Review of ‘Knock Down the House’

If you can’t tell by anywhere else on this website, I’m SO into a boss bitch and story of a come up. My brother, Sullivan, and I recently sat down to watch “Knock Down the House” on Netflix. You need to watch this documentary.

It’s the story of four women and their fight for seats in Congress. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who ran for New York’s 14th Congressional District which includes Queens and the Bronx – areas full of working class voters and minorities. Amy Vilela who ran for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District on a campaign that targeted the lack of affordable health care for workers in her community. Cori Bush, a candidate from Missouri’s 1st District, took on Lacy Cook a powerful Democratic incumbent. Last, but certainly not least, the documentary covers the race of Paula Jean Swearengin for a United States Senate seat representing West Virginia.

I’ve been on Twitter for about a decade. I read a lot of political articles and listen to all of the podcasts. I would love to say that I’m not biased, but I do seek out information and media outlets that report on those that I favor in primary, Congressional, and Presidential election. With a Bachelor’s in Political Science, I definitely walk around thinking that I know more than the average American. However, “Knock Down the House” made me reconsider everything I knew about politics.

We’re so used to political campaigns being these huge movements that we see on TV. We’re used to donations of millions of dollars being the foundation to getting anything we want. Usually, those that have that kind of money are corporations or lobbyists that don’t have the collective good in mind. Rather, it’s oil companies shelling out big bucks for votes in favor of fracking or against climate change.

About these political powerhouses

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is known for getting criticism from coming from a life of serving and bartending to politics. However, the documentary shows just how much work goes into a grassroots campaign. While she’s not a millionaire and can’t quit her job, she must work even harder than others around the clock on campaign work.

Amy Vilela, a strong woman running in Nevada, does so to honor her daughter. Because the family lacked adequate health insurance, her daughter wasn’t able to get a necessary test that could have saved her life. Throughout the documentary, Amy runs on the stance that Americans should not have to misunderstand insurance, go in debt to afford insurance, or worry about the death of a family member so that someone in Corporate America can get rich.

Cori Bush takes on incumbent, Lacy Cook, whose family has served Missouri’s first district for many years. Though Cook is also a Democrat, Cori Bush hopes to amplify the voices of those who have gone unheard. Missouri’s 1st District is where Michael Brown, an 18-year old black citizen, was shot by a police officer. Political unrest after the shooting was watched by the entire world from its epicenter in Fergusson, MO. Cori Bush wants people to realize that being a Democrat doesn’t always mean that they’re fighting for the community. She wants to see serious change.

Lastly, Paula Jean Swearengin runs against a longstanding incumbent for one of West Virginia’s Senate seats. West Virginia continues to be torn apart by the government for coal and other natural resources. “If another country was doing this, we’d go to war,” she says about the destruction of mountains that are releasing toxins into the air and water. West Virginia has a high rate of cancers due to the exposure to these elements which are making the citizens die young. As someone who watched her father die too young of cancer, Paula Jean Swearengin uses passion and anger to try and change the tides.

My reaction

I was excited to watch “Knock Down the House” in general. Like I said, I love a strong woman and the story of an underdog. However, I was surprised by how moved I was at the conclusion of the film. I spent all of my higher education studying policies and campaigns that are shown in this documentary. These women break the barriers for what is expected in politics. Like most other parts of life, money speaks when it comes to voting and campaigning. These women aren’t worried about money, fame, or later reelection. They’re worried about the people within their communities.

I took this at a political rally when I was feeling a fire about politics. Look out, guys, it’s back.

This documentary reminded me what I believed politics to be before I studied a bunch of textbooks. It reminded me that people who want who see injustice and want to do good are always out there. Hope now surges through my muscles in a system I had given up on. It made me proud that behind every ambition to change the world is thousands of hours of work, people who support, and vote. Watching this documentary made me feel like I mattered in the world of politics.

If you haven’t watched this documentary yet, watch it. If you don’t have a Netflix account, get one just to watch this. It will change how you view the world of politics. “Knock Down the House” will be the light at the end of your political tunnel.

Have you watched this documentary? What did you think? Connect with me through any of the social media links below – let’s talk about it!

Checking My White Privilege

The fact that I’m even writing a blog like this hurts my whole heart. The fact that I’m preparing for it to be met with some hate on my Facebook or Twitter feed makes me lose all hope. For those of you who this blog does not find well, I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry that you’ve chosen to close your eyes and mouth to the clear lines drawn in the sand. I’m not sorry that you’ve chosen to act like your privilege was something you “earned” rather than something you were genetically encoded with when you came into the world with white skin. If this finds you poorly and you want to spit some fire back, go for it. But, I’m not going to be silent about this & passively sit back. 

