Thank you to all who supported me. It’s funny to be the guy who was a metalhead and skater who became an activist and an academic and now is a township supervisor, teacher, and still activist going to the Democratic National Convention to fight for a progressive wave in this country. I’ll do everything I can to push for the progressive agenda.
This includes a fight for equal rights for all of us. As someone who worked on the ground for a community and environmental bill of rights that said corporations aren’t people, I’ll carry that message up. I have always stood up for racial justice by sitting in and demanding Penn State do better through the Village occupation. I have stood for women’s rights when I worked for the Center for Women Students and walked on Take Back the Night, fought for a woman’s right to choose, and for equal pay for equal work. Today, I serve on the only woman-majority supervisory board in the Centre Region. I have stood for 25 years with my sister to fight for LGBTQ rights to marry and be recognized. As an atheist and now Unitarian Universalist, I have been the subject of ridicule because the simple fact of my atheism would make me immoral. But I embrace religious freedom. The religious freedom of the far right in this country is not religious freedom. It’s a straitjacket. Fundamentalists dogma has no place in a country founded on liberty.
I will fight for a fair and just economy that includes health care for everyone, support for services, and a true living wage. A few years ago I was a graduate student with a young family. My ex-wife and I received SNAP benefits, CHIP or other subsidized child and health care, and food stamps. I have only gratitude in thanking the taxpayers and my fellow employees who did that for me. It helped us through rough patches and kept us healthy. I now happily pay for them. As a supervisor in Ferguson Township, I’ve already shown that I support affordable housing legacy programs.
And we need to help students get out of debt. My students who pay my salary. People invested in learning. We need an economy for all of us.
On trade we should change trade deals that require or allow the building of foreign sacrifice zones. If all women and men are created equal then why allow trade deals that just funnel profits to the few? They are poisoning and exhausting men and women and children from the United States to the maquiledoras of Honduras and Guatemala, from Egypt and Jordan to Sri Lanka and Vietnam. We owe ourselves and the world much better. Do we have to buy our products built on slavery or something close to it? I think not.
On war, I have always taken a principled stand that says peace and kindness must come first and war is a last resort. Don’t get me wrong. ISIL and other extremists must be stopped. There’s no place for murderous regimes or cartels anywhere, people who will relentlessly attack the rights of all of us. When the Taliban slit women’s throats and shot them in the head in the Kabul stadium, I wanted vengeance. Sometimes force is the answer.
When the Quakers stood at the Allen Street gates, I stood with them during the Iraq invasion. That was a war of choice, not of necessity. I believe in strength through diplomacy. I have never served in the military and don’t pretend to know what it’s like to serve. See, unlike Donald Trump and some of his allies, I don’t play games at things I have zero experience in. But as the former teacher of a number of Naval and Coast Guard Academy cadets, the friend, family member, and former teacher of a number of veterans, and the friend of military enlisted men and officers, I want their lives to be treated with dignity so that all lives can be treated with dignity.
Finally, we need to protect our environment. To paraphrase the great conservationist Aldo Leopold, we are part of a great community of land. All of life is part of us and we are a brilliant and beautiful part of its workings. The current way says we are just cogs in a machine. How wrong headed.
I think we are like bees. We can pollinate the world. But we are woefully out of balance. We’ve changed our climate in dangerous ways. Today, the Department of Defense calls climate change a “threat multiplier.” But the Republicans want to stop us from tackling the threat. Fracking is carving our forests while discarding our people. But the Republicans, and sadly too many Democrats, pretend like that’s just sacrifice. Easy for the rich to say. Exxon and other fossil fuel companies have gotten better than a free ride: our state and federal governments have paid them to pollute our environment. Let’s investigate them. Because who suffers? The poor. Minorities. Single mothers. The least among us. From here to the island nations of the south Pacific we owe people a better life through renewable energy, community power, and land conservation. It taps into everything that’s best about us.
So let’s do this thing. I’ll fight tooth and nail at the Democratic National Convention knowing that you’ve supported me.
To today. To a future to believe in!