Friday, December 23, 2011
The whole Healthcare Reform debate back in 2009-10 at least from the Democratic Party and our Leadership. Was about how do we expand Health Insurance for people who currently. For whatever reasons can't afford Health Insurance or paying for their share of their Healthcare right now. And I would add what's called Health Savings Accounts to that which is know is a Republican Policy that came out. During the Healthcare Reform Debate of 1993-94. But its actually a good idea and I acknowledge good ideas whenever I hear them from whoever they come from. This whole debate is about how do we make Healthcare more affordable for the people who currently can't afford it. And there were ideas that were thrown out and some of them were in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. That Congress finally passed and was signed by President Obama. Like the Public Option which at least in the Democratic House bill passed in November 2009. Which would create a new Independent Non Profit Health Insurer that people who currently can't afford Health Insurance. Could select along with people who currently have Health Insurance could select as well. There was the Healthcare Tax Credit for people who can't afford to cover their Healthcare right now. That they could use to pay for the Public Option or to purchase Private Health Insurance which is a big part of the ACA. And I believe the best part of the 2010 ACA was the Patients Bill of Rights to eliminate and punish the abuses of the Private Health Insurance Industry.
And of course there were the Single Payer Health Insurance Medicare For All supporters. Pushed by the the Progressive Caucus and their allies in the Democratic Party. And Progressives outside of the Democratic Party pushing for that. But I'm going to make an argument thats explains why I'm against Single Payer Health Insurance. But also argue why I believe in a Public Option for Health Insurance but at the same time explain. Why a Public Option would also benefit Progressive Socialists who got this idea lets put all of our eggs in one basket. And if we strike out so be it at least we fought for what we believe in, unintentionally. Because I don't like the idea as a liberal from an Individual Liberty Point of View of government forcing everyone to purchase Medicare and not giving us a choice. I don't like it politically but its also bad economics. But with a Public Option whether we create a new Independent Non Profit Health Insurer thats not run by government. Or we allow people to buy into Medicare, we still keep Freedom of Choice in Healthcare and Health Insurance. Two of the most important things why we need Freedom of Choice. And lets the American People decide for themselves how to pay for their own Healthcare.
A Public Option would serve as a wake up call to Private For Profit Health Insurers, that you either get your act together. Or the market is going to throw you out of business with the customers you would lose as a result. And Progressives would get what they've always wanted in the First Place. An elimination of the For Profit Health Insurance Industry but at the same time leaving in place what liberals, Classical Conservatives and libertarians have always wanted. Which is Freedom of Choice in Healthcare and Health Insurance and let the people make these personal decisions for themselves.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
If we as a country would just address so called "You at Risk" while they are acting out in High School and so fourth. Perhaps considering dropping out of High School, skipping class, hanging out with the wrong crowds and so fourth. As well as addressing the so called wrong crowds, then we can prevent them from going to prison in the first place. We could get to them before they make even bigger mistakes in the future, jacking cars, selling drugs, Armed Robbery's, raping girls whatever the case may be. Get to them, turn them around before, make sure they stay in school, finish school and get a good education. So they are on course to have an opportunity to have a productive life legally and stay out of the Criminal Justice System the rest of their lives. Because they would understand that they don't need to steal, beat people up, get in fights etc. And realize that if they just got educated, work hard and be productive in life. That they can avoid becoming criminals as adults. And this is what San Quentin Prison in California and other Prisons in the country are doing right now. Using their inmates people as a society we weren't able to get to before it was too late. Before they made some of the awful mistakes that they've made in society and why they are in prison today.
Some of them are lifers some of them Convicted Murderers are now getting the opportunity to give back to society. A society they've illegally taken so much from in their lives and helping to reach again "At Rick Youth" before they make the same mistakes that they've made. Which is what we should be doing to prevent crime in the future. But also a way to rehabilitate the inmates even lifers so they can actually do something productive with their long sentences. By teaching people not to make the same mistakes that they made that gave them a Life Sentence in Prison but more importantly. For the inmates who aren't doing Life Sentences which is the overwhelmingly majority of out Prison Inmates. To give the opportunity to turn their lives around in prison so they don't have to come back to prison in the future. Helping At Risk Youth is just one aspect of Prison Rehabilitation. We should be doing a better job at addressing our Juvenile Inmates and make sure that they are going to school, getting educated, counseling and being productive there. So they can be returned to High School and not have to end up back in Juvenile Hall. Or worse going to Adult Prisons in the future.
