Sometimes in life it feels as if there are overwhelming odds to overcome, and that despite the most valiant of efforts one will never be able to conquer these challenges. For many, these are moments of defeat, moments when trying seems meaningless. In these moments most people give up and give in to the pressure, but a select few see a need to fight against all odds. These are the men and women that all of our stories are about. These are the ones that are our heroes and these are the ones that stand for their convictions regardless of the obstacles. These individuals are ultimately the embodiment of the type of people we truly wish to be.
Meet John Dale.
John is the Democratic candidate in Indiana's conservative 4th Congressional district. There has only been one Democrat to represent the district since 1977 and it is currently represented by Congressman Todd Rokita (R). After Donald Trump chose his Vice presidential running mate Mike Pence, Indiana's governor, Congressman Rokita was on the short list of candidates to replace his position.
Rokita has solidly held his position since 2010, has raised over 1.5 million dollars in the last election cycle and is backed by donors such as the Koch Brothers. So why would Dale choose to go toe to toe with such a foreboding incumbent?
"The people of Indiana's 4th district need a real choice. If no one runs on the democratic ticket, then we do not have a democracy or a true republic. I feel that many of the hard working people in my district have been convinced to vote against their own interests by voting Republican. Congress is so polarized that no one is willing to cross party lines to put citizens above corporate interests."
Unlike Rokita, Dale lives in the district in which he wants to represent. He is also not a career politician. John Dale has been a high school government teacher, coach and farmer for nearly thirty years. He has served and shaped thousands of lives of the people in his district and now he wants to do it on a bigger scale. His story can't help but make one think of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
But why does his story matter?
John Dale's story matters because it is the same story of every democrat living in a conservative state. Many Democrats in red states may feel that there is no reason to participate politically because it will make no difference in the results of the election. However, liberals have never done things simply to win. What makes Democrats and liberals unique is that they fight politically because it is the right thing to do, no matter the odds they face.
The challenges faced in the civil rights movement may have seemed insurmountable, yet because of the actions of millions of people (mostly liberals) doing what was right and standing up for their convictions African Americans won the political rights they so deserved. The same is true in the fight for LGBT rights as recent as 2014.
Now Democrats and liberals in red states need to recognize the reality of a Donald Trump victory in their state. The ironic joke of a reality TV star becoming the president of the United States and giving Idiocracy flashbacks (President Camacho, anyone?) is now a serious possibility. For many liberals, this truth has never seemed to fully set in. Knowing this, there is only one way Democrats can attempt to mitigate the damage done by their fellow conservative citizens. Democrats in red states must turn their attention to their congressional races. Congressional elections are where democrats in conservative states have a chance to make an impact on this election cycle. There are many John Dale's across the United States that seek nothing more than to provide a real choice for constituents in their district. You can research your congressional candidates here: Ballotpedia
Those democrats living in red states always seem to be forgotten, but the truth is, that it is the liberals living in conservative states that make the real change. They are also the ones that confront problems on a daily basis. Liberals living in blue states and cities may not see the problems of living in conservative districts because those problems don't exist there. It is time for the unheard democrats to show their collective voice and power in the congressional elections of 2016.
John Dale's advice:
"Vote for what you believe in even if you do not win, your message will get across. A vote is more powerful than not voting simply because they know they are being watched by civic voting citizens."
The key is that you MUST participate in this election if you are a democrat living in a red state. It is perhaps the only tool you have to undermine a Trump presidency. That alone should be enough incentive to get out and vote come November.