At Meet in the Middle for America, we want to highlight politicians and provocateurs whose focus isn’t on collaborating to get the best version of America.
What is the best version of America? I don’t know.
But it includes working together, compromise, and making decisions with good intentions, not harassing victims’ families or survivors of mass shootings because you think they’re red-flag operatives.
All Americans should feel safe. All Americans should have the freedom to be themselves, have their own beliefs, and make their own decisions, but those principles don’t mean someone can be an asshole.
I believe we get the best version of our country with collaboration, a little bit of this party, a little bit of that party, and if something works, we keep it; if it doesn’t, we keep improving.
With that said, politicians and media outlets are behaving with an increasingly zero-sum attitude, stoking the fires they think they’re putting out that their opponents created. Zero-sum politics has real-life consequences and ensures we won’t find common ground.
And while I realize writing a scathing article calling out a politician might contradict some of my previous statements, some politicians embody this zero-sum attitude, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t bring attention to them.
Unfortunately, my home state of Florida’s 1st congressional district’s U.S representative Matt Gaetz is one of those politicians who not only embodies a zero-sum attitude but is dangerous for America. And not in the overused, over-dramatic, “politically dangerous” kind of way. I’m talking about the Oxford dictionary definition of dangerous.
He seems to have chosen to promote and act with troublesome people, behaviors, and ideologies that only feed his self-interest.
Let’s take a closer look at Mr. Gaetz’s background, record, and whether he acts in a manner that upholds his oath as an elected federal official.
Matt Gaetz Background and Rise
Matthew Louis Gaetz II was born in Hollywood, Florida, in 1982 to prominent Florida politician and businessman Don Gaetz and wife Victoria, a former pharmacist and advocate against animal cruelty. Gaetz graduated from Florida State University in 2003, William & Mary Law School in 2007, and was sworn into the Florida Bar in 2008.
After working at the law firm Keefe, Anchors, & Gordon for two years, Matt entered a special election for the seat representing the 4th district in Florida’s House of Representatives. Gaetz was able to win both the Republican primary and special general election handily with the help of almost 50 times more in contributions than his opponents. After running unopposed for the remainder of his first and second terms, he announced his intention to run for his father’s position in the Florida Senate in 2016. Following his third term, which he again won unopposed, Matt Gaetz withdrew from his initial plan in order to run for a U.S House seat representing “Florida’s most Republican congressional district” after its incumbent announced he would not seek re-election 11 days earlier. Following his close win in the Republican primary, Matt breezed past his Democratic opponent in the general election with 69% of the vote, becoming the seventh representative of Florida’s 1st district since 1933.
Controversial Associations and Behaviors
Matt Gaetz originally became a prominent figure in national news as one of Donald Trump’s first (and loudest) unwavering political allies.
And while this is how Matt Gaetz first garnered national media attention, it’s not the first time he has shown a lack of both decency and sound judgment.
In 2008, Gaetz was arrested for driving while intoxicated on his way home from a nightclub. The charges were later dropped with the help of the law firm he worked for at the time. He also received 16 speeding tickets between 1999 and 2014.
Following the trial of George Zimmerman, a biracial Hispanic White man who killed Trayvon Martin (a black teenager) in 2012, Matt Gaetz vehemently defended Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law;” the self-defense argument George Zimmerman’s lawyers used to secure an acquittal verdict despite eyewitnesses giving different accounts from Zimmerman’s. It’s also important to note that multiple studies have found “stand-your-ground laws to be racially biased towards minorities in recent years.
Matt Gaetz is not known as a champion for all people. He has landed in hot water for several comments he’s made over the years towards non-white people. He has suggested two black state government colleagues didn’t know how to read or write, exclaimed “illegal immigrants are sucking us dry,” and defended Trump’s infamous “shithole” description of Haiti. Gaetz has drawn further criticism for his far-right affiliations, bringing Chuck Johnson with him to attend a 2018 state of the union address. Gaetz also hired a former Trump aide who was fired due to having strong ties with a white supremacist group.
Close political allies like Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Green are also a concern. Especially with the latter being stripped of key posts due to her promotion of QAnon conspiracy theories, claims that mass shootings and 9/11 were staged, and other brazen behaviors.
Matt was also criticized when it was revealed that he had raised campaign funds for his 2016 race by selling real estate to a company owned by his father, Don, where Matt was listed as an executive during the time of the sales. This is a shady but legal practice.
He also tried to eject the father of a Parkland shooting victim from a hearing, which you can watch here.
Recently, Matt Gaetz was on a short-lived “American First Tour” earlier this year with Marjorie Taylor Green. He currently launched a podcast while simultaneously being investigated by the Justice Department over whether or not he violated federal sex trafficking laws for allegedly inducing a 17 year old girl to travel over state lines to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money or something of value. The investigation is ongoing.
No matter what your party affiliation is, you have to ask yourself, has Matt Gaetz earned the privilege to represent me?
Personally, as an independent, I don’t think so. I would like to hear your opinion in the comments below.
MITM is a politically active organization who wants to see a better candidate replace Matt Gaetz. You can use ActBlue to make a donation to help us expel Matt Gaetz and the Seditious Six from government. Click here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/meet-in-the-middle-for-america-1
You can converse with Justin in the comments section below or follow him on Twitter @justingil27. Visit his website at https://justintodoingreallycoolstuff.com.