Helping At Risk Youth by sending them to prison so to speak, to talk to Prison Inmates so they can talk to them. About making the same mistakes that they made in the future. Is not the only thing we should be doing when it comes to Prison Rehabilitation, because this is about Crime Prevention. And we also have to address rehabilitating the Prison Inmates we have in prison. But is definitely something we should be doing to prevent crime in the future.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I support both Freedom of Religion and Separation of Church and State, I've always had and I always will. Religion to me is about Freedom of Choice, whether to practice and believe in religion or not. Which is one reason why I"m insulted when fundamentalists attack atheists for not being believers and when atheists attack People of Faith for having Faith in Religion. In a Liberal Democracy like America people have the Freedom of Choice to make these decisions for themselves. I even support Religious Organizations and other Private Non Profits getting involved in Community Service helping people in need. Even getting grants for that as long as that money is not used to try to convert people or get them to believe in their Religious Message. But just to help them get shelter, food to eat, help finding a job, Healthcare things people need to survive. Especially when they are in need, out of work, lost their home, can't afford enough food to eat etc. We've tried the New Deal approach in the 1930s and the Great Society approach in the 1960s. Where you create all of these Federal Social Insurance Programs to help people in need. But those programs for the most part were design to help sustain people but while they still live in poverty. Rather then helping these people get the tools that they need to help them get out of poverty.
Things like Unemployment Insurance, Welfare Insurance, Public Housing, Food Assistance and others. Were designed to help sustain people while they lived in poverty. Instead of designing these programs to help people in need get themselves out of poverty. That changed to a certain extent in 1996 when Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the Welfare to Work Act. That limited how long people can collect Welfare Insurance and helped them get Job Training and find a job. The good news in the War on Poverty is what's going on in the Private Sector with Non Profit Community Services. That helps homeless people find homes, Unemployed Workers get jobs. Low Income students get scholarships to go to college, people without enough food to eat get enough food. Because Federal Food Assistance doesn't pay for enough food. This is what we should be doing in the War on Poverty, actually try to win this war that was declared in 1965. By helping people get out of poverty so they no longer have to collect from Public Assistance Public or Private. And don't have to stay on Public Assistance as long and we would be able to serve more people in need.
One thing that we can do in the War on Poverty. Is cut the tape in it and get government out of the way as far as running these programs. Turn them over to the States for them to set up their own Public Assistance Systems. But them convert these programs into Semi Private Non Profit Self Financed Community Services. That would be regulated by the Federal, State and Local Governments just not run by them.
Monday, December 19, 2011
With America being in the middle of the Holiday Season with Christmas coming, Hunger in America. Which is just a part of Poverty in America should get even more attention then it normally does. I would argue a lot more attention that it normally does, because the problems become even more relevant for people. Especially as the weather gets cold, for people to find enough food to eat and feed their families. And with all the Budget Cuts on Food Assistance and other Poverty Assistance in America. Even with the economy improving, there isn't a better time then now that we try to address Hunger in America and the broader issues of Poverty in America. What we can do as a country to help people that need Food Assistance in order to avoid starving in America. Especially with rising Food Prices but also what we can do to help these people help themselves so they would no longer need Food Assistance in the future. All things that we can be doing as a country even in these tough economic and budget times. By simply how we reform how we address these issues in the future by doing them smarter and better. Not by empowering the Federal Government or any other Level of Government to deal with these issues. But by empowering Community Services that are on the ground. That wouldn't have to ask Washington for permission in order to conduct basic operations in their organization.
