"Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts or evidence."
-John Adams, 1770
Like my friends and neighbors in the 8th district, I'm increasingly concerned about the direction our national policies are leading us Americans. I am equally troubled by what I view as a lack of integrity and leadership in adequately anticipating the present and future issues so vital to the hopes and best interests of our people.
For many this worry has not remotely abated since the last set of national elections, but rather increased and continues to rise with no course correction in sight. I hear from more and more, including those that previously acknowledged supporting the present administration, that also worry about our present course and non-address of pressing concerns. Yet, there is also a disturbing sense that such events are out of our control, and that we Americans no longer really have a voice in our own governance.
Civic responsibility teaches us that the most fundamental duty of a republic citizen is to vote one's approval or disapproval. Today, however, so many seem to be drifting towards a sense of apathy and disengagement from the process. The choice of candidates hasn't helped either with seemingly the 'same old, same old' time and again. Different names may appear on the ballot, but no different in character or appeal. If we Americans just accept the status quo, then we in effect give de facto approval to current policies and direction. I began this journey because I for one can no longer accept the existing situation, and seek a fundamental change starting now.
Many Americans seem to have resigned themselves to the existence of a barrier that forbids us from seeking national office. Is this a right we have forfeited to those fortunate ones with the financial resources and luxury of not having to work a regular job? That certainly seems to be the case, having created a strong 'Catch 22' in which those representing us are nothing like us and therefore don't share our most important concerns. Yet we continue to re-elect the same establishment, and the cycle continues.
"Insanity is expecting different results while continuing to do the same thing."
Is this not the case as relates to the current administration and specifically to our incumbent Congressman? Is it not insanity to expect things to change if we continue to re-elect the unrepresentative aristocracy that led us to our current dilemma? Yet, if we wait once again for the 'right candidate' to come along to represent our concerns, odds are those issues will once again go unaddressed and our Congressman will not be held responsible for his 'rubber stamping' of everything this administration, his party or other outside interests seek to create or undo to the detriment of those supposedly represented.
A brief review of some of the most pressing concerns of average Americans exposes how we are not getting the results we would have expected from recent elections. We need a fresh perspective and course correction now on the fronts of national security, the economy/taxes, the size of government and real family values.
NATIONAL SECURITY: Without question the United States has the best military in the world, but are our current leaders doing their best to prepare, provide and plan; not just to win the peace in ideological operations around the globe, but protect us domestically and adequately serve our brave troops and their families serving us? The lack of accountability from the current administration is staggering, and certainly no mystery to anyone paying attention to the news or many of our loved one's in harm's way, but other issues directly affecting our vital national security receive virtually no attention or address from anyone in government. In fact, they are the one's doing the most damage.
Energy Security - Regardless of sounds bites to the contrary or the latest quick fix solutions, our nation faces a looming energy crisis that must be addressed today, not tomorrow. Although we all know better, our leaders continue to act as if the world has an unlimited supply of oil, operating under the false pretense there's no conflict between serving the people and the foreign and special interests to which they're actually aligned in determining policy. From both a strategic and economic outlook, we have to prepare now for a long term future where we can no longer rely on oil from questionable sources as our core source of energy. Self reliance is a matter of national security. Our dependence on oil has covertly funded the other side of the war on terror for the enemy too long.
National Debt - From a surplus to record deficits in six short years and no end in sight! Helping average Americans bring home the bacon is one thing; spreading pork around like there's no tomorrow is another. Even more importantly, how secure are we as a nation to be so reliant on borrowing from foreign interests like China for our spending sprees?
LESS TAXES/ECONOMY: I subscribe to the theory that any government action or policy that takes money out of my pocket is a tax. Merely superficially cutting the taxes on working people, the most deserving of breaks I might add, while actively engineering the middle class right out of existence is not in the best interests of anyone. Therefore, why are we not more carefully addressing the real areas affecting the bottom lines of working Americans?
Energy Prices - How much more can we take? High energy cost is devastating the typical working family, while record industry profits continue to soar with the assistance of the federal government. Oil probe afterthoughts are too little, too late, and as cynical an effort as we've seen to date from an administration catering to big oil, not us.
Health Insurance - Premiums are sky rocketing. We have to slow this drain on our families down, without engineering the kind of boondoggle we've seen in recent government efforts assisting industry political contributors first, and the people last.
Employment - How do you measure the tax of 'lost jobs' and having to change professions after years of unquestioned loyalty to a company? First NAFTA, now CAFTA. Haven't textiles and now furniture bore enough of the burden of 'national sacrifice' to international trade? How could 'our' Congressman vote in good conscience for more trade agreements that hurt our electorate so much, especially after assuring us he would not vote for this measure? No more! Not in our backyard!
LESS GOVERNMENT: The astronomical rate of bureaucratic growth under the present administration is not only a complete reversal of their promise to shrink the size of government, but is becoming more and more unmanageable as they prove every day. Our government has become less organized, less efficient, more intrusive where we don't need it and less involved where we do, with any cuts or reforms typically hurting working people the most.
Homeland Security - Talk about big government! We need it, but is it working efficiently; and at what price to our civil liberties?
Education - There has not been any federal intervention like No Child Left Behind since 'Brown v. Board of Education,' which was unquestionably needed, but is this level of complication really helping or hindering? As an educator, it's difficult to argue with the concept of NCLB, as you want every child to succeed, but the devil is in the 'under funded' details.
Disaster Response - Remember "Brownie's doing a good job;" Perhaps enough said about the current administration's federal preparation and awareness. On the issue of big government however, we need accountable oversight and the most qualified individuals in all positions operating with a philosophy of lean, mean organizational readiness; not cushy jobs for cronies.
REAL FAMILY VALUES: Given all the rhetoric by representatives anything but representative of our values, I'm eager to take on this issue as a father, a husband, a teacher, a man of religion, a lifelong resident of this area and tax paying worker. It saddens me how activists from both ends of the political spectrum have hijacked our common values and placed them up for partisan debate, while the typical middle class family struggles with unaddressed issues affecting their very survival. To the vast majority of America, common sense is common sense and not up for debate. Let's return meaningful dialogue to politics with a Congress that knows its limited role and duty in representing the people.
David McCullough writes in his book "1776" that George Washington's ability as a leader was derived from his continuing ability to see things as they really were, not as he might want to see them. We've had enough 'leadership' from those that not only refuse to acknowledge reality, but most likely can't even begin to see life as it relates to the common electorate. They persist in the failed assumption that if they repeat something enough, it will become true. However, as John Adams reminded us, 'facts are stubborn things.' We have to get back to reality.
I know I can make a difference.
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives
North Carolina, 8th District