Back on August 8, we reported that Del. Sam Rasoul was rumored as one of many possible Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor of Virginia in 2021. Now, according to a report in the Roanoke Times, Rasoul “mentioned his interest in the statewide position Wednesday night during a town hall about COVID-19 and criminal justice reform,” and added the following quote to the Roanoke Times:
“As we heal in 2021, I believe we can be bold in our convictions without tearing each other down. We can root for our teams and love the game. Over the next few weeks I will decide whether a bid for lieutenant governor is the right decision for my family and Virginia.”
See below for the video from last night, during which Rasoul had some…er, “interesting” things to say. I agree with some of this, while strongly disagreeing with other stuff here (e.g., some of his comments about Democrats and Black and Brown people had me shaking my head). How about you?
- According to Rasoul, on his experience with having COVID-19 a few weeks ago, he said he doesn’t know who in his family had it first, but that “it was my fault” for meeting with an asymptomatic family member. He also cited the lack of rapid testing as part of the problem with COVID-19 transmission. He added that he can “just imagine how scared and how difficult it must be for those especially who are incarcerated…”
- On criminal justice reform, Rasoul said that Democrats “have allowed conservatives to successfully control the narrative and Democrats been terrified to be bold when needed and really step up because don’t want to be quote-unquote ‘weak on crime’.” He also said that Virginia should have released prisoners more quickly than it did, “been much more bold” during the COVID epidemic.
- “The #1 failure of our country…is our lack of testing.”
- “Without the energy of these protests [against police violence]…you just keep hitting a wall…change seems to happen in stair steps…and if you just don’t push hard now and say this is going to be a big step, then you will have a long period of time where the status quo will dominate.”
- “People have a lot to be frustrated” these days. “Right now is a critical time…getting as much done as possible and bringing people along...We have to look for unlikely bedfellows…What is frustrating is when it all turns into Democrat vs. Republican.”
- The “don’t snitch on me culture” within police departments is very dangerous and needs to change.
- According to Rasoul, we should all “stop talking about Donald Trump.” Rasoul added that voting is an “emotional decision, not rational…issues very rarely win elections…people are trying to figure out, ‘am I being respected, am I being included’…the values that you carry.“
- “This is hard for some people to hear, but the people who get in the way of people of color are people of color. I mean, I just see Black and Brown people getting in front of each other and trying to compete for oxygen…That’s not how you build coalitions, to try to figure out, ok, who has been the most oppressed.”
- “I’ve got Sean [Perryman] right here. My job is right now, today, is the time for Black voices to lead, to stand up, to be bold…my job is to figure out how I can help those Black and Brown voices that are well intentioned, that are not just out there to grab some oxygen…to amplify them…because when I amplify them, it helps to protect me as a religious and ethnic minority.”
- “I believe that government has an important role in our lives…not necessarily solve all problems but can help us significantly, and that’s another piece of the narrative that we have lost on the left.”
- “I’m not as sexy as Sean [Perryman] and I wish him well as he’s thinking about all this and piecing it together. It is true that for many months I have pondered whether or not I wanted to jump into the LG race after my seven sessions in the General Assembly”
- “I guess it’s been frustrating to see that many times it’s not so much about liberal and conservative as it is, follow the money…train that has gotten in the way…I try to figure out how can we bring people along so we can move the conversation along…As we move forward, that will be important for me…to really ask ourselves hard questions, why did we lose the presidential election in 2016? If we want to put our finger on one little thing here or there and not really understand that it’s a result of decades of neglect of people all across the spectrum…That manifested itself in such a way where the self righteousness of one tone pushed people away and we lost the Rust Belt…we are barely holding on – the Democratic Party – we are barely holding on to the Black vote. It’s tough to find Black Millennials or Generation Z who really embrace being a Democrat. We’ve got a lot of work to do…”