What I would like to do is take all of the Anti Poverty Assistance Programs that were set up by the Federal Government. Run by the Federal Government or just directed by the Federal Government. For the State and Local Governments to operate and get stuck with the bills. What I would like to do is take all of these Federal Programs and get them off of the Federal Budget. Not to pass them off to the State and Local Governments but convert them into Semi Private Non Profit Self Financed Community Services. That would be in the business of serving people in need. Like with Food Assistance, Public Housing, Welfare to Work, Unemployment Assistance, Job Training for Low Income workers. So they can get a better job and not be stuck working dead end jobs their whole lives but have an opportunity. To move up and get a better job and move to the Middle Class. Transform Food Assistance to not just Food Credit but they would operate Grocery Centers all over the country. Especially in Low Income areas where there are a lot of people in need of Food Assistance. Where they can buy grocery's but also get meals at Discounted Prices. Where individuals and restaurants could also donate grocery's to these places. Volunteer to work at them so these centers can provide enough food for the people who need it.
During the Holiday Season and really any time is not a time when we should be cutting Public Assistance in America. Especially in tough economic times, which is one reason why I want to get these programs off Government Budgets. Put them in the Private Sector, expand our Non Profit Community Service Sector in America. To not only help people who are in need but also help these people so they are no longer in need and become Self Sufficient.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Today I'm a little disappointed in Sen. Ron Wyden Member of the Finance Committee. Who generally I agree with and who's one of the strongest Liberal Democrats in Congress. For going along with Rep. Paul Ryan Chairman of the Budget Committee as well as a Member of the Ways and Means Committee. I'm not disappointed in Sen. Wyden in working with Rep. Ryan, I'm all for Bi Partisanship if it can produce a better Final Product. That can't be produced in any other way, I'm disappointed in what they've come up with. In Reforming Medicare which is basically turing Medicare into a Voucher System. Which is what the Ryan Plan that was produced back in April does, what happened to Freedom of Choice in Health Insurance. What if Senior Citizens actually like Medicare and want to stay on it, shouldn't they have that choice if they want. The Ryan well I guess now the Ryan-Wyden Plan would force Seniors into the Private Sector to purchase their own Health Insurance. With a Medicare Voucher to partially pay for it and that another key, the Voucher wouldn't cover all the Health Insurance costs. I'm all for allowing Senior Citizens to decide for themselves where they get their Health Insurance from. As part of Reforming Medicare, thats what Freedom of Choice is about.
Let people decide for themselves where they get their Health Insurance. But what I'm not for is limiting Freedom of Choice in Health Insurance and other areas. Which is what the Ryan-Wyden Plan does by forcing people off of Medicare and into the Private Sector. This is one reason why I want Medicare to be Independent of the Federal Government. So Congress and the Administration can't mess with it and apply bonehead ideas to it. I would turn it over to the States not to be run by them but for them to set up their own Healthcare Systems. Let each State have their own Medicare System that would be a Semi Private Non Profit Self Financed Health Insurer. That would cover any Senior Citizen that would want it, as well as non Senior Citizens that would want it as well. By having them pay into it like they would pay for Private Health Insurance. I would even continue to allow for High Earners to be covered by Medicare, Senior Citizens and non Senior Citizens. They would just pay more for their coverage.
Let Senior Citizens as well as non Senior Citizens decide for themselves. In whether to be covered by Medicare or not, give them the Freedom of Choice to make these personal decisions for themselves. Do they want to be covered by Medicare or do they want to be covered by other Health Insurance. Instead of forcing them off of Medicare and forcing them to purchase other Health Insurance whether they want to or not. And whether they are happy with Medicare or not.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Forcing families out of Public Housing because one Family Member gets into trouble with the Law Enforcement. Is wrong or forcing them to do to Public Service because they receive Tax Payer Subsidies. When we don't force other people who receive Tax Payer Subsidies that have more resources to do so is wrong to. But we do need to Reform Public Housing in America and stop forcing Public Housing Residents to live in in ghettos and other Run Down Neighborhoods. With the High Crime, bad schools, High Poverty everything else, which is how the Public Housing System was designed in the 1960s. Of course by the Federal Government as part of the Great Society which was designed to prevent homelessness. But even though it was part of the "War on Poverty", there wasn't much in there to help Low Income people in Public Housing at least. To get out of poverty and move up to the Middle Class and be Self Sufficient. The idea was to send all of the people who were in danger of being homeless to Public Housing. In very bad neighborhoods, with High Crime, Poverty, bad schools not much help of getting out of poverty. Without out many possibilities for getting a good job especially for a lot of these residents who don't have much of an education to begin with. And then people why we have Generations of Poverty in America or as Pat Moynahan called Cycle of Poverty. Because we've confine so many Low Income people in America to these rough neighborhoods with out much hope for a future. And haven't done a whole lot to help out of that environment.
