In the his first interview since announcing a campaign for a Maryland Senate seat, Chelsea Manning spoke to The Guardian about his experience behind bars and how life outside feels very similar and is just like he “exchanged prisons.”
Manning goes as far as comparing New York City’s police presence in Brooklyn as “an occupying force” and sees it as no different as when he served in the military overseas in Iraq.
“There was this immense police presence and they were militarized,” Manning said of Brooklyn. “I’ve been part of an occupying force in a foreign country, and I know what that looks like. That’s what I saw in Brooklyn – an occupying force.”
Stating the obvious, Manning (who came out as transgender during his time in military prison) says he’s “a very different person than I was 10 years ago” and believes users on Twitter were the driving force behind pressuring former President Barack Obama to commute his sentence.
Manning’s political ambitions seem sincere, however, unseating two-term Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland in a primary looks to be an uphill battle.
“We know it’s a real fight ahead of us,” Manning told the Guardian. “We do want to win, but if we lose our principles then winning wouldn’t matter.”
Manning will need to bank on those supposed principles if he hopes to beat Cardin, who has at least $2 million dollars stored away for his reelection campaign. Last time Cardin faced a primary opponent, he handily beat his challenged 74 percent to 16 percent.
So what are those so-called “principles” of Mannings? “Radical anti-authoritarianism,” apparently.
“The United States has the largest and most expensive military in the world, but we always want more,” he told his interviewer when asked to explain. “We have the largest prison system in the world, yet we want more. We have the largest and most sophisticated intelligence apparatus in the world by far, and still we want more. How much is enough? That is my moment – we need this to stop.”
In terms of immigration, Manning has no problem admitting she’s for total open borders.
“We shouldn’t be denying the absolute right to come into the United States,” he said. “You have a right, everybody does.”
It remains to be seen if Maryland voters are clamoring for a transgender woman felon who spent seven years in prison for violating the Espionage Act after he released the largest trove of classified U.S. governments in history to WikiLeaks. Regardless of whether he wins, the fact that he has any support says plenty about the current state of the Democratic Party.
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