Money facilitates trade but at the same time corrupts politics. These simple facts are never more apparent than in the democratic party’s 2nd Congressional race between the incumbent Jim Matheson, who has served 10 years in the House of Representatives and the grass roots candidate, Utah educator Claudia Wright.
Jim has amassed a small war chest of donations from corporate special interests over the years and is seen by many to vote accordingly and not in the best interests of the citizens of Utah. Claudia supports public financing of campaigns and a constitutional amendment to strip corporations of their power to donate unlimited resources to the candidates of their choice.
Unlike college football where many programs including the University of Utah men’s football team enjoy parity with BCS schools, Claudia Wright is at a huge disadvantage given the disparity over what each has available to them for advertising, lodging, food and transportation, as they each make their respective ways through our gerrymandered, far flung district.
My support for Representative Matheson has withered over the years. I feel he has failed Utah on at least three fundamentally important issues: the Iraq War, Health Care and Global Warming.
Foremost, in his rush to war with Iraq I wondered if Representative Matheson was either naive, incompetent or afraid. My mind wanted to ruled out naive but I was stuck on incompetent and afraid but in many respects I found it to be a moot point. The Iraq war, as we now know, was sold to us with lies and misinformation and our representative, who was privy to a lot more information than I was at the time, voted for the war. If on the one hand he was naive I found his actions to be incompetent. If he was afraid of being seen to be on the losing side he was naive. I still have mixed emotions on these points.
Secondly he has failed us on health care reform. Our founding fathers used the concept of a social contract as a way of enforcing democracy in our Declaration of Independence. Broadly speaking this means that citizens voluntarily submit to authority in order to maintain social order by rule of law. In return people are expected to be good citizens in the sense that they positively contribute to the society in which they live.
By providing affordable health care to all citizens our government is satisfying their part of the contract. We are in turn obliged to pay for this fundamental right in the form of taxes on our labor and investments. Jim Matheson, who raises some good points with regards to the minutiae of the bill, failed to grasp the fundamentals of this legislation and voted no on Health Care Reform. I can not, nor will I, forgive him on this issue.
Perhaps the most serious challenge we face as Americans and as a species is Global Warming. In order to protect our health, national security and our local term economy we must all reduce our emissions of heat trapping gases including carbon dioxide. Although I personally believe a carbon tax is the way to go, I support the cap and trade legislation that is being debated today in our Congress. It is here too that Representative Matheson has voted no.
For these and other important reasons I can no longer vote for a man in good conscience that, although he has a D next to his name on the ballet, does not represent my values and vision nor the long range interests of the citizens of Utah and the United States.