Christmas Eve Check-In

Christmas Eve Check-In

For me, Christmas eve is a good time to check in with myself. Did I shop for everyone I should have? Am I ready for the gathering of family? Have I practiced generosity and compassion? 

I made a decision this year to devote the remainder of my working life to community, or what some would call politics. Does that count as generosity and Christmas spirit? I suppose it depends on what you stand for and how deep you feel it. I feel like it counts this year.

When my siblings were gathered here on the farm for Thanksgiving we watched a video interview that my cousin had done of my father a few years before he died. Dad recalled as a boy listening to his father at a party talking politics with his friends. The topic was Franklin D. Roosevelt and his campaign for president. Pops’s friends were business leaders, and they were convinced that FDR’s New Deal programs would sink the country further into debt and make doing business in America impossible. Pops disagreed with his friends, and my father’s proud recollection was that his dad’s arguments in support of FDR’s positions were morally responsible and smart.

Steuart PIttman, Sr. with grandson Andy

One night my brother and I got Dad talking about his years as a Marine in China during World War II, and then his work on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the war. The fear that communism would spread across the world was real, and influential people in government were arguing that we should attack the Soviet Union. Dad’s argument against that strategy struck me. He said that we had just fought a war against intolerance. Attacking the Soviets would be taking up where Hitler had left off, and that’s what he told his friends. Hearing that made me proud.

Dad was an independent thinker. He challenged the theories of anyone who wore a label. He preferred questions to answers. He very much lives on in my five sisters, my brother, and myself. We try to ask questions, listen, and think before we act.

I love seeing my siblings and their offspring at Christmas. None of us voted for Trump, and we talk politics a lot. This year we will talk about a tax bill that deliberately widens the gap between rich and poor. We will talk about an assault on working Americans by a minority whose wealth is already staggering. We will speculate about whether the Trump administration and Congress will succeed in paying for their forty percent cut in the corporate tax rate by dismantling the safety net created by the leaders that our grandparents and parents put in office.

My twelve nieces and my adult daughter Jesse are all fighting back, and they expect no less from their parents. This year I can proudly say to them that I am doing my part. Anne Arundel County is a microcosm of America, and by devoting 100% of my time to this election I can help my community to demonstrate that we are a compassionate, responsible people.

In this county we have 33,000 people living under the poverty level. During the economic recovery years of 2010 to 2013 we had a 5% increase in families making under $25,000 per year, but an 11% increase in families making over $200,000. Housing costs have doubled in fifteen years, but our Republican county leadership voted in 2015 to ban workforce housing from all zoning districts except R10 and R15. Our county executive pledges to lower property taxes for the benefit of those with large land holdings, and to reduce fees paid by developers, but has no plans to reduce the burden for working families of childcare, transportation, housing, or health care. Our county plays hardball in negotiations with the underpaid teachers, firefighters, and police officers, but gives away millions in negotiations with developers while citizens ask for slower growth.

I feel good about taking on the political machine here in our county. Our campaign aligns with the spirit of Christmas, with my family’s values, and with the legacy left by my father and grandfather. I am ready for Christmas, and for 2018. I hope you are ready for your holidays and 2018 as well.

Posted on 24 Dec 2017, 12:17 - Category: Campaign News

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By Authority of Friends of Steuart Pittman, VIrginia Clagett Treasurer
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