Some of the first bits of dust have settled, and the two primary ballots are set for April 28th. The incumbent Brad Roae is the only Republican; I’m the only Democrat. Effectively, that means the general election starts now. Brad v. Matt. Incumbent v. challenger. Entrenched austerity v. a desire for positive change. And I do mean desire, as many people have been straight-up stoked about this race already. They’re excited. They’re ready. But, to be honest, also at times slightly down. Because as often as I’ve heard lines like, thank goodness someone’s running against that [complete this sentence yourself], I’ve also heard things like, Nice to meet another Democrat. Thought I was alone around here.
Oof. Yet keep in mind, this expression of alone-ness has happened over and over again, which is a way of saying, there are lot more Democrats around here than you might think, even while many of them worry they’re part of a tiny, endangered, powerless group. I’m here to say, nope. We’re not. We are mighty, and we are many, and we also share District 6 wth a ton of dissatisfied Independents and smart, disaffected Republicans who are tired of the nothing they’ve been getting in Harrisburg.
Here’s the thing, though. We live the stories we tell, and we live the stories told about us. Over and over, people tell us that a Democrat can’t win here. And people tell us that the right-wingers dominate the voting scene. And people (not from here) tell us we’re not worth the fight, that our beautiful countryside is awash with nothing but partisan red. And the trolls on the internet harp about socialists and communists and all sorts of empty vitriol intended to encourage us all to stay home, shut up, and accept the worst.
Another story: decent, polite people don’t talk politics. Couple that with the story that Democrats or otherwise progressive people are few and far between, well then we get a political chatterbox full of ugly, right-wing shouting, and a sense that a Democrat doesn’t have a chance, that none us have a chance. We’re getting trolled constantly, on-line and off, by big voice bullies who just want to shout about how much they want to go back to some false yesterday. Little wonder we don’t talk much, partly because we’re afraid we have no one to talk to. Who wants to walk into a political buzz saw?
Well, it’s time for us to talk. To each other. To our neighbors. To our friends and coworkers and children and even the dude who we think might just not agree with us. Because — I’ll say it again — there are more of us out there than it seems. We’ve been isolated. That’s the trick of it. We’ve been living the story that we don’t even exist. And the kind of politics we get is a direct result of that story. Another truth is this: the trolls don’t want us talking, because they want us to be afraid, because they want us to think we’re alone.
Well, we have between now and November 3rd to get the word out. We have until the fall election to rally together and demand something better for us all. We have until then to gather together and tell a new story, about a Northwestern PA that can take care of us all, that can care about us all, that refuses to accept the ugly empty we always get.
I’m in. How about you?
And, okay, I have to keep asking, because we’re gonna need to publicize to get this conversation out…can you spare a couple of bucks? Please donate to the campaign here.