It is now almost twelve weeks that I have engaged in campaigning. I have and continue to learn a lot about the politics and people of this district. Breaking out from the strictures of the environment in which I have dedicated so much of my career, higher education, is exhilarating. As I run a campaign attempting to connect the dots between internet and physical infrastructures, economic development and jobs, social policy and people’s everyday needs that require a responsible government, I come to recognize that this experience connects the dots of my own life. Growing up working in my father’s downtown restaurant meant getting to know people from every walk of life. Youthful political action brought me into student politics and leadership. I am grateful that it is not too late to cross over to the road not previously taken, and to bring my education, career and experience to bear on the needs of the 23rd District.
Working through issues from foreign to domestic policy, abortion and guns and health care and civil rights, one thought rises above the rest. Republicans seek to create a divide among us. Name the issue: medical care, tax reform, immigration, civil rights – in every single case, when I boil down what Reed and the Republicans want, it is to divide the working and middle classes so to as deprive them of their fair share of their labors and this country’s wealth, and to siphon that fair share into obscene benefits to the 1%.
There is no better example than President Trump. Winning with no sense of integrity in the process, a pathological desire for attention no matter what the costs, and an obscene love of money, pure and simple, motivates that man from morning to night, at the expense of the people he cajoles and angers, divides and conquers at least to the degree that he now sits in the Oval Office.
The brouhaha that he inspired last Friday and burned throughout the weekend over sports players kneeling protests of police brutality among minorities is a case in point. First, let’s note that this protest did not begin just last week. It has been on-going for some time. Why, then, did Trump choose suddenly to tweet about it? Any other president who campaigned so strongly on repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have undoubtedly been out stumping on the eve of an important vote. Ever the one to want credit for a win and never one to accept responsibility for a loss, Trump knew it would not pass and so decided to divert attention from it.
Until Sunday, he almost got away with it. Whether players stayed in locker rooms, locked arms or knelt, there was a sense of protest at best, rejection at least, of his brassy, crude interference. Now he attempts to capture the flag and divide us once again with the notion that some protests are about patriotism and some are, by his definition, its opposite. Let’s not let him get away with this ruse! Peaceful protest is patriotic. That is, after all, what the First Amendment to the Constitution is all about.
A self-serving definition of patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Let’s not let him use conformist pressures to repress speech about an issue that continues to plague us: racism and political violence. This man with a long track record of racist opinions and behaviors in his housing developments and workplaces, who began his political career on a vile lie, and who creates false equivalencies between white supremacists and left-leaning protesters can say whatever he wants, but we do not have to believe him, we should not feel compelled to fall in line with his wants, we cannot allow ourselves to be divided once again so as to divert attention away from the real issues of health care for working and middle classes.
Connect the dots! Give the people of the 23rd District a fighting chance! In the midst of his loss in the Senate, let us now advance to a campaign for universal health care and other programs that address the real needs of the good men and women, families and children of this District, together, immigrants and natives, black and white, city and farm, working and middle classes. Lock arms against the 1%!