( – promoted by lowkell)
In a previous entry here, I argued that my campaign to unseat Bob Goodlatte, the 20-year incumbent in Virginia’s 6th District, could accomplish something important.
We can show the Democratic Party that the way to defeat the Republicans is to stand and fight them on behalf of the American people using, as the weapon of choice, the truth about what today’s Republican Party has become.
We can show how People Power can defeat the Money Power.
Now, I am calling upon you to be part of that People Power by helping me execute a strategy for engaging with people on the rightward side of our political divide. We need to find ways of constructively engaging with our conservative fellow citizens for two important reasons.
First, the healing of America’s current political sickness requires that it become possible again to communicate productively despite our differences. Our present polarization has been cultivated by the destructive force that has arisen on the political right as part of a divide and conquer strategy to disable the American people from achieving their common purposes. That has left the path open for that force to achieve its own purposes at the expense of the great majority of Americans.
Second, defeating Bob Goodlatte and the Republican wrecking crew in the reddest district in Virginia will require persuading a goodly number of people who have been voting for Goodlatte to vote for me instead.
My access to the District’s conservative majority through the usual political means is, at present, limited. I’m unlikely to have the big bucks required to inundate them with the kind of 30-second paid TV ads that are the staple of today’s political propaganda.
But I have a strategy for accomplishing our goals, and it depends upon you.
Starting now, and in the weeks and months ahead, I will be addressing a series of messages to our conservative neighbors. I am requesting your help in forwarding these messages to those of your acquaintance who are good, decent conservatives (or moderates) who might conceivably be open to constructive engagement.
With your help, and the free services of the Internet, we can engage those conservatives in a meaningful way.
The first of these messages is now posted on my campaign Facebook page under the title “Starting With What We Have in Common.” More will be coming, at regular intervals, and I will announce them here.
I hope you will make a point of disseminating these postings by “sharing.” But the heart of my request is that you send them off in a more targeted way. Specifically, what I am requesting is that, with a quick cut and paste onto an email – complete text plus illustration – you send these to those conservatives and moderates you know with whom you can imagine constructive engagement might be possible.
(Obviously, the most important such recipients will be in Virginia’s 6th District. But if you’re outside the 6th District, and/or the conservatives you know are elsewhere, it can still contribute to the larger healing we need for you to send these messages to people on the other side of the divide wherever they live.)
I can understand how some may feel hesitant to forward an email – from a Democratic candidate -to friends or family or acquaintances on “the other side.” Over the years, many have found such communications fraught with difficulty. But I assure you, this series of messages will be composed with the need for sensitivity and respect uppermost in my mind.
My messages will proceed gently. I will only gradually move toward the very sensitive places touched upon by my core understanding of today’s crisis. That is why I suggest sending the messages with a cut-and-paste, so that recipients get only the targeted message and are not brought to the whole Facebook page, and why I further suggest that the links to the whole Facebook page and to the campaign website be omitted from the email.
I’d like to move step-by-step, to establish a connection at the human level and a foundation at the level of ideas, before they encounter ideas more challenging than they are yet ready to tolerate. Among the points that I hope to establish as part of that foundation are these:
• That we should not focus only on what divides us, but also attend to our common humanity and to the values we share as Americans
• That liberalism is a part of the heart of America, that it has contributed to America’s greatness, and that, while disagreement with the liberal approach is legitimate, it is un-American to treat it with contempt
• That in many ways I’m the genuine conservative in this race, as I’m trying to uphold the traditional ideals of our American democracy
I ask you, then, to keep alert for these messages, and to conduct your own diplomacy with them to see what we can accomplish together in the effort to help heal our politics and restore some of the foundations of our democracy.
This is a way People Power can work. Will you help me build this necessary bridge across that divide?
If you’re willing, you can begin now with “Starting with What We Have in Common.”
Andy Schmookler is running for Congress in the 6th Congressional District of Virginia, challenging the incumbent Congressman, Bob Goodlatte. An award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, Andy moved with his family to Shenandoah County in 1992. He is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.