Why I Like What I Do OR Some Good Folks in Pennsylvania….

Once again, I find myself on the road on behalf of Progressive Majority, this time on the road in Southeast Pennsylvania, one of those “swing states” you hear so much about. I’ve been so busy with my training sessions here I haven’t had a chance to update here as much as I’d like. However, I’m enjoying an evening at the West Chester Holiday Inn which features free high-speed internet access, so I can post updates once again.
I’ve been on the road seeing two targeted candidates a day, and it’s been a great (if busy) time out here. I’ve learned a lot about how things are really going down on the grass-roots level out here, and it’s been an interesting experience to say the least. As with my trip in Seattle, the best part (aside from sampling Yuengling Beer which I can’t get back home in L.A.) has been working with some really energetic and honest people who remind me why it is I like working in politics (as opposed to the four-day infomercials both parties have propped up like a dead guy on stilts under the guise of “party conventions”).
Rebecca Wall is running for Pennsylvania State Representative in the 150th Legislative District (yes you read that right, the 150th District!) Too often when you find a young person running for office, you find a wannabe politico more well-versed in shenanigans and smarminess instead of issues and substance.
Thankfully, Rebecca does not fit this sad cultural stereotype. Instead, I met with an enthusiastic and intelligent person who is interested in public service and helping her community – yes you heard that right. In an era when we immediately dismiss anyone involved in politics as a self-serving apparatchnik, it’s time to realize that some people put themselves in the arena because they want to stand up for something, not just against something.
More importantly, it was clear after my meeting with Rebecca that I was not dealing with someone who would tell me what I wanted to hear to earn my support – she was someone willing to tell the truth, regardless of the consequences, because she  has this idea that politicians should be honest.
In an era when too often we equate “honesty” with “being offensive”, Rebecca reminded me that there are people who can speak truth to our political system, and provide a voice of reason and compassion that can include respect and a sense of decorum we don’t usually get in politicos these days, and quite frankly, it was a nice change from politics as usual.
Many political pundits in Pennsylvania may accidentally overlook Rebecca’s candidacy, and it’s to their discredit that they do. Polling and the grassroots sense I get from talking to actual citizens indicate this is a race where a young, intelligent, and engaging person may just snatch a seat in the state House from an incumbent who barely won her seat in 2002 (by only 63 votes!) Pundits would be wise to keep an eye on this race, and people who profess to care about Democratic politics and progressive values would be wise to get involved. Now.
I also had the chance to meet with another great candidate, who is standing up for progressive values in a decidedly non-Californian region of the country, Christian Muniz, a veteran and legislative aide in Cumberland County, PA.
Those not intimate with the politics of Pennsylvania may not know just how non-Democratic Christian’s part of the world is. When “President” Bush made a TV appearance at the GOP convention earlier this week, it was in Christian’s district. To be an honest Democrat in this area takes more than political courage – it takes the will to win along with the courage of the convictions a Navy veteran and legislative aide to put oneself forth as a candidate. More importantly, he is a genuinely likable person, a rare quality in political candidates these days.
But best of all, it was his enthusiasm, unconfined by any sense of political “correctness” that infects Corporate Democrats these days that made Christian one of my favorite people to work with in politics, and more importantly someone who can win.  He is someone who I would gladly encourage readers to support, along with Rebecca Wall and others I’ll be talking about later this year.
I’ll have more commentary on “swing state” Pennsylvania and the Kerry campaign once I return to Los Angeles (and on my way to San Francisco and Wisconsin). Until then, stay tuned, and enjoy the myriad of fiction that is the GOP Convention. Especially the parts when Governor Doofinator claims to be a principled individual who does not engage in coin-op government!
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

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