Disenfranchisement by any Other Name…

no irish need applyRecently, members of my opponent’s team knocked on the door of one of my supporters, a woman with my sign in her yard. I have no issue with that – they want to talk about their candidate, that’s great. I fully support anyone who wants to be a part of the process and get involved. What I have a problem with is what they talked to her about. Not Jon’s vision or his plans for the community. Not his record. They talked about two things.  Jon’s ‘connections’ and their belief that I haven’t lived in Howard County long enough to be able to serve. 

My friend told them that it was Jon’s connections that worried her the most about him, so they changed the topic to my being unqualified because I’m ‘new’ here. I’ve been here about three times longer than the county requires to run for office, so their opinion is subjective, but I’m hearing it from Jon and his team a lot, so let’s dig into it a bit. What Jon and his team are telling people in the community is that, unless you were born here, or have lived here for their arbitrary standard of time (which appears to be 18 years – which is how long Jon’s been here) you don’t get a say.  This is textbook marginalization. How far does this brand of disenfranchisement go?

Jon says those here less than 18 years shouldn’t hold office, so perhaps those new to the county shouldn’t be able to vote either. Or maybe they should only get 3/5th’s of a vote.  Three ‘new’ votes are equal to one ‘born here’ vote.  That’s what this sounds like. When you start saying that those who weren’t born here are somehow less, or that they shouldn’t have the same rights as others, you start down a sad path. It’s a dangerous attitude and has no place in the modern world. It’s a mindset that sounds familiar…all people are equal, but some are more equal than others. When a society starts qualifying equality, it loses.  There is no “equal but…”

Perhaps Jon’s team has forgotten that over 40% of the people who live in Howard County weren’t born here. In fact 18% of that 40% weren’t born in this country. We are an international community – it’s one of the things my wife and I love most about our chosen home. Because of our experiences beyond Howard County, we know that all of our kids will face a Global Economy. We cannot restrict our leadership to people with only one type of background.  We need diverse ideas, new energy, and someone whose talking points go beyond how long they’ve lived in town.

We need to find Common Ground, not find more arbitrary reasons to set select groups of people apart.  If you are as tired as I am of hearing nothing but negative, vision-less reasons to separate our community, Vote for me, Kevin Forrest Schmidt on November 4th.  Choose Common Ground, not divisive walls.


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