Party Over People
Political posturing: Why can't we all work together?
When did party politics replace working in the best interest of the people you represent? I speak, of course, about Scott Brown, the newly elected Senator from Massachusetts. He is under siege for going against party lines on a recent jobs bill. His Facebook page is being bombarded with comments such as “you turned on us like every other RINO” (Republican–In-Name-Only) and “enjoy your one term as Senator."
Brown is not the only politician that is feeling the heat from constituents. Evan Bayh, the Democratic Senator from Indiana, is so frustrated by party politics that he announced that he was not going to seek another term. I understand the need of having political parties. They’ve been with us since the start, and help identify a candidate’s position on numerous issues, but lately it seems more important to serve the party and not the people.
I admit that there are times when I side with a Republican point of view and there are times when I go with the Democratic point of view. And, I’m not alone. Forty-five percent of ballots cast in Texas in 2006 were along party lines. That means 55 percent of the population made their decision based on the candidate and not which party they affiliated themselves with. Remember the silent majority?
There is an unseemly “us versus them” mentality that has taken over and not just in Washington, but in local politics as well. Consider the race for Texas governor that is taking place. Who is more Republican? Governor Rick Perry, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, or Debra Medina? And even stranger, who is less of a politician? Watching the candidates' advertisements suggests that the less of politician you are, the better governor you’ll be.
I have to wonder what the late Ted Kennedy would have thought of all this. After his death, a colleague in the Senate said Kennedy would fight tooth and nail for what he believed in. He didn’t always get all he wanted, but took what he could and then had a drink and a laugh with his peers from both sides of the aisle afterwards.
Maybe we’re looking at this all wrong. Maybe what we need are more real politicians. People who know how to get things done for the people and not just their political party. They may not win every battle, but nothing about life in America is ever black and white. It’s grey with a “middle of the road” mentality that America needs to find again.