Gary Horton | Bullies and Checks and Balances


Here we go. Two weeks from The Most Important Elec- tion in Our Lives. You get to choose more of the unrestricted, anti-democratic, anti-civility, crazy-making from the Trump White House and Congress – or restoration of reasonable checks and balances by establishing a balanced government again.

That’s really what this election boils down to, plain and simple. And where the boiling gets hottest is right here in our very own 25th Congressional District with aspiring Katie Hill (D) facing up against incumbent Republican-controlled House member, Steve Knight.

Starting this missive, you will notice that The Signal is publishing this column, right here in the middle of their privately owned newspaper.

Indeed, The Signal, over the course of many owners, has published my Democratic-leaning column, week in and week out, for a decade and a half, without as much as an edit, save for occasional spelling
and grammar corrections.

Let’s get this much straight: The Signal, to this present day, has been editorially encouraging of diverse input from our community.

Richard Budman invited me to lunch shortly after purchasing The Signal. We talked, and his commitment was to restore The Signal to full relevancy in our large community and to build a vibrant community forum.

“Thank you,” to The Signal for providing a town square for our often vibrant, sometimes loud, frequently disagreeing discourse. The Signal strives to maintain a “just the facts, ma’am” line. Of course, they have their own editorial slant. As does Fox News. And the New York Times. And MSNBC, for heaven’s sake. Yet in this world of hyper-partisanship, The Signal is as even-keel as we could reasonably expect or hope. Our community is blessed to have such a fair and open resource for both the exchange of information and exchange of ideas.

This past Sunday, The Signal editorial board ran their opinion piece, “Fed Up with Bullies, We Endorse Steve Knight.”

It seems a Democratic writer, not employed by Katie Hill’s campaign, had been agitating and harassing The Signal in national publications, attempting to paint our beloved paper as biased in its news coverage. Specifically, that The Signal is biased against Democrats and specifically against Katie Hill.

We all know the Signal news coverage is not biased, and this hit man writer was dead wrong to claim so and continue to do so — even after multiple requests to stop. This guy had become a literary bully.
Such hit men exist on all sides of the political spectrum. It’s an artifact of the state of communication these days, I suppose. It’s especially unfortunate in this case, because Katie Hill stands against just about everything this man committed.

Eventually, The Signal pushed back, penning the editorial, “Fed Up with Bullies, We Endorse Steve Knight.” This is unfortunate, because the headline may lead one to think Katie herself the bully – and The Signal never intended that nor do they think it.

Indeed, Katie Hill, the homeless advocate, feeding starving street people – a bully? Katie Hill, the only credible voice for “no pre-existing condition limits on your health care” – a bully? Katie Hill, the only credible 25th District champion for protect- ing your hard-earned Social Security against Republican leaders saying, “We can no longer afford these entitlements” – a bully?

In contrast, Donald Trump stands behind the presidential pulpit, recklessly attacking almost everything decent about America. He undermines our norms of civility under the author- ity of the presidency. Donald Trump attacks the weakest among us while praising some of the world’s worst tyrants. Perhaps
The Signal should note that neither Steve Knight, nor especially his party, have shown the required guts to check this reckless president as he degrades those thing things most important to us, like health care, Social Security, our environment and decency itself?

By far, the key point of this election is that it determines whether a president bent on further enriching the rich, attacking the weak, degrading health care, trashing our environment, setting back modernity, and venting general meanness and bullying – is allowed to continue without restraint and checks and balances.

Steve Knight has not stood up to Trump on meaningful issues. American health care? He kicked its knees in. Tax equality? Voted for that farce. Financial prudence? Hello national bankruptcy. Steve Knight has not faced down our presidential bully, and that’s put us all at considerable personal insult and risk.

If we want better from Washington we have to change the status quo in Washington. Steve Knight is our local status quo man in Washington, so he’s got to go.

So please, Signal – when countering bullies, please counter the worst bully we’ve seen in our lives, Donald Trump. Signal, if you want to counter Donald Trump, you’ve got to endorse replacing Steve Knight, his 25th District enabler.

I asked Katie Hill what she’d like readers to know in these closing days. Her reply was simple and straightforward:
“You can count on me to be a true representative of this com- munity, and ensure pressing issues like health care, housing, education, are finally addressed front and center.

“I am from this community and have lived in my own life the same issues and challenges people face every single day — I will be our local public voice in Washington.

“This is a pivotal time and this vote will be close. Please plan to vote now and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. Thank you.”

“Please and thank you.” Can you even imagine these words coming from Trump’s mouth?

Voter, if want to reject real bullies, if you want to actually preserve and improve health care, if you really don’t want your Social Security hijacked and axed by those tax cuts for the super-rich – you need to vote for proper oversight in the House.

The answer for checks and balances and real representative government is simple: Katie Hill for Congress.

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared on Wednesdays in The Signal since 2006.

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