Will the Upcoming Election Keep This Country Up?
Polls are reported. The Dems are gaining slim ground. Harry Reid may keep his spot. Remember when Tom Daschle was reduced to knocking on doors and treated like a vacuum cleaner salesman when he sought reelection as Senate Majority Leader? I don't think that Reid has descended to that level and hope he doesn't.
The polls are, of course, reported by hard-working colleagues to keep up our momentum. Would that they were on the mark. Let the charismatic youngsters maintain this momentum and reach the populace.I suggested to one--they persist in soliciting me to make phone calls though I am a writer, not a talker--that what we really need to reach people in the heartland are others they can really relate to. Why not consult sociologists, those or other laypersons familiar with their culture and ways of communication? Can these young, idealistic, hyperactive kids reach them the way they need to be reached?
Can they relate to the misery of people who didn't succeed under one political party and so turn their aspirations toward the other? Do they not understand that change along the lines we are desperate for takes time and that things are turning around despite the push against the middle class and those less fortunate?
How can someone crowded in with understanding relatives or camped out in some wilderness be rational, when they've slid from the American Dream to its inverse? How can they understand the economy, even the high-end ones with advanced degrees, when it hits them so hard their emotions take over?
One energetic youngster I heard speak on NPR, Barack Obama, was most compelling. He asked the public whether we'd prefer to slide down into the sort of ideological administration that ruined the economy in the first place.
Obama, as president, can't forget that they exist and persists in communicating with them and attempting compromise. To a point I can relate to that also, because money, not ideals, rules the roost. Dollars trump votes nine times out of ten. Dollars are traded for votes, votes for dollars.
Howard Zinn (r.i.p.), in his attempt to encompass American history from 1492 up to the present in six hundred-odd pages of small print, points out that the new government comprised our upper class instead of Britain's.It was passed from one to the other as a result of the Revolution. He is compelling. The father of our country was also the richest person in the country. And a mean slaveowner and no advocate for Indian rights. So whose side would the fathers be on today? Hard to say, hard to say.
Some of the opposition candidates are so dumb that they are defeating themselves. Even so, Barney Frank's seat is in jeopardy. Others among today's fathers are as well. Chris Dodds is stepping down. Unsurprisingly, the C is biting him. The sort of unhealthful abuse of physiology that attends the heated, protracted debates at the committee level as well as proposed legislation that's made it to the floor, destroys even thick-skinned brahmins. Not too long ago I researched members of Congress who had ascended to their seats from humble backgrounds and found not many at all.
That is to say, though I'm treading on unstudied ground, that the youth cult that JFK pioneered persists. The strident energy of those innocent of the Capitol Hill swamp but convinced they can clear it out, is compelling. Though "Senate" comes from a root meaning old (senex) and the term originated in ancient Rome, the root also has evolved into another word with less positive connotations than wise--namely, senile. Recall that Arlen Spector, who didn't miss a day of work even and also fighting C, lasted in his role into his eighty-first year, then to be "primaried," hugely, by young Joe Sestak.
Does idealistic youth trump the time-tried badge of experience? I think that if Obama had remained a few more years in the Senate he would have acquired at least some of LBJ's WD-40--the man who changed the course of our destinies so entirely with his JFK-inspired legislation.
How many of us old fogies are around because of that legislation? Is that a positive or negative contribution to the common welfare?