COL Democracy starts at home
By Leigh Pomeroy
My name is Leigh Pomeroy. I am the sacrificial lamb. I am fodder for wolves. I am David facing Goliath, St. George facing the dragon, Bilbo venturing against the eye of Sauron, Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Or so many have said.
In truth I am the DFL candidate for the 1st Congressional District in Minnesota. I started this race at a great disadvantage. A late-entry going up against a five-term incumbent. A penniless political neophyte facing a well-funded established name. A regular guy against a well-honed politician.
No contest, they said.
Indeed, few congressional races are true contests anymore. This year, the political parties concede that only 30 or so of the 435 U.S. House seats are up for grabs. Even the Politburo in Russia is more competitive.
Why isn't somebody asking, "What's wrong with this picture?"
How can the U.S. possibly be promoting democracy around the world when it barely has a democracy here at home?
This is not the system our founding fathers conceived of. And this is why in early July, less than four months ago, I decided that I would do everything I could to prove that democracy need not be a throwaway commodity in southern Minnesota. I would run as if my life depended on it even though I was given next to no chance of winning.
This election should not be about who has the advantage of the incumbency or the most money. It should be about ideas. It should be about who can best represent all the citizens of southern Minnesota.
Voters must take into account a whole range of issues. Are they, their families, their communities, their state and their nation better off today than four years ago? Do they have the work they want? Have their wages kept up with household expenses? Is their health insurance affordable?
Are their schools educating their children? Are their roads kept up? Do they feel safer? Can they trust their government?
If they're seniors, are Medicare and Social Security paying the bills? Can they afford their medications or the nursing home?
If they're business owners, are they making a profit? Can they afford to give their workers the wages and benefits they deserve? Are they able to retain good employees and attract new ones?
If they're college students, are their tuition, fees and books still reasonable?
Nowhere in the Constitution have I read that elections should go to the candidate with the most money. Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I still believe that our constitutional system should be based on one man (or one woman), one vote.
This is why I'm running. I'd rather be a lamb chop on a wolf's plate than lose our American democracy. And who knows? Perhaps the lamb will best the wolf after all, provided we all go out and vote.
Leigh Pomeroy of Mankato is the DFL candidate for the U.S. House in the 1st Congressional District.