It is time to serve America first and put people before party.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, Rep. Bob Goodlatte announced he was not going to run for re-election in 2018. I heard the news the day before the official announcement, and as I drove home to the Valley from my most recent trip to the D.C., I pondered what that opportunity could mean.
As I drove home, I called my wife and a couple of friends. “Goodlatte is going to retire, I’m thinking of running for Congress…” The response then and as I talked with others about it was encouraging, supportive and realistic.
It would be a long shot, but I wanted to change the narrative. The toxicity of party politics and the party over policy approach to governing appalled me. The issues I cared deeply about, conservation, small business, veterans, were becoming political casualties.
Mulling it over I questioned if it just ego or could a pull it off.
Thanksgiving morning I made the decision. Nope, not going to do it.
The reasons were pretty straightforward. To be competitive in a primary should I choose that route and then again in the general election I would have to stop everything else I was doing and focus all my time, energy and attention on the campaign. My work at the Marine Fish Conservation Network is enjoyable and rewarding. The thought of giving up guiding and teaching on the weekends, an essential mental and physical part of my life was almost unthinkable. The financial commitment was daunting. In the end, those factors made it a mountain too high to climb.
So where do I go from here? The system is broken, the change has to come from people who are willing to call bullshit and work for a better solution. If I’m not going to get in the campaign arena personally how can I work for change?
One of my favorite political scribes is Rich Galen of Mullings fame. Rich’s son Reed is no slouch behind the keyboard, and often, because of tips in his dad’s column, I will find my way to Reed’s articles. Such was the case right after my Thanksgiving decision.
Reed’s article, Hope the High Road captured my thinking and concerns.
“The last decade or so has brought into stark relief what many Americans have known instinctively for years: Our elected leaders far too often serve their own ambition or tribal beliefs rather than those they’re sworn to represent. This isn’t new news, it’s not even terribly surprising. It is however, time to do something about it.”
More importantly, Reed shown a spotlight on a path forward.
“Trump’s behavior, complete lack of ability (or desire) to govern and his obsession with trivial, anger-inducing issues is waking up voters to the idea that if we want to be better, we need to do better. That starts with us. It starts with good people saying enough is enough and putting themselves forward for public office. It means shedding 150 years of partisan snakeskin in favor of new, better options.
Of course, I agreed with what he wrote and thought “Oh crap, just got called out on the decision I made three days ago…”
Fortunately, he went on to add more steps that could be taken.
“The transformation won’t start on Facebook or Twitter or Fox News or MSNBC. It will start when citizens — like you and me — get together in their dining rooms, living rooms, union halls and VFW halls and start to say, “We’re here, and we’re ready. Let’s get to work.” So let’s do it. Call your friends, your neighbors, your family and your co-workers. Tell them you want to talk politics. Not Trump or Hillary, but the politics of solutions and progress. Have a meal or a beer and ask, what can we do, here and now in our town, on our block or in our district. Then go do it.”
OK, now I feel better about my decision. I’m a career lobbyist and enjoy my forays into journalism; I can talk “the politics of solutions and progress.” Where shall I start?
Let this article serve as the introduction. I am getting back behind the keyboard and starting writing about the politics of solutions and progress. I’ll focus on those topics near and dear to me as noted above.
And here is an opportunity to join me and become part of a movement to change the narrative from party over policy and the two-party system that perpetuates it.
Join SAM, the Serve America Movement. Check out the website, watch the video, read the principles, and if you agree that this is right path forward, sign up. After that sit down with your friends and family and tell them you want to talk politics; the politics of solutions and progress.