Sunday, January 17, 2010

About today and tomorrow

"We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What with the day being what it is, the national holiday observing Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior's birthday —and tomorrow being what it is, Massachusetts' Special Senate Election Day—I thought the picture might be a nice reminder.

One common theme I've heard from Republican candidates and supporters of late, in this election and others, is that —no matter the flaws of the candidate with the 'R' following his name —a vote for said candidate is a worthy step against the supposedly dreadful prospect of a Democratic Congress. We are told there are dangers involved in a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress —especially with a Democratic President.

It just occurs to me that The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 were both the products of just such a dangerous setting. So was The GI Bill and Social Security, the formation of Medicare and Medicaid and The Fair Housing Act. So was the vote to create a federal minimum wage, guarantee overtime compensation and ban child labor. Each of these pieces of legislation, so important to how we define our nation —as a society and as a citizenry—each and every one of them were signed into law by Democratic Presidents working with Democratic majorities in Congress.

Are these are the sort of dire prospects we face?

Pardon the sarcasm, but the bottom line really does come down to something more than the letter after a candidate's name. It does come down to the substance of positions. I'm not arguing in favor of a vote for Martha Coakley just because of the 'D' following her name on the ballot...

But I don't think it necessarily hurts either.

It's her policies and those of her opponent that matter in the end. An empty pose or two and some arbitrary mix of party affiliations won't stir together the makings of a constructive consensus —not in this state's politics, not in Congress and not around the country.

A little more than that is required.

Anyway, enjoy the day today —actually make the best of both of them, today and tomorrow.

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