Friday, April 25, 2014

Open letter to Elizabeth Warren

Recently, my sons were talking with me about possible presidential candidates for 2016. I laughed and said there was only one ticket that could make me open my wallet, but that if it came together I would clear my calendar for a year to promote the pair: Warner-Warren.

I'm serious.

I'm so serious, I started reading Warren's new book, A FIghting Chance. I really shouldn't have done that, because for all that I have admired Warren from a distance, i never realized she was a real person like the rest of us, and in specific, like me. A person whose passion at times trips up her prescribed path. A person who cares to the point of stupidity. A person.

So I wrote her a letter.

Dear EW,
I have followed your career since you became a Senator, and you have always impressed me. Really. And that is saying something, since I was pretty jaded after the 2004 election. I thought that there was no place for me or my voice, let alone my dreams, in the United States that had come to be.

You, and other common-sense party members like you such as Mark Warner and Bernie Sanders, have had a huge impact on the independents of the nation. We of Gen X found ourselves spiritually bankrupt after the dozen Reagan Bush years, and emotionally spent after the Bush Jr theft. Please understand that what Bush Jr stole was ever so much more than an election; it was the sundering of hope in America.

I had never in my life contributed to a political campaign until Barack Obama ran for candidate in 2007-2008. After he was nominated, I secretly contributed $50 a month to his presidential campaign; my then-husband was a staunch republican, with deep tea party leanings.

By the time Obama ran in 2012, I was single and contributed in the open; I spoke of politics at every turn; I no longer apologized for caring about the United States of America that should be. I contributed as much as my meager income would allow, every week, and raised my voice and the awareness of those around me at every chance. My teenage sons were embarrassed by me then. Now, two years later, they are actively looking for ways to affect the America they will inherit in the coming years. They care, and when they are outspoken to the point of calling attention to themselves, a taboo in teenage society, they are indifferent and belligerent in equal measure, asking their peers what opinion should be espoused instead.

I am proud of my recent legacy, and of the passion I have imparted to my teenagers, but there is more yet to do and more that can be done. Please, I implore you, talk with Mark Warner. I think you two are of like minds on many issues, not the least of which is fiscal responsibility and accountability.

I can tell you this: A Warner-Warren ticket would be the final drop to fill the glass that would find me devoting time hand-over-fist to get involved in a campaign. I wanted to volunteer for Warner 2008 before I had ever heard of Barak Obama.

I love Warner, not because he is a raging liberal, but because he is not. He is reinventing what it means to be a civic-minded person, and I'm glad of the new definition as are most of my peers and friends. We are tired of democrat and conservative as the only choices. We want socially liberal, fiscally conservative, environmentally responsible, long-term representation. This is the group that from Gen X's oldest members to the Millennial's youngest that has no voice.

Please. Speak with Senator Warner.
Please represent us.
Please don't let three generations be left behind.

Heidi Schmidt

P.S. I confess that when I was a little girl, when I was asked who my hero was it was easy to answer: Madeline L'Engle and Helen Keller, not necessarily in that order. About the time I turned 17, I was sad, and had I been asked who my heroes were I would have said Billy Crystal and Whoopie Goldberg and Robin WIlliams, because they had the strength to stand in front of a Hollywood audience and not just ask for money but demand it in an attempt to address homelessness. In the intervening decades, I have felt adrift. Thank you for being vocal. Thank you for running. Thank you for representing my concerns, even though I have never been to Massachusetts, let alone been a registered voter there. Thank you for caring about American manufacturing and student loans in equal measure; they are the foundation of this great society, and without understanding that and supporting both arms of production and education, this nation will fall behind to the point of failure. Thank you for reminding me that heroes are still to be found, even if they have to squeeze into the laughable excuse of the ladies' room in the Senate.

Thank you for writing your book, and reminding a lowly single mom with two teenagers and a toddler and a wealth of bad but well-intentioned decisions behind her that the future is what matters. Not husbands or approval. And thank you for reminding me that I am not alone in feeling less than whole when daycare isn't as good as it should be.

Please. Help me create an America that I can send my three year old daughter into with confidence. Please help me reinvent a student loan system that will allow my incredibly talented teenage sons to go to the schools for which they can get accepted, not merely to those which I can afford.

Please run with Mark Warner for the Oval Office. I know you don't want to. But if you don't, who will?
And I meant every word.

If there is a Warner-Warren ticket, please do take me off your calendars for the coming year and a half. I will be busy, soliciting votes, organizing town halls, making certain that the American People know how important it is to have fiduciary responsibility in the White House.