As one of the most publicly recognizable figures in the LGBTQ community, it’s almost a given that RuPaul is an outspoken political voice. Just go to his Twitter page, and you will find a number of tweets musing on the nature of politics, his disdain for President Donald Trump’s administration and a slew of other politically-fueled pieces of commentary.
So as part of his many appearances at RuPaul’s DragCon NYC, Ru decided to create a platform where an open, honest discussion about the current state of society could happen. Talking to New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow during the first in his new series of “RuTalks,” Ru chatted about the controversial Brett Kavanaugh hearings, the importance of voting in 2018 and the search for optimism in this difficult political climate.
While the two also talked about Blow’s upbringing in Louisiana, the future of drag and Blow’s book Fire Shut Up in My Bones, they focused their conversation on the political climate we’ve found ourselves living in. Here are five outstanding moments from the first of RuPaul’s “RuTalks” with Charles M. Blow.
1. Blow highlighted what people are not talking about surrounding Brett Kavanaugh.
While many of the details surrounding the allegations of assault brought against Judge Brett Kavanaugh have been discussed repeatedly in the news cycle, Ru wanted to know if there were things that weren’t being discussed that Blow felt needed to be highlighted. “The entire discussion around sexual abuse … was completely derailed, and not of the kind or quality it should have been,” Blow said, referring to the way that outlets and Twitter users have discussed Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford’s allegations. “We’re still not talking about that in the right kinds of ways.”
2. Ru and Blow discussed the way out of this “political nightmare.”
More than anything, Ru focused the conversation on finding a way out of the mess that we’re in. “What will it take to turn this around?” he asked repeatedly. “Is it complete catastrophe?” Blow was adamant about advocating for the best way out: voting. “When people win, they get lazy, and when they lose, they get angry,” he said. But Blow said that if we want to find a more permanent solution to our political problems, then that algorithm needs to change. “You can’t just participate when you’re pissed off,” he said. “You have to participate because you believe in and want a future where you don’t have to go through these cycles of anger and depression every decade.”
3. They don’t want to have to make voting “sexy.”
During a tangent where Blow got heated regarding the closing 2016 election numbers in Michigan (and how many people simply didn’t vote for a president), RuPaul took a moment to make light of the serious fact that he, and celebrities like him, are tasked with convincing younger people to vote. “I’m somehow supposed to make voting sexy for the young people,” Ru said. “I don’t know what else to do! Do I really have attach this to Grindr or Tinder or something? Like, just go vote, kids!”
4. Ru mused on how drag is and can be informed by the #MeToo movement.
When an audience member asked Ru how drag can support the growing #MeToo movement and become an advocacy ground for modern feminism, Ru at first responded with “I don’t know the answer!” But after some thinking, he said that both #MeToo and drag have a rebellious spirit. “We’re saying to the structures of society, ‘F— you!’” he said. “In that regard, I think we’re well aligned with the movement and our newly-minted national hero [Dr. Ford].”
5. Blow acknowledged that rebuilding “bridges” may be harder than we think.
A fan asked both Ru and Blow about what we as a society could do to try and heal the partisan divide in our country. While Blow acknowledged that differences can be overcome with time, he said that it is also important to understand that there are simply some things we don’t need to meet in the middle about. “We can disagree on policy issues, or any political issues, as long as your disagreement with me doesn’t turn on my right and ability to live a happy, open and free life,” he said. “We’ve put an undue burden on the oppressed in this world to try and draw out people into the light. That is not my job.”