Posts Tagged ‘Senate’
“The character of our country.” With those words the final line on the health care debate was drawn in the sand by President Barack Obama at a raucous, campaign-style rally on the Friday before history would be decided.
After over a year of heated debate, after over a year of enduring every dirty trick in the book thrown his way by a desperate opposition trying to frame health care reform as a vehicle to socialism, bankruptcy, or worse, Barack Obama rekindled the fire that launched him to the highest office in the land and captivated the entire globe in the process. Yes, the Barack Obama that made millions of disillusioned Americans stand up and believe in “Yes We Can” again was back, front and center!
For a man with a slight frame and narrow shoulders, he proved without a doubt that what you see can be quite deceiving. On this day he heaved the Democratic party, and a nation spiraling to disaster, right up onto his back and proved that his sinewy limbs may very well be able to tote the load right across the finish line to a victory of historic proportions.
The character of our country, that is what is being decided Sunday for the world to see. I’m reminded of a powerful scene in the movie A Few Good Men. Two Marines were on trial for following a “Code Red” hazing order from a superior officer that left one of their fellow, weaker Marines dead. When all was said and done and it was proven that the two were following a direct order, a basic principle they were trained to adhere to without hesitation or question, they were still charged with conduct unbecoming and discharged from their service. Baffled, one of the Marines turned to the other and asked why they were still being discharged, it had just been proven that they were simply following orders, just as they were supposed to. The other Marine thought about it and said, “we didn’t do what a Marine is supposed to do, we didn’t stand up for the little guy.”
That is, and always must be, the character of our nation. That is the code our selfless men and women in uniform embody. That is the code of our American character, the character that leads us to fight tyranny and oppression wherever it is found, be it on our own home soil or far away lands. That is the character of our American ideals and it is what makes us the beacon of hope the world turns to for guidance and support in trying times and the example by deed we hope they will follow. That is the character that every legislator granted the privilege to carry our voice to the halls of power must always strive to adhere to.
The opposition to health care reform is a formidable force. They use their constitutional right of free speech to give an amplified voice to despicable vermin like Rush Limbaugh, a man so pitiful he used his pulpit to denigrate an eleven year old boy that chose to take up the banner of his now-dead-mother and carry her voice to the battle at hand.
Or another blight on humanity like Glenn Beck, a disgusting man that uses his soap box to preach the same kind of wretched fundamentalism that culminated in four ghastly fireballs exploding into our collective consciousness on September 11th 2001. What noble purpose can he possibly hope to serve by waving around the swastika of Nazism, or the hammer and sickle of Communism, symbols that still instill nothing more than fear and hatred? What kind of person uses the imagery of tyranny and oppression as the tools of progress other than those our collective American character has always chosen to fight against, and defeated, time and time again?
That is not the imagery we need to paint, it does not speak to our character and it certainly doesn’t speak to the very real suffering that millions of hard working American families are enduring each and every day, with their legions growing by the minute . If you want imagery to encapsulate the true magnitude of the choice before us, imagine the coffins of those that could have been saved, imagine their grieving families putting those coffins in the ground, torn apart by the anguish of losing a loved one. Imagine the family that’s living in their car because they chose to save their child instead of keeping their home. Now imagine if it was your own family bearing that cross. Now that would be more appropriate imagery.
So today I ask every legislator with our future in their hands to ask themselves the real underlying question and look past the theatrics and chicanery meant to befuddle and confuse, to look past the flawed logic that is being trumpeted from the mountaintops to cause paralyzing fear. I ask them and every American to look at this vote and choose if they are willing to strengthen the character of our great land, or unravel it. I ask every legislator not to look at the future though the lens of their own career, but through the lens of little guy that needs their help. I ask them to show the strength and courage it takes to fight for what’s right, and the fortitude and resolve to see it through to the finish.
The character of our county is at stake right now. There are not many alive today that were around when this fight started. Will our children and theirs perish before we show the true colors of our character and do what’s right? Or will we help our President tote this mighty load across the finish line as early as tomorrow and start a new chapter in the history books?
Yes, the character of our country, that is the question at hand.
The state of our union is strong.
Ever since George Washington declared the “favorable prospects of our public affairs” in 1790, every president since has taken great care in giving us comfort by expressing to the nation that all is well. Even during some of our most miserable times, like the Great Depression, or the Vietnam War, the annual address to the nation has always been painted with the brush of optimism and I’m sure that legacy will continue tonight when Barack Obama makes his pitch to the American people about where we are and where we should be trying to go. But, the sad truth is that our collective future is being held hostage by legislators that seem to have forgotten what their true duties really are, they have forgotten what their commitment and service to the American people should entail and I hope that tonight, somehow, they will be taken to task in a most public and embarrassing way, but it would only be just if this particular tongue lashing was a very bipartisan one because the fault does not lie squarely on any one side.
