I’ve had more thoughts on the fund-raiser for the very impressive Democratic candidate for Congress in the 8th District of Washington state, Dr. Kim Schrier. Kim said specifically that the impetus for taking a leave from her 17 year old pediatric practice to run for Congress was inspired by the election of Trump, and by the Women’s March protesting same.
Schrier studied astro physics in college, before deciding on medical school and a career seeing to the health care needs of children and families. She has first hand experience of the gun crisis in our country, saying that in many cases, the difference between a depressed adolescent male having suicidal thoughts and that same young man killing himself is the ready availability of a gun in the house.
Schrier is clearly smart, grounded, idealistic and hard working, and she has a plan for being effective in our highly polarized and dysfunctional Congress. I hope she wins the primary, and goes on to defeat Republican Dino Rossi — a Trump guy.
As I listened to Kim’s crisp and confident presentation, I was reminded of another young woman I met on a trip to Russia, a few years after Jerry died. That young woman was our guide, and after we’d been with her for a few days we were able to wean her from the canned monologue about Russian history and cultural institutions, and get her to talk about life for young professionals like her. She said that many of her friends, inspired by what seemed to be favorable winds of political change, had gone into politics. Not long after, they’d gotten right out again — deeply disillusioned by the corruption, and the violence. Young, idealistic politicians and journalists were being killed if they couldn’t be silenced or bought off.
I wonder, assuming and hoping that Kim Schrier wins and takes her seat in Congress, what she will find? Here’s Tom Friedman’s take on the state of our democracy:
“At the same time, though, who’d look at our democracy today as a model for emulation? It takes $1 billion to run for the White House, Congress has become a forum for legalized bribery, the president has uttered roughly 2,000 lies and misleading statements since taking office — and his own party doesn’t care — a gun cult holds Congress hostage, and computer-designed gerrymandering enables candidates to pick their voters, not have voters pick them.
Is this a democratic model you’d stand in front of a tank to import?”
I hope Kim Schreir, and candidates like her, are elected and have more staying power than their counterparts in Russia. I hope our system is not as corrupted at Putin’s. I hope the reign of Trump is doing less lasting damage than I fear.
I really do.