Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Steve Young: Democratic Fresh Air

"Get Out the Vote" Rally Irvine, CA 10/30/06

Ed & Cindy Asner, Steve & Solange Young

A breath of clean fresh air has blown into the rancid politics of the 48th congressional district of California, and it has a name: Steve Young, democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. Unlikely to win in the overwhelmingly republican stronghold of ultra-rich Orange County, also the location of squalid indigent immigrant and homeless poor zones, overlooked by the majority, 50-ish successful attorney Young and his wife, Solange, told us at a voter gathering in Irvine yesterday that they are “in it for the long haul.”

This is good news, because the message from Steve Young is positive, uplifting, and unifying. In the primary election there were several names on the ballot, including Jim Gilchrist, the racist anti-immigration advocate and co-founder of the vigilante border raiders called “minutemen,” who are not in the final running for this congressional seat. Gilchrist and his ilk spout nothing but negativity, as I have noted in this blog before, as well as Young’s positive outlook.

Beyond the details of Steve Young’s platform and goals, which are thoughtful and articulate, is his overall philosophy of inclusive government. Yesterday his message was simple. He saw several sign-holders with verbiage such as “How many more soldiers will you dishonor, Cindy?” (Referring to Cindy Sheehan, anti-Iraq War mother of a soldier killed in Iraq) and “Friends don’t let friends vote democratic.” And he started his speech by telling the crowd to thank these republicans for bringing their message as well, since what makes America a great country is the acceptability of diverging opinions. Young went on to say that the vitriol in Washington politics approaching next week’s election was polarizing the country completely, and that his major effort would be to bring back a sense of unity for Americans, no matter what differences they had.

This was the gist of his positive approach. Young did explain that there is no agenda, no plan, for the country under the current leadership, and this was a change that was needed. But he was not as critical as he was observational, and the tone was congenial, not rabble-rousing.

It is interesting to note that the incumbent representative, Steve Campbell, has been pretty much absent in any campaign effort. He was elected in the special election of December, 2005, after the last incumbent republican, Christopher Cox, vacated the office in order to head the SEC. Campbell is so certain of re-election that it doesn’t pay for him to spend money on letting the voters know what he wants to do for this district or what his goals are as a member of congress. Even the republicans in the 48th district deserve to know what representation they have.

However, the republicans are no longer holding a majority of the registered voters here—Steve Young announced yesterday their numbers have dropped just below 50% of the total. Conceivably, with enough republican voters disaffected by their republican leadership, and with enough registered independents voting democratic, Steve Young could become the first democratic congressman in many years from Orange County. His constituency in that case couldn’t deserve any better! Talk about getting rid of the stink, indeed.

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