Returning from Duty and Restoring Democracy

For the last two weeks, I was on Active Duty as an Army Reservist, spending my days supporting and surrounded by women and men who have committed to serve and protect our nation. Each evening I read the news, and what I saw emphasized a startling contrast. All day, every day, our military personnel, diplomats, and intelligence professionals -- women and men like the people I was working with in the Reserves - do the dangerous work of keeping us safe. Meanwhile, the political leaders of those brave public servants are failing to fulfill their duties.

Over the course of these last two weeks, Congress has descended even further into chaos, and the Administration has continued to demonstrate a thirst for autocratic power. You want specifics? The American Health Care Act is a legislative disaster that would deny access to affordable healthcare for women, seniors, and Veterans. And the Comey firing fiasco represents yet another effort by the President to undermine independent oversight of his activities and relationships.  

But the passage of the health bill and the Comey firing were mere bookends. In the handful of days between these two events, several handfuls of bad news emerged from Washington, all of it indicative of the serious threat posed to the Republic by the current Congressional and Presidential leadership. A few examples:

  • A deepening of the conflict-of-interest hole Mr. Trump and his son-in-law’s family seem intent on digging to China

  • Another piece of evidence that the President is more interested in keeping science out of the EPA than in keeping carbon out of the atmosphere

  • Continued turmoil at the Census Bureau, following the decision of our gerrymandered Congress not to meet the funding requests of the very organization whose work could inform the de-gerrymandering of...Congress

  • A completely predictable increase in mistrust between the police and the public after the passage of anti-immigrant laws

Meanwhile, on Russia, the Republican Congress is stalling and making excuses. The President of the United States is treating Vladimir Putin’s diplomats and “journalists” better than our own, and the GOP leadership refuses to undertake sufficiently robust investigation of the troubling connections between the White House and the Kremlin.

The challenge -- for those of us who understand and are willing to say that our Democracy is under attack -- is to remain positive and precise in our denunciations of the ongoing debacle. It is not enough simply to name what we see and do not like; we must also be adamant and particular about what we would like but do not see. So: I want to hear what you think. It’s time for a Representative who is willing to listen, and I want to hear from you.  What should we have at the top of our To-Do list, for January 2019, on the day the new House Democratic majority is sworn in?  Please send your bold ideas -- in writing or in video -- to danhelmer2018@gmail.com, and let’s keep building a better future together.