Introducing Ken Harbough for Congress
This past Tuesday, Gina Dwyer, an old rocknrollsisterfriend of mine, invited me to an event. That was unusual. I don’t think she ever invited me to anything ever in the 15 years I’ve known her. There’s no malice in that statement, by the way, that’s just not the nature of our friendship.
So, I go to this thing. She is hosting a night at The Half Mile House (next to Bowery Ballroom on Delancey).
She and I run in some pretty different circles that cross when our Irish Cousins come to town to melt our faces/hearts/whatever with their love-drenched, moving RAWK.
At this event I met friends from high school, neighbors, running partners….
I had no idea who this KEN HARBAUGH guy was.
Ken Harbaugh is a guy about my age and height, kinda a slightly more rustic version of JFK. He is the father of two young daughters and a husband. He is a Veteran. He flew in the Air Force.
Upon retirement from the military industrial complex, Ken started a global disaster relief company of which he is the CEO. It’s called Team Rubicon Global.
Before the election of 2016, Ken, a man of his word, assured his daughters there was no way in hell that cheetoh would be president. The next morning he woke them to tell them that for the first time in their lives he had lied to them.
Within six months, he was running for congress in Canton, Ohio, an essential district in that all so important swing state.
At this event, I heard a man who was not perfect, not exactly aligned with my worldview,
After some drinks and snacks and people meeting one another, Ken spoke. He introduced himself. Then asked for questions. Mine was the first one, I said something to the effect of: Ok, I hear you when you say that your district has the highest death rate of mortalities from the opioid addiction epidemic in the country, more than New York, more than LA. I hear that your coroners are so overwhelmed with the death toll that they need to rent storage lockers to keep the bodies on ice til they can get to them. That suffering is real. And needs to be addressed. I believe that addiction is a problem of the soul. It is not something to be criminalized and stigmatized. I want the best for your 99.8% white district. And, when we begin to address that in strong, pragmatic loving way, we also need to consider what reparations we as a nation owe our black and brown brothers and sisters whose lives have been stolen by the criminal justice (ha) system. The families who have been torn apart. The daughters who never knew their fathers. Their partners who had to slave at crappy jobs to support the next generation.
He listened and is working on an answer. That’s as best as he could do at that time.
By the end he was asking for more softball questions. Some dingdong brought up the farcical distraction of North Korea.
A radiant young black man who was actually from this district in Ohio who lives in New York asked about jobs. Ken said he wanted to focus on infrastructure. I agree. I asked what Ohio’s water source was and would he not be investing time, labor and money into creating sustainable energy infrastructure with things like solar and hydro-electric power. He said yes. And needs to develop this answer.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Please consider taking a gander at the guy’s website. This country was built on the ideals of a bunch of slave owners/rapists in short pants and wigs. Let’s flip the script and acknowledge that it has been built on the backs of African slaves stolen by the Dutch East India Trading company and the like. Those dudes had time to stick a fucking quill into ink and write those lofty words because STRONG women bore their children, wiped their asses, fed them, listened to them whine and pontificate.
And I’m off the auld soap box. Peace, Peace, Peace.
Back to the podium. One of the numerous memorable and striking things that Ken said was that he had been to disasters, refugee camps, “natural/manmade” disasters all over our planet. AND, when he and his team got to PUERTO RICO, our COLONY, that has NO VOTE, NO SAY, in our NATIONAL politics, it was the worst. Worse than a Syrian refugee camp. Why? Because NOTHING HAD BEEN DONE. Usually, he and his soldiers, Vets trained to do relief work, show up and support the systems of relief that have already been established by the establishment. Not in Puerto Rico. Fuck all had been done. When they expected to be delivering supplies and building temporary infrastrure? They had to clear roads. Chain saws. Basic, basic stuff. Stuff FEMA shoulda been at weeks ago. While the cheeto was throwing paper towels at people with no power or water, he should have been getting shit going on. But no. He wants those people to die. He wants to clear land and make way for his golf resorts and whatever EXPLOITIVE BULLSHIT that can pull on the Indigenous people of Puerto Rico.
I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what he said. This breaks my heart. We have failed Puerto Rico. Failed. My friend’s daughter in a village inland STILL doesn’t have power. I’ve given her a few hundred dollars, and those dollars bought water. WATER.