I put this stuff here because I want you to think about this message. Not the Weisser for Congress part. Though that’s cool, Weisser for Congress, I love the idea. But I want you to think about this part: The “Tell the Right They’re Wrong” part. Think about it, then we’ll get back to it later.
Howdy ladies and gentleman, thanks for coming out to Payson. My name is Mikel Weisser and I want to be Payson’s democratically elected Democrat in the US House of Representatives for Arizona’s brand new Congressional District Four. You guys know CD-4 right? I call it the Left Coast of Arizona, though admittedly that’s a bit harder to explain when you’re right next to the Mogollon Rim, but basically it runs Yuma to Utah, Parker to Payson. Seven Counties, 7 or 8 LDs, Mohave-La Paz-Yuma-Yavapai-almost all the parts of Maricopa where they don’t have people and then throw in major portions of Gila and Pinal County just for the sport of it. It’s about the size of Illinois. I have traveled 45,000 miles since announcing my campaign at the end of January and I see something new each trip. CD 4 is as beautiful as it is immense and it is just about as red a district as you could find.
Before we even had candidates announced the handicappers had the Rs with 65% and the Ds with 35%. Generic candidates, it didn’t matter who. John Wayne Gacy versus Santa Claus. If Santa had the D on his chest, Christmas might have trouble. In fact, the word was there wasn’t a Democrat in Western Arizona with the balls enough to even take on the big red machine out our way. And as soon as I heard that, I thought, well, hmmmmmmmmm. I reached down and well look-ey here. And it’s been smooth sailing ever since.
I am a first time candidate, still learning when to say please and how to say thank you. Any other first time candidates in the room? I want you all stand up and give all your first time Democratic Party candidates a big hand because they are your Democracy in action. They are why we’re here. I tell you this is absolutely, bar none, the most thrilling experience of my life. I am so much better a person for taking this challenge. I wish each of you could experience this for yourselves. In fact, I hope you try it and get to enjoy even a fraction of the rewards and blessings this path has brought to me.
For example, I’ve only been here in Payson three times and already I’m their favorite son. Last night when we came in, this little old lady came up to me with her even littler older lady mother and said, I wanted my mom to meet you. A couple of months ago I found a piece of your campaign literature stuck on my windshield and I love what you’re doing, so I wanted my mom to meet you. I tell you it doesn’t get better than that. There’s a bunch of us first-timers this year and they are putting their lives on the line for Democracy and for the Democratic Party and have put their lives in your hands in many more ways than you realize, just saying. But they’re doing what they can. They are proof the system can make a difference. Reginald Bolling is proof teachers can change the world both inside and out of their classrooms. Doug Ballard is proof progressive activists aren’t just all talk and no action and my personal hero, Dr. Janie Hydrick, is proof that our nation of immigrants has always been enriched when we welcome newcomers with open arms and open minds.
I’ve been a life-long Democrat. I am so Democrat, I was a Democrat in utero. I remember when I was 9 years old I was watching when my hero Bobby Kennedy won that California primary. And then walked into that kitchen … and I was watching later that same year when the election came around and even as a little kid, I could tell Nixon was a crook. I mean Richard Nixon? The guy was a dick right? I was so certain of it, the night before the election I got a piece of chalk from the school, went out in the middle of the street in front of my home in Raymondville. TX and scrawled, “Humphrey/Muskie is our man, Nixon in the Garbage Can!” I was sure it was going to make a difference, but did America listen to me? No! And look where we are today. Look at what they’ve done to us. Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, look what they’ve done.
Notice the sign.
Yeah, they’ve done quite a bit of damage. But I think it is not too late for us to turn that tide and bring America into the 21st Century. America is a still great place for now. That a guy like me can find myself in front of a crowd like this. I know there is a lot of love these days in the AZ Democratic Party for homeless folks, what with the amazing life stories of Dr. Richard Carmona and Kyrsten Sinema. I too was homeless, first as a teen runaway, later a homeless vet. And now? Beautiful wife, lovely life, college degrees, house and chickens and cats and dogs.