What I would do with Public Housing in America is what I would do with a lot of the American Safety Net. Is similar to how I would approach Homelessness in America. Take it off the budget of the Federal, State and Local Governments. Convert them over to the State and Locals. And into Semi Private Non Profit Self Financed Community Services. Homeless people could stay in what I would call Housing Centers not Homeless Shelters. That people would stay while they are getting help looking for a Full Time place to stay and getting a job. So they can have their own home and not have to live in Public Housing. And I would do the same thing for people in Public Housing helping them get a better life. Through going back to school, Community College, Job Training, Job Placement. Public Housing could be financed through the rent of their residents. As well as the Employers of Low Income Workers living in Public Housing, people who are unemployed would get their Public Housing through Public Assistance. While they are getting help getting a good job through Education, Job Training and Job Placement and they would be able to leave Public Housing. Housing Centers could be financed through the Public Assistance that their clients would receive and the work that they do for the Housing Center.
There people who complain about Poverty in America all the time, that we are the richest country in the World. Yet we have some many people Living in Poverty but when it comes to ideas. About how to address Poverty in America, all they can offer up are ways to help sustain people who Live in Poverty. And when their ideas proposed or laws created to address Poverty in America that actually helps people get out of Poverty. They oppose them, like the 1996 Welfare to Work Law that had Bi Partisan support in Congress that was signed by President Clinton. This is a plan to help move people out of poverty not just sustain them while in poverty.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
When President Clinton came to office in 1993, he had the opportunity to appoint two Supreme Court Justices within eighteen months. Similar to President Obama in 2009-10 both Presidents having significant majorities in the Senate. Which gave President Clinton a lot of leeway in who he could appoint as long as he appointed someone who was clearly qualified. To not get into trouble with Senate Democrats or attempt Senate Republicans to block a Supreme Court Nominee. Even though they were in the minority and I believe it was Justice Harry Blackmon who was resigning from the Supreme Court. When President Clinton appointed US Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg to replace Justice Blackmon. Judge Ginberg was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 or 80 to the US Appeals Court. And she even had the support of Conservative Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Senate Republicans didn't try to block her. And Justice Ginsberg has been one Supreme Court Nominee that the President knew what they were getting when they appointed. Unlike President George HW Bush who when he appointed Judge David Souter in 1990. Was probably looking for a conservative and got a liberal instead, which is why he probably appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. In 1991 to make up for the Souter Appointment that cost him support with the Republican Party. Justice Thomas is probably the most Conservative Justice on the Supreme Court, so that appointment for President Bush has paid off. And he got that appointment through a Democratic Senate in 1991.
President Clinton wanted two Liberal Democrats and a women appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 and 1994. And thats exactly what he got in Stephen Breyer and Ruth Ginsberg. They are the two most Liberal Justices on the Court right now, the jury is still out on Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan. Justice Ginsberg has a long record of fighting for Equality in the Workplace for women going back to the 1950s and 1970s. Leading up to her Appointment by President Carter in 1979-80 and had a solid Liberal Record there. Which led to her Appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993. Who even had the support of Sen. Hatch at the time the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee. She's had a very good Liberal Record on the Supreme Court as well and has been a very reliable Liberal Vote as well. But now that she's in her 80s and with a Democratic President. Its time for her to think about stepping down as the Liberal Magazine The New Republic argued just a few months ago. So President Obama can replace her with a Liberal instead of waiting until she's not up for the job anymore. And having to step down when there's a Republican President, which could happen by 2013. Not likely with an improving economy and the mess in the Republican Party. President Obama is the clear favorite but its not a given that he'll get reelected.
