Viewpoint: Dignity and justice for all, not the few

Published in the South Bend Tribune: February 11, 2018 Author: Pat Hackett

See original article here.

I’m running for the U.S. Congress because this nation is under siege. Together, we must take action, vote and defend our constitutional democracy, which President Donald Trump and his enablers in Congress, including Jackie Walorski, have been attacking since Trump took office.

I want to represent the people of Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District because I know from conversations I’ve had throughout our community that many of you share my profound concern over the deliberate disunity and dysfunction being caused by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Walorski, and the Republican-controlled Congress.

Many of us in this district, regardless of how we voted in 2016, now see the true ambition of Trump and his enablers: to increase their coercive political and economic power at the expense of the vulnerable and the poor, justifying these actions with a gospel of prosperity and extreme fundamentalism that has nothing to do with true Christianity.

The conscience of our nation is in shock, but we must move out of our numbed state of paralysis. Donald Trump is perniciously deceptive. From the bully pulpit of his office, he has brought our world the closest we have been to nuclear catastrophe since the early Cold War with his dangerous rhetoric aimed at North Korea.

Trump repeatedly attacks our free press, science, reason and evidence, which are the bedrock essentials to the rule of law in our democracy. He has targeted our right to vote, challenged our right to assemble, unleashed and emboldened racist violence against people of color. He boasts of sexually violating women, and condones discrimination against Muslims. Trump mocks the disabled. He and Pence actively discriminate against LGBTQ citizens and their families fueled by a religious licentiousness unlike any we have seen in recent memory. He denies global warming, and is actively working to defund public schools. On the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, Trump hosted the head of the NRA.

The futures of our children and grandchildren are being destroyed. We need to vote Trump’s enablers out of Congress and move this nation forward.

Walorski — with her complicit votes, her silence in the face of Trump’s dishonesty and her failure to meet in public with her constituents and hold herself accountable — stands with Trump. She does not stand with the people of Indiana’s 2nd District. I will stand with you. I will show up, hold town halls and foster public debate as I have been doing already in my campaign.

My Mom and Dad, both Catholics who met in law school after my Dad returned from the Navy in World War II, instilled in all seven of their daughters an understanding that each of us is here for a purpose — and I’ve found mine. When I came to South Bend 40 years ago to study government and theology at Notre Dame, I didn’t know how much I would come to love this community. When I earned a master’s degree in theology, a law degree, and then practiced law for 26 years, including representing clients in the courtroom as a trial attorney, I didn’t realize that I was preparing myself to be your advocate in Congress, but I was.

I’m a 21st-century Democrat who admires Eleanor Roosevelt and believes President Johnson’s War on Poverty is still worth fighting. I’m married to my spouse, Rita, with whom I experience the dignity of marriage and family as a result of the tenacity of civil rights heroes who have come before us. Like most of you who live in this district, I love my family and friends and work hard in the hope that life can be better for all of us. I want our nation to be a beacon of hope, not a petrified relic of the past.

It’s time for all of us to show our patriotism by paying attention, organizing and resisting. This midterm election matters as perhaps none before in our history, and that’s why I am asking for your vote.

Vote for me in the Democratic primary on May 8, and then again in November, and you’ll send a representative to Congress who promises to fight for dignity and justice for all.

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