Running for Office

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I want to run for office.  When I first toyed with this idea, I don’t think I was being greatly serious.  I had just become so very weary of the vitriolic condemnations by every politician I heard in the news or on social media or read in the papers.  When did we become a nation that only puts people down and uses name calling like a four year old?  The corruption of lining one’s pockets was another issue that caused me great distress. You cannot be “for the people” and for your pocketbook at the same time.

I don’t come from a wealthy family.  Far from it.  I grew up poor on a farm in North Carolina, but we had no idea we were poor.  Everyone else was in the same boat.  We, in fact, may have been seen as being richer than others because we owned land and a farm, and had a country store.  My great aunt made our pajamas out of flour bags and I distinctly recall going to Falston, NC, a one-stoplight-town, to buy my “13 year old” birthday outfit, one that still excites me to this day.  Many of you who I grew up with can tell similar stories.  I worked in my grandfather’s country store, checking out customers and stocking shelves.

Never would I have imagined that I would run for office.  What is it that I want to accomplish?  I want to see for myself the corruption.  I want to get to know those who are there to truly make a difference.  Once again, I’m disgusted by those who go on tv and laud themselves above others.  But I do want to make a difference. I want to see that teachers become the valued people that they are.  I want our students safe without having to jump through hoops to prove that they are far more important than gun owners.  I want someone to explain to me (a gun owner) why their guns are more important than our children.  I want those who have become so bizarre in their thinking that they believe that the rights to own guns trump the lives of our students. I’m deeply saddened by the student in Santa Fe who expressed that she wasn’t at all surprised that the shooter had come to her school.  It’s become such a standard way of life, many now expect it.  I’m appalled that our legislators continue to do nothing about saving the lives of our children and they continue to take money from the NRA.  When did a lobbying organization take over our government? If it’s true of the NRA, you can bet it’s true of other lobbying groups.

What is it I think I can do at the level of a State Representative?  I can vote.  And I can vote against the things that line the pockets of the corrupt legislators.  In SC, we have two giant holes where there were supposed to be nuclear reactors.  These reactors, owned by SCE&G, were predicted to cost $9 Billion dollars. Once it reached $13 Billion dollars OVER the predicted cost of $9 Billion, the project stopped.  Now, the customers of the SCE&G utility are paying the debt incurred when they are getting no additional power.  This is mind boggling to me.  Any business who went over budget by this much would be quickly out of business.  I’ve no idea where it would leave those power customers, but that’s how it would work.  Unless the government bailed out the company (remember Chrysler and the Obama bail out?), and they then were forced to pay the government back, I’m not sure how this would work.

So why do I want to run?  I’m not for sale.  Truly, I’d like for someone to approach me so that I could give them a piece of mind.  This likely sounds naïve, but I’m simply too far along in my life and too sickened by those who are ruining our country to take a bribe.  I have great issues with lobbyists.  I’m sure there are some good reasons for lobbyists (for those like teachers and hourly workers who need someone to fight for them) that make lobbying a good thing.  But it does appear to me that much of what I hear is that they often fight for the wrong reasons (big Pharma, Cigarettes, Alcohol, etc.).  If you have an interest in knowing about which groups provide the most sway, you can go to this website for reputable information – https://www.opensecrets.org/.  If you take a moment to delve into this one – https://www.opensecrets.org/dark-money/basics – I hope it baffles you as much as it does me.  As a candidate, I have to file ethics reports that details every penny spent or received in a period of time. How can dark money operate on the higher levels when it can’t operate on my level?  I highly suggest you peruse “Open Secrets” on a regular basis so as to acquaint yourself with how our country now operates.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss, but ignorance is definitely not what will save the US.  As a history professor, I told my students that all great empires have fallen, historically speaking.  All the Chinese dynasties eventually fell, Greece and Rome fell, the Austrian Empire is long gone as well as the Ottoman Empire.  The English Empire, although they still command large viewings of weddings, is history even if England remains.  We’re headed in that direction.  Once money becomes the end all and be all of an empire, that empire is on it’s way down.

Democracy, for all it’s difficulties is still the best form of government.  “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” (from a House of Commons speech by Churchill on Nov. 11, 1947).  In the following article, http://listverse.com/2013/06/16/10-reasons-why-democracy-doesnt-work/, the part that bothers me the most is that running for office often devolves into a popularity contest.  This in no way decides who is the best person for the office, but likely who says what people want to hear, which then devolves into populism.

We currently have the longest running democracy in the history of the world.  What’s happening with the hate-mongering, name-calling, and dark money is not going to help us last.  We must be better than this. I believe, ultimately, that is why I wanted to run. I think that is true of many of my fellow candidates. What we need in place are laws or term limits to keep us from becoming those I denigrate in this article.

We desperately need campaign reform.  The cost to run for office is strictly prohibitive for most offices.  For mine, I was told $50K.  I read an article about a Congresswoman in District 3 (federal House of Representatives) and she was told $2 – $3 million.  Where else can you get that money except from lobbyists, PACs, or your party?  There are many good articles on the pros and cons of campaign finance reform (https://occupytheory.org/list-of-pros-and-cons-of-campaign-finance-reform/), but the major argument against is that, without reform, only those who can afford it can run for office.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that is the best person for office.

I wrote this article to clear my head about why I want to run.  I still do.  I believe that I can make a difference.  I believe I’ve come to the age that I’m not enticed to extra dollars for my vote.  I believe I have strong convictions about my platform (and I’ve added environmentalism to the platform).  I believe I’m old enough and wiley enough to recognize BS when it’s given to me.  I’m not part of the good ole boy system and I have high expectations for those with whom I work (I did the same for my children and my students).

Take a look at my website – http://www.Lucyforschouse.com.  Offer ideas.  I’m here to fight for our students, our infrastructure, small businesses, and environmentalism.

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