Michigan's Republican Senate candidate John James launched a rhetorical nuclear attack on far-left partisanship on Wednesday. James did so with this tweet response to Michigan liberal activist Abdul El-Sayed (a Bernie Sanders-type candidate who lost the state's gubernatorial primary).
I'm a West Point grad & Iraq vet w/ 2 masters— John James (@JohnJamesMI) October 9, 2018
My dad: Vietnam vet & entrepreneur
His dad: mason
His dad: sharecropper
His dad: slave.
Mooching? My family never asked for free stuff, just a fair shot. We can't allow the American Dream to be crushed by you, @Stabenow & Socialism https://t.co/u2vl4orM1P
There's a lot in that tweet that makes it so powerful, but let's consider the key elements. First off, James uses one line to evidence intellectual patriotism. As a young man, James chose to attend a military academy rather than civilian college. He then went on to serve the nation in Iraq. But James' pride at holding two masters degrees is well-deserved. After all, it evidences someone who cares about making himself, and thus his community, better. And in the context of El-Sayed's silly partisanship, the power of education takes on added value as a better foundation for civic engagement.
But then comes James' representation of family and history. He speaks of his father's service in Vietnam in an era in which racism remained a far more significant problem in American life than it is today. But more than that, James speaks to the great American tradition of social mobility. Today, James is a candidate for Senate who earned that privilege by defeating other GOP primary contestants. James is also a successful businessman and rightly proud of that. But James also proves that American society is never static. James' grandfather was a mason, his great-grandfather a sharecropper, and his great-great-grandfather was a slave.
Think on that. Think on the fact that James doesn't revel in the horror of what his ancestors faced but rather chooses to honor them by his own success. And just as James honors his ancestors with his better life and pursuit of a better nation, he honors America for its ability to improve. He loves America for what it has become: still flawed, but a place of freedom for all.
Then comes the final rallying cry. A candidate for office and a student of history, James recognizes that socialism has never worked, and though often well-intentioned, makes lives worse rather than better — and he's unashamed to say so.
Whatever happens in the midterm elections, let's hope that James stays in political life.