The High Road

A friend posted the following on social media yesterday. “When Dems beat Trump, it will not be a victory of clever ads or incremental polls or appeals to the “other side.” Dems will win by being ruthless 24/7 from now until November. There is no ‘high road’ anymore.”

Once I calmed myself after reading the demonstrably ignorant statement, I decided it was time to come out and state clearly, if we carry this mentality into the November election, we will lose and badly.

“Ruthless” carries with it the connotation that the ends justify the means – lying, cheating, stealing or whatever to get what we want. We do not live in 15th century Italy. We live in a Democratic Republic with laws, ethics, tradition and social responsibility. The vast majority of Americans still believe in those things, and if we are manipulated into following any other course, we will put ourselves at a tremendous statistical disadvantage.

But don’t believe me, believe the facts. In 2018, we took back the House with a victory in 41 swing districts. Of those, 31 Democrats embraced a strategy of running as Americans first and Democrats second. They didn’t talk about being ruthless. They talked about reaching out to the other side, integrity and reinvigorating democracy. They didn’t talk about Donald Trump. They talked about health care and won. In 2020, Democrats must hold 31 districts that Trump won and is currently polling well ahead of Biden. Republicans must defend only three.

But let’s bring this debate back to Nebraska, and a man who truly emulates what I’m talking about. Don Schuller is from that bastion of Democratic politics – Gage County. In truth Republicans outnumber Democrats by a margin of two to one there. In 2018, having never run for political office, Don narrowly lost to Senator Myron Dorn by 901 votes, overcoming a voter registration deficit of more than 7,500 votes. And, given his strong showing in this year’s primary for County Supervisor, his prospects are very good for winning the seat in November.

Don is about as straight forward as they come. I asked him why he thought he overcame such odds. He said, "I tell the truth... I put the people before the Party... We have to work together to get things done... I listen and try to be objective and polite… It’s arrogant to think that everyone thinks the way you do, nobody’s right or wrong 100 percent of the time. I’m open minded to enough to know I might be wrong… I didn't run because I have a personal agenda or ambition. I'm interested in the business of the County, and I want it to do well... I don’t like to pat myself on the back.”

In case you didn’t recognize it, that was the high road, and I’m ready to vote for him for President. The high road was well established in Athens over 2,000 years ago, and it hasn’t changed much since then. The trouble is people get monarchy, dictatorship and oligarchy mixed-up with democracy. You see, democracy requires honesty, compromise, integrity and honor to work effectively. In recent years, both sides have gotten confused and think their side is the only one that matters. Now, we discount the opposition without even thinking about it. It’s hurt our Party, and it’s hurt our nation.

The logo in the lead of this story was created by Don. It depicts an elephant and a donkey pulling a cart together that is carrying the State of Nebraska. He’s got one pulling the United States too. He says, “You might not know this, but with a wagon team, if one of the team doesn’t pull, the wagon doesn’t move. I feel like that’s how we are in our country right now – stuck.”

I think it’s about time we implement that country boy logic in everything we do as a Party.


Photo courtesy of Don Schuller.

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