Justice Ginsberg has had a very good record and has been an excellent Spokesperson for American Liberalism going back forty years. Being appointed by two Democratic Presidents and being confirmed by the Senate twice with overwhelming Bi Partisan votes. Fighting for equality and standing up for Individual Liberty in America and has left a good record for herself. But in practical political terms, she should make one more contribution to the movement and step down while she's still up to the job. And while there's still a Democratic President and Democratic Senate.
Monday, December 12, 2011
|Source: C-SPAN- President William J. Clinton-|
Ronald Reagan had this test to decide if President's were successful, or that the Republican Party used up until 1992. And that test is laid out in a simple question. "Are you better off today than you were four years ago? Is your cost of living better, are you more secure in your job, do you have more economic security today than you had four years ago? Etc, and he used that question in his closing moments of the third presidential debate with President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Americans by in large clearly didn't feel better off in 1980 than in 1976. Which is why they voted for Ron Reagan overwhelmingly with around 56% of the Popular Vote and giving him 44 states in that landslide election. And President Reagan used that question again in 1984 and in 1988, because the country was clearly better off as a whole in 1984 and in 1988 than it was in 1980. But in 1992 America started declining economically especially.
The American economy was just starting to come out of the recession of 1990-91. High unemployment, interest and inflation rates, rising costs in health care, rising national debt and deficit. Similar economic conditions in 1992 than in 1980, which opened the door for a young Liberal Democrat from Arkansas the Governor of that state to give the Democratic Party the presidency and to transform the Democratic Party and get us away from the stereotypes that have kept us out of national office since 1981. I mention the Reagan Test because that's one way President's are judged in whether they were successful or not. Was the country as a whole better off when you left office than when you came into office. And it's a test that President Clinton gave in 1996 and in 2000. American President's are judged by how the country did compared with how it was doing before they became President.
But also how they dealt with situations as they come up. And one more thing I would add, were they able to transform the country, lay down a vision for it that remained in place after they left office. In other words were they able to start a political revolution and under those three tests President Clinton passes overwhelmingly, which is why he is considered not only successful, but I would add a great President. At least on those three scores President Clinton had to deal with a lot. A weak economy, huge national debt and deficit, America looking like it may be declining as a world power, Somalia, Haiti, the Balkans, two American embassy's being blown up in East Africa. And when he left President with a 4.5% unemployment rate, booming economy, record low poverty rate, democracies emerging in the Balkans. The Democratic Party when President Clinton came into office was seen nationally as a Far-Left Social Democratic Party.
With a lot of negative stereotypes that were holding national Democrats back. Tax and spenders, fiscally irresponsible, soft on crime, defense and Welfare. Anti-private enterprise, anti-wealth and success, etc. And he moved the party back to the democratic liberalism of where it was with President Kennedy in the early 1960s. A place that President Obama wants the Democratic Party to be at. Despite pressures from the Far-Left to move the party farther left. Anytime Social Democrats try to move the party even farther left, they should look at the lesson of President Clinton. How the party was seen before he was President and it was seen after he left as President. And then look at how the party did in 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1988. Where they lost four landslide presidential elections out of five presidential elections. Including in 1980 losing so badly that it cost them control of the Senate for the first time since 1952. The Democratic Party needs to be a liberal party that believes in liberal democracy, that's why I'm a Democrat. But we can't be a pro-big government Party that wants the Federal Government to do a lot more at the expense of individual liberty. But we have to be a pro- limited good government Party that believes in good government. In order to be successful now and into the future.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Here's a case where Newt Gingrich is right when he says that the Mainstream Media has an tendency to distort what he says. Newt doesn't believe Low Income people are poor because they are lazy. But that they tend to come from Households where they don't see their parents working. And in a lot of cases from from Single Parent Households where their parent isn't working. Where their parent or parents didn't even finish High School, their kids don't know their fathers. The father walked out on the family, perhaps isn't even aware he has kids and they see their parent or parents. At home a lot living in Public Housing collecting Public Assistance especially Welfare Insurance not working. And they grow up in a Household where work isn't encourage. Well thanks to the 1996 Welfare to Work Law, a lot of that has ended. People on Welfare Insurance are expected to look for work, get help looking for work, go to work. Or go back to school and get the skills they need to get a good job. So they can become Self Sufficient or go to school and work at the same time. But at the end of the day they have to go to work, if they are mentally and physically able. Or they get cut off from Public Assistance and probably lose their kids, because of their inability to raise them properly. I'm not a supporter of Newt Gingrich and I'm not going to vote for him next year, even if he gets that far. But he does has a good idea here, about how to win the "War on Poverty. By sending Low Income people back to school to get the skills that they need to be Self Sufficient. And then sending them to work.
