue watching the video, and please forgive me for having penned them

Thank you.

The Speech

My name is Noah Dyer. I’m an independent who’s joined with the Democratic party to campaign for Governor.

If you haven’t heard, I’ve made something of a name for myself by being honest. Some have even suggested I’ve been too honest. Well, I intend to honor my reputation tonight. I’ve been given a couple minutes, which doesn’t leave much time for pleasantries, so you’ll forgive the fact that I’m just gonna turn on the fire hose of truth right now, and ask you you to drink as much of it as you can.

Have you ever seen Braveheart?  It’s a perfect metaphor for what’s going on in Arizona.

Doug Ducey, the king, has made alliances with selfish business and political leaders.  As part of that alliance, he has authorized his powerful allies to create policies that rape Arizona’s most vulnerable communities.  Not only that, but just like the king, he has the audacity to tell the public it’s a privilege to be violated by his cronies’ policies.  

Unlike the movie, he doesn’t call his heinous legislation Prima Nocta.  Rather, it goes by many names. When their policies rape our public school students and teachers, they calls it “school choice.”  When they rape our LGBTQ community they call it “defending marriage.”  When they rape our poor, he calls it “job creation.”

Who is going to stand up for our people and fight against the disgusting consequences of these policies?  The highest leaders of the Arizona Democratic Party have made it very clear to me that they will not lead the fight for the top office in the state, unless you, the voters and community leaders, twist their arm and force them.

They’re treating the next election cycle like a chess game, and they seem to think their best option is a stalemate.  The party’s strongest politicians are afraid to take on Doug Ducey, so they are planning to run for downballot offices where they are more confident they can win.  

What is it that they’re afraid of?!

He obviously doesn’t care for our immigrant community, but they think he’s untouchable despite the racism of his policies, I guess because they have enough sense to avoid openly calling immigrants wetbacks.  His policies are bigoted against our our LGBTQ community, and yet they still think he can’t be beat because the policies avoid calling them faggots and dykes outright.  And on top of that, they’re afraid of his wholesome haircut, his CEO smile, and his fat checkbook.   

So what does the Governor’s race look like when you follow the plan of Democratic leaders who are afraid of the tyrant?  You let them call up one of their 3rd string pawns, ask that pawn to run with comparably meager clean elections funding, and let Ducey slaughter the poor sap while the party focuses its financial resources on easier targets.

Well you need to tell the party leaders this isn’t a chess match.  This is war!  You will not wait for almost 6 years for change to come to the top office in Arizona.  In 2018 you expect a Democrat for Governor.  You expect a Democrat for Superintendent.  And you expect a full complement of Democratic legislators and lawmakers at the local, state, and national level.

You might recall the end of Braveheart.  Because he did not receive the support of those who should have been his leaders, the war was lost.  His balls were cut off, and he was torn to pieces by horses.  Make no mistake, if that is my fate, it will be for the same reasons.  It will be because the power structure was too slow to seize opportunity, too blind to recognize talent, and too afraid to act decisively and do what needs to be done now to remove Doug Ducey from his throne.  

But that is not the fate I see for myself.  If you force them, the party leaders will see reason and take action.  If the Democrats want to win races up and down the ballot, we need independents, and I will bring independents in droves.  If we want to win, we need our Hispanic community to show up, y puesto que yo amo a nuestra comunidad hispana y hablo un Español buenísimo, motivaré a muchos hispanos a votar.  And most importantly, if the Democrats want to win the Governor’s seat, we need a warrior, not a diplomat.  My campaign isn’t about getting a few extra percentage points to vote blue next November.  My campaign is about giving Doug Ducey the brutal, medieval ass-kicking we all know he deserves, and helping other Democrats do the same to anyone who is foolish enough to go into battle under Ducey’s banner.

I’m Noah Dyer.  They say I’m running for Governor, but they’re wrong.  I’m waging war for Governor.  And I ask all of you to take up arms with me.

2 replies
  1. Sean Roe
    Sean Roe says:

    Noah,

    While the language is offensive, the words are accurate. The Republicans are running roughshod over this state. Gone is the Republican party of old, where consensus was the rule of the day. I was a Reagan Republican, but no longer. If people are mad at the words you use then they should use that anger and funnel it where it belongs, at the people who created the “kingdom” and rule it with an iron fist. The time for change is now.

    Reply

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