A philosophical approach to politics: master’s student runs for office in Maine

Brandeis University News

A philosophical approach to politics: master’s student runs for office in MaineNov. 2, 2018Jeremy Mele, a second-year master’s student in philosophy, is running for state representative in Maine’s House District 19, which represents part of Sanford, the 6th largest city in Maine with 21,000 residents. Below, Mele talks about how his studies in philosophy influence his approach to politics.Who (or what) inspired you to run for office?There were a number of factors that played into my decision to run for office. I’d say the key political figure who inspired me to run was Bernie Sanders. A lot of people were inspired by his message of getting money out of politics, fighting for workers’ rights, and guaranteeing healthcare for all, and I was a strong supporter of his bid for president. When he lost, I, and I think a lot of others, realized that no one was coming to save us, not even Bernie. If we wanted positive change to occur, we had to go out and do it ourselves. So, when the opportunity came to run for office, I decided that I should give it a go. Problems like low wages, a lack of universal healthcare, and climate change aren’t going to go away on their own; we need elected officials who recognize and treat them as the threat they are. I am running for office because I do recognize these threats and want to see them addressed.How does your work as a philosopher inform your political work?Though I don’t consider myself a Utilitarian, I have been greatly inspired by the work of Peter Singer in my ethical development. His “drowning child” thought experiment caused me to reevaluate how I live my life. There are terrible things happening around us all the time; people live in poverty, corporations get away with unfair and exploitative labor practices, and …

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