Andy Schmookler: People Power
You raise the good question, “How can Andy Schmookler win when his opponent has access to so much more money than he has?” The question could be rephrased, “How can People Power defeat the Money Power in America today?”
That question is an urgent question for our nation, particularly now– in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to unlimited money in our election process, and when the Republican Party has come under the domination of a force for which there is never enough of either money or power.
My answer is this: to win –in my campaign specifically, and in the effort to rescue our democracy from that destructive force—we must tap into deeper sources of power, into powers of the spirit that in certain historical moments have proved able to move mountains.
The question then arises, “How can we become so “inspired” –a word that connects with “spirit”– that we rise up and succeed in defending our birthright as Americans from this destructive force that’s arisen on the right (and that my opponent, Bob Goodlatte, so willingly serves)?”
In my campaign, I am seeking to provide the spark that can ignite that passion. There is the passion of love that can be enlisted by looking at those sacred values of justice and freedom and honor and honesty toward which America has always striven as an ideal. And there is the passion of fear aroused when we see clearly how seriously threatened those values are in our time. What could possibly motivate us more profoundly than the truth of our present situation, where the future for our children and our grandchildren and our planet and our deepest values are in jeopardy.
No, I do not wield the million(s) available to our 20-year incumbent, Bob Goodlatte. But I am running on the slogan, “Truth. For a change”—because I believe that there is a power in the truth that –in some circumstances—can prove irresistible. I have based my whole life –as an author, as a speaker, as a talk radio host here in the Shenandoah Valley—on that belief. And it is my faith in that possibility that inspires my campaign.
Beginning this week, I will be making the rounds to speak to and converse with the citizens in this District. My campaign can succeed, I have said, only if it becomes a movement—that is, only if people join with me with a passion and sense of purpose deeper, than politics-as-usual, to rescue our beloved country from the pit into which we are being dragged. These “Making the Rounds” appearances are an effort to kindle that kind of passion.
In this first round, I will be speaking briefly about “The Real Threat to Our American Liberty,” and then will field from those in the audience whatever questions they care to bring. I am inviting questions about our political situation, of course, but also about the broader condition of America –moral, cultural, spiritual—within which our present political crisis has arisen. Perhaps this will prove one way to build the kind of “movement” that we need. I will do my best to that end, and I invite all your readers to join me in that effort.
Let us tap into that power of the truth.
There is a famous line in a poem (by William Butler Yeats, titled “The Second Coming”):
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
In today’s America, the lie has been defeating the truth. But that is not because the truth itself is weak, but because those upon whom we have relied to proclaim the truth have shrunk from the battle that needs to be fought, and have left the truth unspoken or spoken but weakly.
If enough people will join me in proclaiming that truth boldly, we can overcome Bob Goodlatte’s million dollar advantage. People Power can defeat the Money Power.
Andy Schmookler is the Sixth District Democratic Party congressional nominee.