Just one short year ago, Barack Obama rode into the White House with a clear mandate from the American people to bring change to the long broken culture of Washington and with our precious votes we hoped that we, at long last, found a man that would finally be able to start reining in the power of deep-pocketed special interests and any other obstructionists to our prosperity wherever they were found. It pains me greatly to say it, but if we were a monarchy, or even worse, an iron-fisted dictatorship, one man may just have been able to do that job, but we are not. We are a free thinking, free speaking and free living democratic society that have entrusted our future to a chosen few. We embrace a democracy that was founded on the vision that the voice of the people would be heard above all else and that collectively we would lead our nation to great heights by choosing and voting only those into power that would represent our voice and that through that power of democracy we would choose and empower great individuals that would spend every breath striving to see the vision that we want as a people become realized. What we seem to have instead is a bunch of selfish egomaniacs that only serve one ambition, self preservation.
Sadly, at this crucial moment in our nation’s history, we are letting them get away with it by means of the far too prevalent flaw that is the bane of the modern era, complacency. When did we become a nation so fixated on partisan politics that we forgot the true, noble agendas that formed our parties to begin with? When did our voices become so weak that we no longer follow the moral compass that allowed us to become the greatest and most advanced nation on earth? I am disgusted with partisan politics that take into account nothing more than individual agendas, where scoring points for party instead of for country is an accepted mode of governing.
When Barack Obama exploded onto the national stage with his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he did it by rekindling the patriotic fire that makes us proud Americans. He did it by illuminating the dangerous mockery that the battle of red vs blue has become, he did it by speaking in grander terms than party lines, he did it by connecting to our mutual ambitions, he did it by making us remember that the future we want to create for the generations to follow will not be forged by endless bickering over comparatively small idealistic issues that have long divided us along a partisan line, but by finally stepping over that line to meet the common aspirations we all share, regardless of party affiliations.
Partisan politics is quickly becoming a grotesque abomination of the mechanism it was intended to be and it has and will continue to cost us all dearly if we keep sitting on the sidelines waiting for any of these Grand Poobas to risk their own political neck in even the most miniscule way. How dare the Republican caucus approach our president with a preconceived idea to repel any legislation before it is even reasonably discussed for fear that it would show party weakness to do otherwise, even if it would benefit the American people that have done their fair share of suffering under the current unsustainable trajectory that we have been on for too long already. To me, that borders on treason and should be dealt with by severe means in kind . By the same token, how dare any Democrat tuck their tail on Health Care Reform because it is harder to pass without a filibuster proof majority, or to threaten to scrap the whole thing because even a single component is not to their liking. That is not how change happens people and it is time we hold them all accountable for their dereliction of their duty to us.
Barack Obama had a 70% approval rating from the American people when he was sworn into office and it was no mystery that Health Care Reform was one of his main priorities, so why should we be punished for the failure of congress to legislate our wishes? Why should the many Americans that pays for our future with their own blood, sweat, and tears expect any less from those in the halls of power? If their seat is sacrificed because they stood on principle and not on the party line, they should sacrifice it gladly if they are truly worthy of their position.
I for one would not be saddened if we would finally remove the little Ds and Rs from everyone’s name on a ballot and make it more about the people’s wishes than the idealism of a particular party. I also would not be at all opposed to limiting congressional terms to the same 8 year limit imposed on our president, maybe then every decision would not be made through the lens of career-oriented, selfish political swordsmanship.
I know this, the majority of America will agree with Barack Obama tonight on a very personal level because he will rise to the occasion once again and vocalize our collective dreams and aspirations. He will touch on the same hopes that made the whole world swoon during his historic election and forced even politicians in other countries to change tact because they saw how receptive their own people where to his global message of hope and they heard the grumbling from their own constituents about not having their own Obama-like leader to take the wheel. But, when the speech is done and the lights are turned off, it will be up to us to hold accountable those that have the true power to make those dreams realities, those that have been granted the privilege to represent US, not themselves or their own best interests.
For any hope of progress, I think it is high time we realized that our country must be governed from the center, not the far left or far right. To try to do it any other way will just propagate the stifling gridlock we have come to know all too well and we will never even catch a whiff of the change we so loudly clamored for in 2008. Our failure to hold the House and Senate accountable for their inaction at this defining moment in our history will bring about nothing but more of the same in the end.
So tonight, listen with your heart as well as your head and if you agree in part, or in whole, with the direction and agenda that will be laid before you, make your voices heard to those that you put in position to represent you. Make it your own mission to hold them accountable to get the American gravy train back onto the track it was always meant to be on. “I must do something” always accomplishes more than “something must be done” and if our legislators in congress are not getting it done, it is up to each and every one of us to make their lives a miserable living hell until they do. Silence can not be an option.
The greatest thing about our nation is that even in the most dire times, even in the face of the greatest adversities, the one thing that we can always count on is the fact that the state of our “union” will always be strong. It is only the state of our partisan “disunion” that could ever threaten to unravel it and that is something that no American should ever stand for.