By Wayne D. King, The View From Rattlesnake Ridge
Losing Texas Race Might Just Have Been the Best Outcome for America
Almost exactly ten years ago I sat down at my old Mac to write the very first op-ed piece in New Hampshire encouraging a young Barack Obama to run for President. At the time, I said that he was the first person who gave me the same sense of optimism and hope that Bobby Kennedy had given me.
I have not, since then, written such an editorial. Not that I didn’t like some of the Democrats who ran for office, even some of the Republicans, but Obama was different.
The Obama Presidency was not all we had hoped it would be, but I was always proud to call him our President. His presidency was the victim of a poisonous and pernicious partisanship that has developed since Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” abandoned the time-honored tradition that our adversaries are not our enemies, that they love their country every bit as much as we do.
This surge of partisanship and downright hatred has become a vicious cycle with both parties feeling that the other’s actions justify pushing the bounds of accepted norms.
I have watched with a growing dismay the trail of potential candidates traipse into New Hampshire to begin the process of making their case to the people, highly qualified people, including a few Republicans, but none of them have given me the sense that they can help bring the country back together again.
The times call for someone different than the usual suspects.
The times call for a fresh face, untainted by scandal, and unpolluted by the winds of arrogance and corrupting power that blow through the Capitol city. The times call for a leader who can call on all Americans to focus on what unites us, to take pride in ourselves and our country; and to play a role in restoring the moral leadership of this planet. That’s a very tall order. . . We’ve seen the rest – we need the best. And I believe that there is one uniquely qualified person to do that – Beto O’Rourke.
As I said, it’s a tall order, restoring a sense of common purpose. The good news is that this bilious atmosphere is almost exclusively driven from the federal level. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is fond of saying that “America looks a lot more united if you stand on your head.” By this he means that on the local level and on the state level Americans have not forgotten who they are, even if far too many politicians in Washington have. Day after day they set aside their differences to work together on overcoming shared challenges. They recognize that there is far more that unites us than that which divides us.
I’m not looking for everyone to join hands and sing Kum Bah Yah together. I’m looking for a leader who will stand for the things he or she believes but will respect those who disagree and seek ways to find common ground where possible or to build new ground where we might all stand together around shared American values. Beto O’Rourke has proven he can do that.
He ran one of the best races for the United States Senate that I have ever seen and came within a few points of beating a well-entrenched Senator in a state that both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump won by wide margins in their last elections. Beto was positive, optimistic, hopeful and he reached out to everyone. He ran a campaign that did not take one penny of special interest money and he stood up for what he believed: No trimming, no waffling, no prevaricating. Most of all, he was and is genuine, a characteristic that most Americans long for right now in their leaders.
Put Beto O’Rourke on the national stage and I believe he wins. Not just the popular vote but the electoral college. He’d be a President who would make us proud to be Americans again and restore American leadership in the world.
This guy is ready for prime time, and I’m ready to stand with him.
By the way Beto, Sally Yates would make a helluva VP . . . so would Jeanne Shaheen.
About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three term State Senator, 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor, former CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., and now launching a new Podcast – The Radical Centrist. His art is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published three books of his images and a novel “Sacred Trust” a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline all available on Amazon.com. He lives in Rumney at the base of Rattlesnake Ridge. His website is: http://bit.ly/WayneDKing . You can help spread the word by following and supporting him at www.Patreon.com/TheRadicalCentrist.
Views expressed in columns and opinion pieces are those of the author and do not reflect those of InDepthNH.org.