Updated April 22, 2011: Unfortunately, Mr. Harris decided to leave the Republican Party. While frustration with the party is understandable, the move to the Libertarian Party is not. I had no idea that Mr. Harris would ever embrace a Libertarian platform; it doesn’t line up with what we discussed or what I thought I knew about him. I was clearly mistaken.
Tuesday is IT in Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District. There are two candidates on the primary ballot – Progressive incumbent Tom Cole and Constitutional stalwart RJ Harris. The choice is clear.
Tom Cole is the epitome of all that is wrong in politics and government today. His entire career has been spent in academia and politics. That explains much about Cole’s troubling connections, funding sources, and voting recording. In addition to voting to fund Planned Parenthood, for the TARP bill, and participating in the record spending Congress (up to that point) while Bush was still in office, Cole wrote a direct appeal to the Obama Administration’s Secretary of Transportation in support of the NASCO highway. Such an appeal is a direct endorsement of the Stimulus Bill and open borders. Cole appears to get a lot of funding from outside of Oklahoma and is heavily tied to the Progressive and globalist Aspen Institute. Inside Oklahoma, he has the very helpful support of establishment party officials, particularly in his home county of Cleveland. Finally, his Wikipedia page, updated July 22, 2010, includes a report that his wife recently filed for divorce due to infidelity.
In contrast, RJ Harris is a long time member of the National Guard with two (very soon to be three) active tours of duty, is a devoted husband of eighteen years and father of five. Having personally experienced the effects of an economic downturn and market changes on a business, RJ put his skills as an air traffic controller to work for the FAA and ultimately decided to pursue a career as an attorney. He returned to his home state and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and is working towards the completion of a law degree while still serving in the National Guard as an air traffic control Chief.
I first spoke with RJ in March 2009, when he agree to appear on my radio show. I was immediately impressed with his ability to articulate core principles and provoke thought in a discussion of them. I was also struck by his firm conviction. I was glad to have RJ as a guest on the show on several occasions during that spring and summer.
When contemplating potential interview subjects for the documentary, A New America, RJ was at the top my list. I knew he would provide an articulate answer to any question on core principles I posed. I wasn’t wrong – we ran out of tape interviewing him and while editing, if we wanted a point to be made clearly in Ronald Reagan fashion, we’d go to RJ’s footage.
I have come to know RJ better since that time and even walked through a couple of high stress situations with him. In one instance there are few people who could have kept their cool (I barely did myself), but RJ remained focused, level-headed, and solution oriented. Although he was in the midst of the stress and I was a distance away, in the middle of all, he called to make sure I knew the situation was under control to alleviate my concerns.
Besides going out of his way in his concern for others, I have noticed that RJ always does the right thing. There are few people who have such character and honor in today’s world. In a republic, character is paramount in the people we elect to represent us. Under stress, they must keep their heads and do what is right, even when it is difficult.
Too many people dismiss the importance of Congress members’ votes on the TARP bill or too easily forgotten. It is precisely the kind of high stress situation during which only level-headed, clear thinking men of honor and principle will do the right thing. Members of Congress were called to the White House and told by the Secretary of the Treasury and others that America hung on the edge of total financial collapse, that failure to take drastic measures would likely result in chaos and could ultimately lead to the implementation of martial law.
Who among the Congress withstood that pressure? Who among them stepped out in front of the news cameras stationed outside and reported the high pressure tactics and raised their objections to the barely-veiled threats? Who among them recognized that the system they were being told was on the verge of collapse was the one constructed by government in the first place so even more government tinkering was idiotic?
I believe that RJ has the kind of character, ability to reason under pressure, and courage of conviction that put him on the short list – alone if necessary – in doing what is right. Until we elect more men like him to Congress, we will only continue down the road we’re now moving at warp speed.
Visit RJ Harris website: formerly http://www.rjharris2010.com
Shelli Dawdy is first and foremost the mother of three children whom she has taught at home via the classical method since removing her children from school in 2001. During her early years as a homeschool mother, she worked part-time as a freelance writer. Born and raised in the Iowa, Shelli and her husband moved to the state of South Dakota in 1997, attracted to its more limited government and friendly tax environment. In 2006, Shelli and her family relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska, when her husband’s employer offered a new position. She took a break from work and politics for a time, recognizing the need to focus solely on her childrens’ schooling with two now of high school age. Distressed by many things she was witnessing on the national political scene and disillusioned about the Republican Party, she decided to start writing again, this time online. Motivated to get involved with others at the grassroots level, she networked with activists on the social media tool, Twitter. She was involved in organizing the first tea party rallies inspired by Rick Santelli’s “rant” on CNBC in February 2009. Recognizing that activism should generate on the local level, she founded Grassroots in Nebraska in March of 2009. The group’s mission is a return to Constitutional, limited government, according to its original meaning. While the group has held several tea party rallies, it’s focus is to take effective action. Among its many projects, GiN successfully coordinated testimony for the hearing of the Nebraska Sovereignty Resolution, networked with other groups to ensure a large show of public support at the hearing, and coordinated follow up support to ensure its passage in April 2010. While working to build up GiN throughout 2009, she was asked to work as writer and producer of the documentary film, A New America, which lays out how Progressivism is responsible for how America has moved away from its Constitutional roots. You can see more of her work on Grassroots in Nebraska (GiN) and StubbornFacts