I want to speak about a question I get asked by folks in State College and really not from anywhere else: How are you going to reach voters outside the bubble of State College? People think that there is a divide between rural American and “urban” America (if State College even qualifies as urban), and that the two can’t speak to each other.
I have to tell you, after traveling across the 16 counties in the 5th Congressional District and the 15 counties in the 12th Congressional District, and putting over 20,000 miles on my car since I announced my candidacy, I can report that we do not live in a bubble. There is not a divide between rural and urban America.
The real divide is between the rich and the poor. The real divide is between the haves and the have nots. And from what I’ve seen, most of the rich, and most of the “haves,” are more than willing to pay their fair share to help the poor and the have nots.
So, why is it that we think there is a bubble? I think it’s because we have been conditioned as liberals, progressives, or Democrats to negotiate against ourselves.
We have been trained to think that we are in the minority, and that we live in a bubble. The fact of the matter is that we are in the majority. The majority of Americans want a future that provides equality of opportunity for everybody. The majority of Americans want to make sure that there is universal healthcare, and are ready to support Medicare for All as the way to get there. The majority of Americans are ready again to believe in the power of government as a force for good. They are ready to embrace the future. We as Democrats are ready to bring about that future. The other side is in the bubble. They want to go back to the past, to a time when opportunity was not distributed equally. To a time when women and minorities did not get a seat at the table. To a time when corporate interests could run roughshod over worker’s interests. To a time when education was a luxury, and not a ticket to the middle class. To a time when the environment was only an object to be exploited, and to a time when climate change wasn’t something that every nation in the world except for one has dedicated itself to fighting. To a time when the president can interfere in the Department of Justice in a ham-fisted attempt to cover up his crimes.
I’ve dedicated my career, and my personal time, to taking on corrupt institutions, like Wall Street banks which caused the financial crisis, and congressmen like Glenn Thompson and Tom Marino who will ignore—or in the case of Tom Marino, actually sue—their constituents for demanding some responsive representation.
It’s time that we embrace who we are, and embrace this incredible time of activism and civic engagement, and start going on offense. The kind of government that we want is within our reach. As Teddy Roosevelt said, this is a time for daring greatly. If we believe that healthcare is a human right, we fight for it. If we think that common-sense solutions for gun violence are possible, we fight for them. Not as Democrats, but just as people who have been suffering for too long under a broken government. If we think that government is good, we fight for it. If we think that the future is worth fighting for, then we fight for it.
My name is Marc Friedenberg. I’ll be fighting for you in Washington. Thank you.