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Et tu, Joe?

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Headlined to H3 11/1/09
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In the form of an open letter to Senator Joe Lieberman:

Joe, have you no shame? We were friends in the 1970s, when both of us were young progressives determined to make the world a better place. We gave out literature for Cesar Chavez's United Farmworkers Union in New Haven. We worked together on behalf of the State of Israel, improved race relations, gave help for the poor, strengthened labor unions -- you name the cause, Joe, and we were there!

I'm still there, Joe, but you're long gone. The beginning of the end of your principles came when my dear friend Patricia Hendel wanted to run for Secretary of the State of Connecticut at the same time that you were running for Connecticut's Attorney General. You decided that two Jews on the State ticket would be one too many, and when Pat Hendel would not just drop out of the race quietly, you got then-Governor Bill O'Neill to pressure her out, in his inimitable fashion. That was the end of Pat's political career.

But you, Joe, went on to spring from Attorney General into the United States Senate. Along the way you enthusiastically took scads of campaign money from the very forces you had once repudiated: big corporations and institutions blocking progress in America. Your positions in the Senate became less and less liberal and progressive and more and more right-wing. You, of course, said you had become a centrist, whatever that means.

Passing over the disastrous run you made as Al Gore's vice presidential candidate in 2000, and how you failed to support Al when the Florida election was rigged for Bush, let's move on to your most recent Senate race. Since Connecticut's Democratic Party could no longer stomach your phony representation of Connecticut's Democrats, you ran as an independent -- and, perhaps surprisingly, won the race against a weak Democratic candidate. You made clear at the time that, although you were now an independent, you would be part of the Democratic Senate Caucus, which allowed you to retain the Senate posts you had acquired by dint of seniority and dutiful sucking up to Senate leadership.

And then, just as the "public option" has resurfaced in a belated attempt to provide decent health care for all Americans via the U.S. Congress, you very publicly and loudly proclaim that you cannot possibly support any health care bill which has a public option as that might lead to a government takeover of health care. Thus, you undercut your old party once again, taking the shameful course of sabotaging really-better healthcare for all.

Julius Caesar, as he was being stabbed by his dear friend Brutus, said, according to Shakespeare, "Et tu, Brute?" All of us who still stand for progressive causes and human decency can only say, "Et tu, Joe?"


Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of Pownal, (more...)
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