By JARED BARLIANT
We are paying an incredibly high price for the degradation of our politics, democratic institutions, and civil discourse.
For the first three years of this presidency, it seemed like the attacks on minorities, immigrants, the rule of law, a free press, the environment, truth, and common decency were as bad as it could get.
Now, unfortunately, we have seen how much more damage can be done by the divisiveness and immorality coming from the top. It is costing lives, livelihoods, and futures. Even a pandemic can’t seem to bring us together. Somehow, we have to find a way to do better.
Here in the third congressional district, we are very fortunate to have a well-qualified and diverse group of candidates running in the Democratic primary. For the most part, they have campaigned on what they have to offer from their varied life experiences, rather than tearing each other down.
However, on the eve of the primary, unknown, out-of-state organizations with anonymous funding are pouring huge sums of advertising money into the race to viciously defame one of the candidates, Valerie Plame. The ads are offensive and outrageous, and they should be loudly condemned by every candidate in the race.
I am biased; my wife has been working on Ms. Plame’s campaign for the past year. That’s because we admire her and believe she would be an outstanding representative of all the people in this district. She is smart, compassionate, and a fighter.
During her career in government service, she put her life on the line to help protect our national security. She is fearless and resilient. She also has run an entirely positive campaign, listening to and learning from the people she hopes to represent, without attacking any of her opponents.
Regardless of which candidate you support, we should all agree that the kind of hateful and dishonest rhetoric that is the norm for the current administration in Washington has no place in a Democratic primary in this district. Ms. Plame does not have a hateful bone in her body, and I believe the same is true of the other candidates in the race.
The voters and candidates should emphatically reject and disavow any efforts by dark-money organizations from outside our state to drag down a campaign with ugly and defamatory attacks on any candidate. That kind of politics has contributed to the mess we are in. We are still much better than that in this district, thankfully.