Me personally I'm from a Middle Class Household where work was encourage fairly early in my life. Got to see both of my parents working, my father would take me to his office, he worked for the US Public Health Service. For twenty nine years before becoming a Consultant in the Private Sector. I had three jobs while I was in High School, the last job I had after High School. Because I went to a High School that encourage its students to work at an early age. So they could get a Head Start in the Job Market and have some solid Work Experience early on. Before they went to and graduated from college, I had friends who worked in High School as well. You don't win the "War on Poverty" by allowing Low Income and Low Skill people sit at home collecting Welfare Checks. And then having their kids see them not working and thinking they don't need to finish school either. And can have kids before they are ready because Uncle Sam will be there to take care of them. You win the "War on Poverty" by empowering these people to get the skills that they need to get a good job. And then you help them find that job. So they can become Self Sufficient and be able to take care of themselves and their families. And no longer have to rely on Working People for their Daily Survival.
Newt Gingrich doesn't have all the good ideas in the World but he does have some good ideas. And its one thing not to like someone and he clearly has a club of people that doesn't like him. But its another thing to put someone down because you don't like him, you lose credibility when you do that. Especially when your wrong and when Newt has a good idea like he has here, give him credit for it. You wouldn't be endorsing Newt, just acknowledging that some people strike gold from time to time. And then you can go back to disliking Newt when he actually does something awful.
Friday, December 2, 2011
We are finally starting to see some real good Economic News as we close out 2011 and hopefully get off to a good start in 2012. And hopefully the 4th Quarter not in the football game but in the Economic Growth Rate. Will look good as well, maybe with the Holiday Season and everything else we'll hit 4% Economic Growth. And maybe we'll start to see Job Reports North of 150K maybe even 200K per month. But as the cheesy News Reporter always says, "only time will tell". But when that starts to happen, our Unemployment Rate will stop dropping like rocks from a bridge. And we can finally put the "Great Recession" now three years old to bed, actually four years depending on how you look at it. Because Economic Growth started dropping in late 2007, I know President Obama and Congressional Democrats are certainly hoping for that, because that means they get reelected. And Congressional Democratic Candidates are certainly hoping for that as well, because that means they get elected. Depending if they are sane, of Legal Age, alive, American Citizens and can prove these things. Good Economic News is not just good news for the Democratic Party, because they hold the White House and Senate which are at stake next year. But they want the House back as well and believe they can get these things but more importantly its good news for the rest of the country. Because it means millions of American Workers can go back to work and support themselves and their families again. And stop collecting from Public Assistance and start paying into it again. Which is also good news for our Debt and Deficit Outlook.
I've been saying this for months so this may sound repetitive, despite recent good news with the economy. We still have a long way to go, we are currently at 8.6% Unemployment, where before the "Great Recession". We were at 5.6% Unemployment I believe, so we really need about a year straight or more of solid Economic and Job Growth. To get back to a more comfortable economy with solid Economic and Job Growth each month. And we can either wait for that to happen and sit on our hands or we can try to make that happen through policy. We have a lot of work to do in this country and we have plenty of Unemployed Workers. That can do this work, so thats what we should be doing. First do no harm and not have a Middle Class Tax Hike, House Republicans are making a major gamble in looking like Tax Hikers. By messing around with an Extension of the Payroll Tax Holiday, that needs to be extended as well as Unemployment Insurance. So those people can have some income as they continue to look for work. And as President Obama laid out back in September we need something like the American Jobs Act. With serious Infrastructure Investment with a National Infrastructure Bank, to put our Construction Workers back to work. In the neighborhood of 200B$ a year not 40B$ which was in the 2009 American Recovery Act.
