Today is my 47th birthday. Nowadays for me, birthdays are less a time for celebration, but more of a time for reflection. This one seems to be especially so.
I’ve often heard the axiom that once you are called to serve, you cannot do anything but serve. I know this to be as true as anything I have ever learned. There have been many times during my decades of service, both in and out of uniform, where I became disheartened, disoriented, and disenchanted. Nevertheless, I knew I had to shake it off and get back to business.
In the past month, some of these same emotions have surfaced. I attended a healthcare town hall where the most vocal and obnoxious opponents of a strong public option were the very same people who may very well benefit the most from that same strong public option. I also spoke in length with a truck driver who railed against unions as he made $10 per hour, whereas Teamster drivers are able to live a middle-class life. Lastly, I am watching our nation’s majority party seemingly willing to capitulate to a minority party whose Congressional approval ratings are in the single digits.
Am I frustrated? Sometimes. Am I willing to bend, bow, or concede? Never!
Any political scientist worth his or her salt will tell you that a midterm election for an incumbent President will result in the loss of seats in the House and Senate. There are historical exceptions, but that’s why they are called exceptions.
One of the areas where there is not as conclusive during midterm elections regards open seats. The U.S. House seat in Florida’s 12th Congressional District in 2010 will be an open seat. The voters here will decide whether to embrace the progressive vision for which they voted in 2008, or reject that vision for the failed conservative policies of the past 30 years.
Unfortunately, the Democratic voters of Florida’s 12th Congressional District will have that opportunity only once. That opportunity is during the August 2010 Democratic Primary between me and Lori Edwards. If Mrs. Edwards prevails in August, the only choices in November will be conservative or conservative.
I am asking you today – my birthday – to help me define the struggle we have within our party.
I am a pragmatic progressive. I have conservative credentials and a progressive heart. Our 2008 campaign in FL-12 showed that a progressive Democrat, who didn’t try to be Republican-lite, could earn more votes and a higher voter percentage than any other Democrat who has ever ran in this district. With an open seat and a seriously flawed presumptive Republican nominee, we Progressives can win this seat. We can strengthen the Democratic majority with a real Democrat, who will actually cast votes that advance our progressive ideals. We can put a working man in the House to represent working families.
One of the reasons I fight the hard fight is because I know it has to be fought. As I told you earlier, once you are called to serve, your only option is to keep serving. When I retired from the U.S. Navy in February 2008, I left one of the most secure jobs in America during one of the most serious economic crises in 60 years. I did so because the House’s third-ranking Republican, Adam Putnam, needed to be challenged. His horrible non-representation of our district had to be exposed and none of the so-called credible Democrats were willing to fight the fight.
I ran in 2008 as a candidate of conviction. I do so in 2010. My Democratic opponent now runs for an open seat as a candidate of convenience. She also did so for the open FL-12 2000 seat, before she quit the race.
You can help us defeat the politics of status quo by contributing now. I certainly thank you for your birthday present to our progressive grassroots campaign.
Your Brother, Doug