I’m tired of us killing each other. I’m so tired of us using fear of what we don’t know or refuse to understand as a reason to shoot at, choke, or murder each other in cold blood. And honestly, saying “each other” is doing a disservice. I’m tired of us killing people because they have black skin. It sends a shiver down my spine that we refer to this as “brutality” when it’s only one thing; murder.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you about the experience of a person of color. First, because I can’t even begin to understand that experience; thus, write about it. Second, there are millions of more important narratives you should be reading if you want to truly understand the experience of a person of color. What I am going to do, though, is check my privilege.

Truthfully, there’s never going to be a time when I fully understand my privilege. I try my best to be aware most of the time of my circumstances, but I, like many others, don’t have to walk through life thinking about the color of my skin. I was born into this world with white skin which gives me an unbelievable amount of privilege, that I can acknowledge. But, I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand my privilege, purely because I won’t ever understand the experience of not having it. Does that make sense? Not everyone gets to walk around and not think about the color of their skin all the time like I do. Not everyone gets to walk out of the house worrying only about if your outfit makes you look chubby, rather than drawing implication on who I am as a person. The experience of a person of color is one that I will never have, be able to speak on, or claim to know.

I recently shared a post on Facebook that really made me consider all the things I have the privilege of doing without thinking twice. 

Some of these stuck with me more than others, of course. My younger brother and I have been sitting in our home for 2 months. We’ve never been scared for our lives. Even if a police officer knocked on our door, we wouldn’t be scared of THEM. We’d be scared of the information that they would calmly give us. 

I mean, I’m a blonde, white girl. When I’m in the gas station, I worry about men yelling inappropriate things at me rather than calling the police because they just assume I am shoplifting. When I tell people I’m a first generation college student, they’re genuinely surprised. It’s as if my pale skin indicates that my parents are ultimately together, rich, and successful. However, with my black classmates, struggle has always just been assumed and thus placed upon them. Even if you’re NOT struggling with family or money or foundational stressors, the constant assumption that you are can lead you to a pretty angry and lonely lifestyle. Not to mention that the lack of confidence that the world seems to have that you’re tasked to disprove is like a ladder that just keeps getting taller. 

The REALLY fucked up thing is that these notions are placed upon us before we speak or act. Purely by looking at me, I appear “safer” than women of color. To police in this country, it’s been made obvious that my life is worth more. But, why?

The obvious answer is inherent racism set on us due to years and years of oppression. Institutions that came from trying to punish slaves and maintain Jim Crow laws, such as the modern police force, are still in place – just as the War on Drugs has been unfairly prosecuting people of color since its creation. Reforming institutions that are so clearly based on the foundation of racism is not possible. New and improved models are needed in the 21st century after years of technological, scientific, and academic advances.

I don’t hate police officers. However, I’m not going to sit here and say, “There are a few bad apples just like in everything.” That is diminishing these events. If good officers passively stand by and watch their partners or fellow officers commit murder, they might as well hold the civilian down. If the department puts those officers on “paid leave” until giving them a slap on the wrist, that’s condoning murder in their precinct. Maybe that’s an unpopular opinion. Maybe this paragraph is going to be the one that ruffles the feathers. But, feeling nothing, saying nothing, and DOING NOTHING makes you an instigator, whether you want to be or not. Holding criminal justice as we know it, officers who joined for the right and the wrong reasons, accountable for these actions are the only way that change occurs. 

Photo credit:

Truthfully, white people don’t have to worry about protesting… we saw that in the peak of the pandemic. thousands of Americans screamed in the faces of police officers because they felt their Constitutional rights were being infringed when asked to wear a mask. Some were armed, but of course, that is within their Second Amendment right. Oh, and they were white. But, people of color and their active allies take to the streets to protest the blatant murder and they’re called “rioters” rather than protestors. Their right to peacefully assemble, which is covered by the Constitution, is almost always interrupted with tear gas, violence, or more death. 

And you know what, I don’t have to worry about it. I had another blog that could have gone up. I could turn my head and keep going without saying a word. The privilege that I was born with could carry me through this life. OR, I could say something. I could join in on the conversations, not just for the clout of saying something, but for more information from the black community in how to be the best ally. I can be an active part of the protests. I can write to my representatives because their bias to listen to my voice coming from my skin tone can be seen so clearly sometimes. I can check my white privilege every day and then check it again. So, what can you do?

Let’s talk about this. If you have a way to get involved, donate, or advocate, please get into my DMs and let me know! For anyone that reads this post, or any post in the future, you are so welcome here. I am proud of you. You are worthy. I will not stop advocating for OUR freedoms.