[There is one major truth --one of historical importance, as I see it-- that is the impetus behind my campaign. In the course of this campaign, I have articulated it in various ways. See for example "The Stakes Could Not Be Higher" here at http://andyschmooklerforcongress.com/a-battle-for-americas-soul/.
The following is a new, concise statement. It was written for presentation as a speech delivered --without text or notes in hand-- to the Roanoke Valley Democratic Women's annual fundraiser on April 26.]
It seems the press can hardly write an article about our campaign without using words like “underdog” and “uphill” and “solidly Republican.” The conventional wisdom is that a Democrat can’t win here in Virginia’s 6th District.
This conventional wisdom might be valid if the political drama in America today were about politics as usual. But it’s not.
The battle in American politics right now isn’t about liberal versus conservative. It’s about something much deeper. It’s about constructive versus destructive. About honest vs. dishonest. About a willingness to put the greater good ahead of “More for me!”
What we’re up against here is a sickness of the spirit that is erupting in through our politics.
Even though the inequalities of wealth in America have reached levels not seen in living memory, the force that’s taken over the Republican Party –with its Ryan Budget, supported by Bob Goodlatte– is working to widen the gap still further.
Even though money was already corrupting our democracy, this force that’s arisen on the right has now –with its atrocious Citizens United decision from the Supreme Court—opened the floodgates still wider to sell off our government to the highest bidder.
It’s clear that for the spirit that animates this force, there’s no such thing as “Enough.” No decent Americans–liberal or conservative—want to have our nation’s destiny ruled by insatiable greed and lust for power.
It’s a spirit that also makes a fight over everything.
Today’s Republicans have fought against even their own ideas, when President Obama has put them forward in an effort to bring cooperation back to our politics. And who knew, a couple of years, ago, that with tens of millions of Americans suffering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, what our country needed was a fight about contraception, and about medically unnecessary and abusive invasions of women’s bodies?
This is a force that does not recognize that it is the peacemakers who are blessed. It is animated by a sick and broken spirit; a spirit that continually works to divide groups of Americans against one another, never bringing us together on the basis of the values we share; a spirit that consistently appeals to the worst in people, feeding their hatreds and fears. A spirit that is unfailingly dishonest, because it needs to deceive people in order to get their support.
That pervasive dishonesty is its Achilles heel, the point of vulnerability that makes it possible for a Republican rubber-stamp like Bob Goodlatte to be defeated by a truth-telling Democrat like me.
My strategy for victory is to reach out to the good, decent conservatives of this area and talk to them not about liberal-vs.-conservative issues, but about the deeper lie the Republicans have been selling about the nature of the spirit they’re serving.
- We can see that today’s Republican Party is the opposite of conservative from the way it consistently tramples on our political traditions and norms, as no real conservative ever would
- Opposite of patriotic, for all its wrapping itself in the flag, as shown by its willingness to hurt the country, in a time of crisis, to gain power back for itself
- Animated by the opposite of the Christian spirit, as shown by its greed, its rampant hypocrisy, its lack of compassion, and its continual sowing of discord.
The more I can show the people of this district these deep Republican lies, the more people will pull the lever for President Obama and Governor Kaine in November.
But also, this message about the dishonest and destructive force that has taken over the Republican Party has the potential to bring us a victory in the 6th District that would be a political earthquake, with reverberations that can help turn our present dangerous political dynamic around.
But only with the help of like-minded people like you—help in all the usual ways but fueled with more than the usual amount of that fire of the spirit that can make people-powered movements mighty.
The stakes in today’s political battle could not be higher.