Guys, You Have To Say It.

At the debate in Ukiah two days ago, I looked at the leading contender in our race for our next Congressman and said, “It’s a swamp that you are going into – you have to name it.”We all know that Congress is a swamp. The latest polls say that 91% of Americans distrust Congress. And every candidate in this race knows it.
So, to my opponents I say:

“Sir or Madam, you have a choice. You can get real and we will trust you. Or you can continue to bullshit us and become one of those who is distrusted by 91% of Americans.

“And if you have your party’s backing, and the 1%’s cash, and are conscious, you already are tortured by this decision. You know that you are between a rock and a hard place. You can be an honorable man or woman who stands up for truth and justice and face the opprobrium and rage of both the 1% and the party leaders. Or you can ‘play along,’ get their backing, and be assured of many years of power, money, fame, and endless adventures.’[1] To get this, you will only have to sell your soul.”
We all see this. We all see the elephant in the middle of the room. We all get how money and power have corrupted the House and the Senate and have led to the crisis we now face. And it is a crisis. Degradation of our precious land, water, and air. Massive corruption in Washington. A war machine larger than that of all other countries combined. More people in prison than in either China or Russia. Education worse than in 28 other countries. A food policy that will cause one in three American children to develop diabetes and not live as long as their parents.

Our leaders in Washington are men and women, almost to a person, who have lost their souls to their egos’ quest for more.

Before Thursday’s debate, I briefly chatted with a teenage girl who was maybe14 years old. At the end of the debate, the girl and her mother came up to me; the mother motioned to her daughter to tell me something. This kid said, “Of all the folks up there, I’d vote for you.”

Other young people have said this too. And they say this because I am pointing out something that is really very simple, something a child easily understands.. Kids see bullshit quickly. That is why they have very little interest in politicians and politics.

There have been many debates up and down this District. Today we leave for Eureka, next Saturday is Mendocino. I have grown fond of this motley crew of office seekers. (When all of us are in a room together we often joke about being the “Dirty Dozen.”) Every candidate is passionate about something. Every candidate has committed a lot of time and money to make a difference.

So to Huffman, or to whomever gets elected: You have an amazing opportunity here. You can be this district’s hero, become a national figure, and get reelected by a proud majority of district voters. Or you can sell your soul and get reelected by this nation’s corrupt system’s money.

So far, it looks like those with the backing of the 1% and the special interests have sold out. Not one of the leaders in this race has named the swamp, the rampant and ubiquitous sale of influence and access that defines our modern politics and is the cause of our nation’s inability to fix huge problems with common sense solutions. And, as I told you at the debate, if you can’t name the problem, I can’t trust you.

You must be terrified, deep down, at what you are facing. If you win, you will be expected to be your party’s bitch. You will be expected to spend 30 to 70% of your time in a dingy building across from the Capitol dialing for dollars. You will be expected to give this money to your party. If you are good at raising money, you will be given a little recognition and put on a committee. If you continue to “bend over” for the party you will, over time, get more power. But you must, for the most part, go along with the establishment and be part of this soulless, unethical, and corrupt swamp.

We need to be afraid. If things are not bad enough, imagine the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street Movements on steroids. These movements are the canary in the coalmine. They are very real outbreaks of outraged citizens protesting the insanity in Washington. Imagine hundreds of thousands of angry, gun wielding, Tea Partiers confronting hundreds of thousands of window breaking Occupy folks.

Could this be coming to a city near you?

Both of these movements, both the left and the right, are ringing the alarm bells.

We must have leaders who have the moral courage to name the insanity and corruption in Washington. To the leaders in this congressional race: -You must stand up for us. You must stand up to your party and to the 1%. Otherwise, your words and your life are part of the emerging crisis.

This is what the 14-year-old was telling me. You must stop talking about rearranging the furniture on the Titanic. You must step away from what is expected of you by your party and the 1% and do the right thing. It will outrage your party leaders but you will, on your deathbed, know you did the right thing. You will become one of America’s heroes as we move into a new and dangerous time for this country. Or you will sell out.

If you sell out, you will have to deal with the rising chorus of Americans who are pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes on.

Please name this swamp. Please say that members of your party are engaged in a corrupt system. Otherwise, a 14-year-old girl and nearly all of America will not trust you.

[1] Only one sitting congressperson has been defeated in the last 20 years in California.