We had a good November and looks like December is off to a good start with Retail Sales up. But this is going to sound old but we still have a long way to go. But the good news is we are finally under 9% Unemployment which is what we've been at for 2 1/2 years now. So progress is finally being made and its progress that can been seen and felt. And hopefully just a good sign of more positive things to come with rising Economic and Job Growth.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
|Source: Liberty Baptist College- The Odd Couple-|
Senator Ted Kennedy, would be one of the few Northeastern Progressive Democrats that could give a speech at a Southern Evangelical university like Liberty University. Because Senator Kennedy was someone who could work outside of his element. Especially when he didn’t have enough power to get everything he wanted on an issue. Because he was a legislature before he was a politician. Which is why you see Senator Kennedy on the same stage not debating with Reverend Jerry Falwell, one of the fathers of the Religious-Right in America. And they make about as odd of a couple as Reverend Jesse Jackson giving a speech at a KKK rally. Something just seems odd about it.
But you have to remember that two of Senator Kennedy’s best friends in Congress were Senator Orrin Hatch and John Boehner now Speaker of the House. Two of the most Conservative Republicans in Congress. But Senator Kennedy was one of the best speakers when it came to truth and tolerance and civil rights in America. You don’t have the legislative record in Congress as a Senator, without the ability to not only work with your colleagues in the Senate and people in your party, but you also have to not only be able to work with Senator’s from the other party, but people in the House of Representatives as well. At least in your own party if your party is in the majority there. Ted Kennedy, understood all of that.
Perhaps not as articulate as Lyndon Johnson, Martin King or Bill Clinton, but you knew when Ted Kennedy spoke about those issues, that he was speaking from his heart that these were issues that really believed in. Which is why Senator Kennedy always had one of the best civil rights records in Congress. And Senator Kennedy’s contribution to the immigration reform debate in 2006-07, is a perfect example of that. Truth and tolerance and civil rights, are just as important as they were in 1983 84 when this speech was given, as it is today. To speak what’s on your mind and tell the truth and what you really believe.
Tolerance and cooperation, is something we didn’t have enough in politics and the rest of the country back then. But at least in the 1980s both parties believed in government and governing. And were smart enough to know they had to work with the other party in order to govern. Now it’s about how do you make the other side look bad so you can score politically. And that has just gotten worst today. Tolerance, treat people as you would want to be treated. Until they’ve proven they’re not worthy of your respect. And judge people by the content of the character, not by the color of their skin. Or the shape of their face or style of their hair or any other thing that has to do with their race or ethnicity.
Don’t judge people by their name, or what religion they practice if any, what gender they are attracted to physically and so on. That we treat people as people not groups. We don’t treat people special because they are a member of a group, good or bad. That we judge all people as people not members of groups. Which is something that Senator Kennedy understood very well for the most part. And is something that as we become even more diverse as a country is a message that needs to be understood and communicated even more today. Seeing Ted Kennedy with Jerry Falwell on the same stage not debating each other and actually being nice to each other.
Ted Kennedy and Jerry Falwell, were the definition of Odd Couple. Perhaps they could’ve had their own sitcom. Like the Irish Baptist, or Out of Place or something like that, Strange Bedfellows. Except they would both be straight. Jerry Falwell getting on Ted Kennedy for falling off bar stools and Ted Kennedy getting on the Reverend for preaching to the choir in their living room, literally as he’s trying to sleep. An Odd Couple that could get along.But even people who are clearly opponents when it comes to politics and have to defeat other side to accomplish their goals, can get along with each other. If they understand that they’re opponents and not enemies that are always in combat seeking to destroy the other side.