[Background info: Gwen Graham is the Democratic candidate in Florida’s second congressional district race. She is running against incumbent U.S. Congressman Steve Southerland, a Republican. They had their first debate on September 23rd, which can be seen here.]
Dear Ms. Graham,
I don’t like Steve Southerland. I dislike his brand of individualist, anti–government, “free” market capitalism; the same brand sweeping Republican politics across the nation. If only the Democrats had such a radical swing to the left to match, then we would be in for some serious debate on the issues of our day.
I’m highly skeptical of politicians, I think it’s extremely important that I (and everyone) evaluate what they say, what they’ve done and what they promise. Mr. Southerland has not passed my examinations.
Neither have you.
You see, an alternative to a radical leftward swing within the Democratic Party would be the Republicans returning to more centrist positions. I suppose you’ve seen clearly that there is no real hope for that to happen and you’ve decided to run as a Democrat, carrying center–right values.
But I am not a centrist—I am far left of center.
I recognize that many people make many claims against your campaign each day, why should this one be any different than the typical hate–filled slander that comes your way? I do this not to discredit or dissuade you from your path, but because I believe I deserve representation in our government as well. There was a time when those left–wing voices, such as mine, could turn to members of the Democratic party to amplify their voices. It seems, now, that Democrats are chasing the Republicans right, more interested in keeping the gap between them the same than in providing a true alternative. Is this the case, or has our population just become that much more conservative?
I want to highlight some of the points in which your centrist Republican sentiments stand abundantly clear to me.
- What is not Republican about telling small businesses that you will lower their taxes to better compete with large corporations?
- I see lots and lots of rhetoric surrounding the middle class, this comes from all sides, but who is representing the poor? The lowest classes? Who is arguing on behalf of the families struggling just to provide for themselves? This cannot be done by offering some platitude of “expanding the middle class.”
- Referring to outsourcing as another nation “stealing” jobs which belong to Americans. This is both harmful and inaccurate. These jobs were given to them—quite eagerly, I should add—by corporate policies which sought to maximize production and minimize cost. The notion that these countries, and the people of these countries, are willfully stealing employment from American citizens helps to promote feelings of xenophobia and distrust.
- In your September 23rd debate, you told a group of small business owners you would repeal the employer mandate within the Affordable Care Act. This is possibly your mostly clearly Republican stance. If anything, the employer mandate needs to be ubiquitous: all positions, all businesses. To tweak it, to modify it somewhat and make the language easier for businesses to follow, that’s one thing. To remove it is to step backwards on what the Affordable Care Act sought to achieve.
- In your debate, you didn’t have a chance to rebut Mr. Southerland’s point about military action in Syria and Iraq. You have completely ignored this issue on your website and I am presuming you march lockstep with the vast majority of national politicians in the sentiment that we must engage in military combat against amorphous terrorist networks in order to keep ourselves safe. Is anyone anti–war anymore?
- Anti–amnesty for immigrants? Even children who were either sent, or brought here by their parents?
In an effort to show goodwill and to give appreciation where it is rightly deserved, I will finish this letter by highlighting the points where I wholeheartedly agree with you, and wish to see successes.
- You advocate raising the minimum wage, which is a great first step.
- The Paycheck Fairness Act is a hugely important action which can be taken in policy to help foster a more equitable society for all.
- You say you would ensure families receive paid sick leave and other benefits, does this mean you would support a mandatory paid sick leave effort? And, if so, how would you balance that with removing the employer mandate from the ACA?
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you will take the time to think on some of my points and address them in further debates or speeches.