Andy Schmookler: Why I’m running
For years, America’s working people – far from being honored – have been trashed. Their pensions have been cut or eliminated; their jobs have been shipped overseas; their wages have fallen even while their companies flourish.
You may have noticed that the Stock Market is doing fine, while working people are doing not so well. For years in America, as the productivity of workers increased their wages climbed in tandem. But for more than a decade, that’s stopped being true. Working people have stopped getting their fair share of the reward for their efforts. All the benefits of growth have been going to corporate profits.
We’re told that corporations are people; but some seem to have forgotten that American workers really are people. They’re not disposable units, but the life blood of our nation. They deserve better.
Getting average Americans a fair shake is just one reason why I’m running for our Sixth District seat.
I’m surprised to find myself a political candidate. I’m 66 and have never run for public office. When I was 15, my Dad told me why I wasn’t cut out to be a politician. Dad said, ‘Andy, you’re too straightforward. You insist on saying what you think. But that’s not how things are in politics.’ He was right.
That was a half century ago. And I’ve spent those 50 years looking for the truth about why some societies serve their people well and why others hurt them. In all those years, I never even thought about running for office.
Until now. Now, in America, the dishonesty in our politics has become so bad, with lies so often defeating the truth, that I figure now’s the moment when truth-telling needs its champions. That’s at the heart of why I’m running to replace Bob Goodlatte as the 6th District representative in Congress.
Independent fact checkers have found, over and over again, that Mitt Romney’s and George Allen’s ads are false,– pants on fire, as their rating is called.
In the America I grew up in, our government helped to create a vibrant middle class, with measures like the G.I. Bill and protections for the rights of workers – helping average Americans. Government can again be an instrument for the people, and America can truly be a land of opportunity for all Americans.
In the America I grew up in, our political leaders could work together on the basis of the values that we Americans share – liberals and conservatives alike – to achieve our common purposes. We can again have a political system that practices civility and compromise, and does the people’s business.
It should be remembered that this do-nothing Congress – which is, for good reason, wildly unpopular – is controlled by Republicans and Tea Partiers, who have insisted on pushing their radical agenda, knowing full well it would be DOA in the Senate, rather than passing real legislation to create jobs, to help the economy, to serve the public a public servant is supposed to serve.
This is not real conservatism we see in this Party – just the opposite. It destroys our political traditions. We need a good conservative party again.
In the America I grew up in, there was a general respect for both liberal and conservative values. We can again be a nation with that kind of mutual respect, and recognition that we are all Americans.
I’m running now because I see the foundations of our American democracy under assault. We need government to be for the people, not just the rich and powerful. We need public servants who serve the public, not their own ambitions. We need leaders who put the good of the nation ahead of partisan advantage. And in our politics, we need the truth to defeat the lie.
I promise to tell you the truth, I promise to treat the good of every American as being just as important as that of the richest and most powerful. Please think about that on Election Day, because I keep my promises.
Andy Schmookler is the Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia’s Sixth District.