By Joshua Friedman | November 29, 2019 | Guest Opinion, Bucks County Courier Times
My wife and I recently hosted a “meet and greet” with Debbie Wachspress, who is running in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District. I believe there are three primary reasons why folks in Bucks County should support Deb’s candidacy to replace Brian Fitzpatrick as our representative to Congress.
First, let me address Debbie as a person. We have known her and her husband, Dan, since each of our oldest children was in a stroller. Our lives have been intertwined for many years, and we have had the good fortune to know Debbie very well. She has the qualities that I believe are essential in a leader: kindness, intelligence, strength, integrity and courage.
Second, Debbie’s stance on today’s most pressing issues is consistent with our own views. Here are just a few examples.
She understands that America has a gun violence epidemic, with yet another horrible school shooting this month in California. For over 20 years, she has been a strong advocate for common sense gun laws which would increase our safety, while respecting the Second Amendment. Debbie knows that global warming is not a so-called “hoax”, but a scientifically proven crisis threatening our health and our planet. She recognizes that a bunch of aging white men in D.C. must not interfere with women’s right to make decisions about their own reproductive healthcare. She knows that the Trump administration’s policies regarding immigration are cruel and inhumane, and they are based on bigotry and xenophobia.
In a broader sense, Debbie believes that policy decisions must be made on the basis of facts and decency, rather than lies, propaganda, and a desire to placate big-dollar campaign donors, like the NRA.
This leads to the third reason I strongly support Debbie’s candidacy. I believe that right now we are at a crossroads in our nation’s history. As the Trump presidency began to take shape, I saw striking similarities between his behavior and that of current and 20th century dictators: scapegoating minorities and immigrants, undermining the rule of law, demanding complete and unquestioning loyalty, spreading propaganda and baseless conspiracy theories, undermining checks and balances (including congressional oversight), discrediting the free press, intimidating judges, weaponizing people’s fears and hatred, and so on. These are not normal in a well-functioning democracy, regardless of which political party is in power.
Overwhelmingly, Republicans in Congress, including Brian Fitzpatrick, have enabled Trump’s damaging actions. During the impeachment hearings, they bent over backwards to protect Mr. Trump, rather than our Constitution and our democracy. Hoping for elected Republicans — including Fitzpatrick — to put our country above blind loyalty to our autocratic president has proven to be a fruitless endeavor.
Abraham Lincoln urged us to honor the fallen Civil War soldiers at Gettysburg by ensuring that our “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Debbie fully understands the significance of the current moment in our history, and that’s why she’s running for office. What we are seeing by Trump and today’s elected Republicans is not normal and must not be treated as normal.
Debbie has the experience, strength, courage and priorities to stand up for our great country, and protect our shared values.
Joshua Friedman lives in Yardley.