Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Last week was certainly a big week for the campaign. 

 Thursday’s televised debate with Congressman Phil Roe proved that East Tennessee voters have a real choice this year. Not a choice based on personal attacks, as is happening in some other campaigns, but a choice based on the record and the issues. I think our whole region can be proud that both candidates showed how, even in disagreement, people can be civil to each other as we chart the future of our country. 

 The debate can be seen online here. The first 29 minutes just show people getting ready, so you may want to skip ahead.  And thanks to all who worked so hard to make this event successful.

 So what else happened last week?

 People remain upset following the Washington DC circus associated with the Kavanaugh confirmation.

 There is a shocking likelihood that our Saudi allies were involved in the suspected murder of a Washington Post journalist.

 The Ford Motor Company announced massive job cuts due to losses associated with the Administration’s tariffs, while the stock prices of some local East Tennessee industries hurt by the tariffs also fell to new lows.

 Hurricane Michael devasted Florida and reminded us that climate change is not a hoax and requires serious international attention and cooperation.

We learned more about how our tax laws benefit the super-wealthy when it was revealed that multi-millionaire Jared Kushner, the President’s son in law, paid no income taxes for years.  

 And on and on and on …. All this swirling information about problems and wrong directions our nation is headed —  kind of makes a person numb, doesn’t it? 

 And yet, sadly, this was not an abnormal week. Most weeks over the last two years have given us a similar array of concerning information. Sometimes the overwhelming and disrupting flood of troubling news makes it seem like acceptance of the unacceptable could become the new normal. That must change. We must pay attention to the feelings that reflect our most important values.

 To end this week’s message, I’d like to paraphrase a portion of my closing remarks in the debate.

 If, looking backward, you are proud of the changes you have seen in our country in the last two years, if you point with pride toward the behavior of our national leaders as great examples for our children to follow, if you think the prosperity of our region is where it needs to be, if you think Congress has been doing a great job with tax reform, healthcare, international trade, and other important issues – then you should vote for more of the same.  You should vote for Congressman Roe to serve a sixth term in office.

 But, looking ahead, if you think we can do better, if you think we are missing opportunities to improve our region’s prosperity, if you believe love your neighbor as yourself is a call to real action and not just words, if you are sick and tired of the meanness and divisiveness we see daily in Washington, if you believe in term limits and keeping promises, then please give me your vote.

 Early voting starts tomorrow. We all need to vote. You too. And love your friends and neighbors by encouraging them to vote. Spread the word.