You know how I got those things? Yeah, because I’ve got some skills and a huge mountain of good luck. Sure. But I have the American Dream, because the America I grew up in wanted to make sure I had a chance to reach for its dreams. They wanted to create a great society. They wanted all people to be judged by the content of their character and not the color of our skin. They wanted the old and sick to be cared for, they wanted the poor to be comforted. They wanted all us children to be educated to be the best and the brightest. We were supposed to reach for the stars!
Some folks say those days are gone forever. Now I know my country has never been perfect, but the America our kids are going up in, the country we are going to grow old in, is not the America I once knew. I know I am preaching to the choir here, but I want you all, to seriously think about this message. This is what I have learned as a first time candidate and life-long Democrat. The Right are Wrong. This isn’t a simple choice between pick red or blue. The people who tell you they can’t see a difference between the two parties are at least half blind. Their so-called “conservative values” agenda that has been driving our nation has been driving it into the ground, 28 of the last 40 years we’ve been battling their poison to our nation. As a school teacher in a state where the GOP have cut 1.6 billion out of K-12 ed in just the past four years, I can assure you they want your children be ignorant. They want to public to stay sick and poor and fearful, because if you can keep a people ignorant and sick and poor and fearful then they are easier to control!
See? Wrong! They’ve been wrong on social issues. Move mountain and mole hill alike to save Terry Schiavo but vote 30 times to throw 30 million Americans under the bus, because they have to repeal Obamacare. Abstinence only sex-ed in the country that leads the world in unwed teen pregnancy. Make sure the LBGT community is forever made sure to always feel Queer. Cut arts funding, cut ed funding, cut veterans benefits, decimate the social service network in our country and brag about their morality? Throwing 800,000 Americans a year in jail for cannabis possession and then installing the world’s leading opium producers, the Karzai family, into office in Afghanistan. Newt Gingrich gonna lecture me on morality? Wrong. Serial executioner Rick Perry gonna teach me about the sanctity of life? And icky old Ricky Santorum gonna tell me how to love Jesus by listing all the people he wants me to hate. Come on folks, from the first time you saw him fail to properly rock a sweater vest, you knew the guy was stark raving wrong.
They’ve been consistently incredibly wrong on fiscal issues. Yeah, Romney? Gonna run our country the same way you ran Bain-Capitol. Who you gonna downsize this time? Wisconsin? Deregulation of Wall Street, deregulations of banking, Chicago School type shock doctrine, quote “Free Market Capitalism” cut your way to prosperity, while their corporate donors export all the good paying jobs then whine because of our sluggish consumer spending. Chuck Glass-Steagall and let banks gamble with grandma’s pensions? What could possibly be a problem with that, huh? AND, how is it that when they ran back in 2010 promising to save the economy, what they gave us instead was 900 statehouse bills to restrict women’s reproductive rights. Yeah that’s creating jobs, con jobs.
And when it comes to foreign relations, they have been dead wrong. Don’t forget that these same guys who want to sell you Ryan Budget, and the Norquist pledge once tried to sell you 900 lies about weapons of mass destruction. I could go on and on, but then Jackie Adams would throttle me, besides, I know, I’m preaching to the choir. What I don’t know, my fellow Democrats, is what you are going to do about it. I know there are lots of campaigns and they’re always asking for something, sometimes it seems all we want is your money (and don’t get me wrong: if you try to chase me down with a fistful of hundred dollar bills I will let you catch me). But that is not what I am asking for here. I am asking each of you to start your own campaign about whatever you can campaign about and get out there save America, while we still have a chance. I cannot guarantee you little old ladies will bring you their moms to gawk at you, but it could happen. I can guarantee you every time anyone of us try to save the world, it does get that iota better and each time we do nothing, the other side just makes it worse. Like my hero Howard Zinn said, the people have the power. This disaster is still ours to avert. Let’s make this difference. It may be our last chance. Please and thank you.