Over the past few months, I took a lot of time thinking about entering the ring again. Losing my first election last year was tough, so I took some time traveling through the 8th. It's because of the 8th, I decided to run for Congress and to run post-partisan.
See, in 2011, the 8th was one of the several congressional districts that were redistricted in Maryland. Some would call it gerrymandered. Whatever you call fusing a very populated staunchly Democratic region with a bit less populated, a lot more conservative Republican region to deliberately get rid of a congressperson that happened a few years back. I remember studying about this in Constitutional Law, but I never thought that our state would have done it.
As I traveled from Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Kensington, Wheaton, Takoma Park up through the City of Rockville and Damascus to Mt Airy, Westminster, Walkersville, Emmitsburg, and Thurmont, I wondered how all these places could be represented by the same congressperson. (Don't get me wrong, Chris Van Hollen has done a great job representing us, but he's now running for Senate, so we'll be choosing our next rep in November 2017.) When I speak to the average D8 resident, they are very surprised, shocked even about the breadth of the district. You know, I actually get warned about not going to certain areas because of the Klan. (Numerous times I've been told I should not even run for office in my region because I'm not white).
Despite all that, it was in Walkersville (Frederick County) when I had an epiphany. I met this very sweet family. Two couples, husband was the son of the older couple. The son and daughter-in-law were up from Silver Spring visiting the in-laws. We got to talking and from our conversation I realized that the voters, regardless of where they live in D8, they want the same thing - they want government to function again. They are sick of the bickering and negativity. They don't even vote anymore because they think it won't matter.
This is where we are in 2015. Yes there are a plethora of issues, but Congress can't even get to them because the House is Divided.
You know what that famous President said about a "house divided against itself cannot stand." I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the animosity that exists between these parties will destroy our democracy. That Walkersville family touched my heart. To put it bluntly, if an older white rural family can sit with me, talk shop, listen to my ideas, and say that we need someone like me in Congress. (I'm a young Black woman with a Filipino mom.) They would be happy to vote for me if only I weren't a democrat. It is then when I realized that there was no need for me to be one anymore.
Isn't this what we were all working towards all these many years? Isn't this what real progress looks like? This is the future we should be fighting to create and preserve. We need to really come together, appreciate our diversity, and at the same time, rejoice in our commonality. Last time I checked, that's what makes us Americans!
Of course, the parties serve a purpose, but in this particular situation, at this time, for this district, our next representative must be post-partisan.
That is one of the reasons why I decided to become unaffiliated. I am willing to place the district's needs first before any party. The only line I'm willing to tow is the one that leads us to solutions.