Rob: Welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM, sponsored by opednews.com.
My guest tonight is Mikel Weisser. Mikel has been a long time content contributor, a writer for OpEdNews. I got to meet Mikel at the National Occupy event a year after Occupy...the first summer after Occupy I guess. And now Mikel is running for congress as a democratic party candidate in Arizona, which is pretty cool....having one of OpEdNews regulars running for congress. So I thought it would be interesting to have a conversation about it. Now OpEdNews is non-profit so we can't endorse a candidate, but we can have a conversation with one as we've done in the past. So that's what we're doing.
Welcome to the show Mike.
MW: Thank you very much Rob. This is a true honor to be here.
Rob: Well it's an honor to have you here. And I would say congratulations but I'm not sure congratulations is in order for jumping into the fire of a campaign.
MW: L-O-L...L-O-L, yeah, it has been a tremendous adventure. I don't know if congratulations are in order but I've had the best 3 years of my life since I decided to make my life about this campaign.
Rob: 3 years? Wow.
MW: It's transformative. Anybody that is doing activist work and decides to advance to the next level or push themselves to the next level of making it an actual political campaign, you're just on fire -- you have to be about your issues all the time, cut away your b.s., and it's good for a person to be a candidate. I don't what it's like if you're full of b.s....that might make it a hard day. But everybody I talk to who has become a candidate does so because they were inspired by the issues, they love what it does for them personally.
Rob: So what has it done for you?
MW: Well, I've met thousands of extraordinary people and really got to see whether my issues, my ideas were things I could live behind. I've been given tremendous opportunities to test myself; to give speeches that I feel inspire others and so that inspires me back. Like yesterday I was in Tucson, which is pretty far away from my congressional district, but it's Tucson, the 2nd biggest city in the state; and they had invited me to speak at their LGBT pride day event. So through the course of the day I had a moment so emotional that I had like Thomas Eagleton crying from the joy of it, four different times. You just can't get that with the job at 7-11.
Rob: What was that about? What led to that?
MW: Well yesterday, Arizona...well not yesterday...this past week the US Supreme Court decided to not hear state challenges to appeals court rulings on LGBT equality in five different states -- Arizona was one of them. So that meant that through the course of this week we had political...or judicial wrangling to decide whether or not the Arizona Attorney General was going to try to appeal or accept the Supreme Court ruling because they were going to have to go back to the appeals court level and retry their case. The bottom line is that the attorney general decided not to appeal on Friday; marriages....marriage equality/marriages, gender equality/marriages began on Friday in Arizona. Coincidentally Tucson, 2nd biggest city in the state and one of the leaders in the progressive movement in the state, was having their annual LGBT pride event -- are you familiar with those Rob?
Rob: LGBT pride events?
MW: Pride Day event.
Rob: Yeah. They're big.