My name is Matthew Robert Wookey and I am running for the 2nd District of California seat in the United States House of Representatives. I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of a political party. Both of the major parties, Republicans and Democrats, are failing the people of this nation. Far too many of our elected officials from these parties care more about maintaining their status and power than doing the real work of fixing our problems now and in the future. If that wasn’t already bad enough, Congress is dominated by petty obstructionism and partisan strife. My first priority must be to reform Congress. Term limits, filibuster reform, campaign finance reform and attendance reform are just a start. For my part, I will not be accepting any monetary donations. Time and effort are the only campaign contributions I will be accepting.
It is important that my first post regarding my position on the issues this country faces be about the economy as it is the focus of my long-term goal: eliminate poverty in America by 2050. Communism? Socialism? Both of these have thus far spectacularly failed to achieve this goal. We need to devise an entirely new system that preserves our freedoms and employs current and emerging technologies to efficiently produce, conserve and utilize our vital resources. Why do we need such radical change? Change is coming regardless. Increasing automation from a combination of robotics and artificial intelligence could eliminate millions of jobs. Growing discontent among the socio-economically disadvantaged regarding income inequality could lead to widespread civil unrest. Maintaining the status quo is not only highly unlikely but also undesirable. This isn’t about fear-mongering though, this is about hope. We have an opportunity, for likely the first time in human history, to provide everyone in this nation with the most vital of resources: healthy food, comfortable dwellings, clean water, and practical clothing. If this nation is to have any claim to morality, then we must truly embrace this goal. To ignore or, worse, deny this chance would be to reject the better part of what makes us human. In the short-term, we need to increase the Federal Minimum Wage to at least $12.50 and reform the tax system.
As a middle school history teacher for the past 12 years, the issue of education in America is, of course, vital to me. Just about every politician loves to give the importance of education some lip service but few of them have actually backed those words up with action; hence, the current sorry state of the American educational system. There is no single solution to the problems we face in our educational system. However, the schools that tend to see the most success are those where teachers, students and parents have all bought into the idea of universal student achievement and are willing to do whatever it takes to make that a reality. It is what every school, every teacher, every parent, and every student should be striving for and yet it reveals a dark secret about our society. Our economy thrives on the failure of our educational system. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 66% of all jobs in the US require a high school diploma or less. Our system not only expects failure, it requires it. If we were to achieve the true dream of education and produce entire generations of young people prepared and qualified to go to college and we somehow had expanded our post-secondary system to accommodate all of them, there would be no place for the vast majority of them in our economy. And yet this is what we must strive for. Only when we reach this tipping point will we have a populace that will understand what must be done to remake our society into one that can survive this century.
Our foreign policy has been shaped to far too great a degree by our continued reliance on fossil fuels. If we are to avoid finishing the rest of this century bogged down by conflicts with extremists or major powers, we must start by freeing ourselves from this costly reliance. While it is far too late to retreat to isolationism, we must temper our actions with realism. We cannot be the world’s police. Not only do we not have the resources to do so, but also we have been so inconsistent in which ‘evils’ we wish to battle that the world at large regularly and rightly doubts our intentions. What moral high ground can we claim when we denounce autocracy after autocracy and yet cozy up to the brutal autocracy of the Sauds. A new era of American foreign policy must start at home by fully embracing alternative fuels and placing a moratorium on new fossil fuel burning vehicles.
The United States is now, and has always been, a nation of immigrants. Immigrant labor helped build this nation into the world’s top economy. Immigrant labor continues to be vital to our economy today. Can the U.S. support all of the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”? Unfortunately, we cannot, there must be limits. However, our current system is obviously broken. We need a system that decriminalizes the low-skilled workers our economy has thrived on since the Industrial Revolution, but still secures both of our borders. We need a system that gives refuge to the victims of our own failed foreign policies. We need a system that doesn’t sacrifice the better aspects of our humanity to the same fear-mongering bullies that have plagued immigrants to this nation for most of its history. What we don’t need is a big, useless wall. Border security from any true threats (which are not desperate people looking for a chance at a better life) can be achieved through more technology and manpower, not a massive, idiotic and racist construction project.