Senator Ted Kennedy must be weeping in his grave over the inconceivable loss of the Massachusetts Senate race to a Republican masquerading as an Independent. The voters of Massachusetts, for whatever reason, have decided to join the ranks of voters who defy logic by voting against their own self-interest.
The sad irony of this political travesty is that Senator-elect Scott Brown represents the antithesis of what Senator Kennedy stood for. He ran on the promise to vote against healthcare reform, which was Ted Kennedy’s lifelong passion.
I’m baffled that the people who repeatedly voted to return Senator Kennedy to the Senate for more than 40 years, and who turned out in droves to pay tribute to him after his death, would abandon his dream of providing health care for all Americans. The mindless banter emanating from the media echo chamber insists that the outcome of the election is a reflection of the anger and frustration of voters, and that it is a referendum on the Obama presidency.
Am I to understand that voters who are angry and frustrated at the state of the economy are now willing to vote for political candidates who espouse the same tired, failed policies that are responsible for the economic disaster in which we find ourselves? Are voters going to continue to waste their votes on “making a statement” rather than supporting candidates who are serious about implementing policies that are in the best interest of the majority of Americans and not just a wealthy few?
Too often voters fail to understand that Republicans and some “blue dog” Democrats, who worship at the shrine of the status quo, have no interest in progressive change. Their loyalties lie with partisan ideology and their corporate partners, not with their constituents whose interests they are elected to protect.
Regardless of how you frame the issue, I will never understand how working-class men and women could possibly believe that the Republican Party, particularly the GOP as it now stands, represents their best interest. I am an independent voter who votes Democratic simply because the morally bankrupt opposition party leaves me no alternative.
For eight long and painful years, the obstructionist party of “no” squandered its privilege to govern by passing laws that permitted the rich to get richer while too many working-class Americans found themselves out of work, their incomes dwindling, and their homes in foreclosure. This is the economic morass the Obama administration inherited that will most certainly take more than one year in office to remedy.
This isn’t rocket science, after all, and anyone with any modicum of intelligence surely must understand this fact. It’s about time that Americans abandon the insatiable need for instant gratification in all things and learn to appreciate the fact that changing the status quo is not easy, and that it won’t happen overnight.
In order for our democracy to thrive and to flourish, the voting public must be informed about local and national political affairs and engaged in the political process. Unfortunately, the outcomes of recent elections, especially the elections of 2000 and 2004, suggest that too many of Americans are not holding up their end of this bargain.
Continuing to vote for politicians whose intent is to fall in line with corporate interests and to impede progress and social change is not only shortsighted; it’s suicidal. If voters continue to succumb to the brainwashing of corporate vultures, then we will deserve the oligarchy we are sure to inherit from these perpetrators of selfishness and greed.
My disappointment and frustration over the Massachusetts fiasco is directed toward voters who continue to relinquish their power to the wolves in sheep’s clothing, who repeatedly vote against their interests, and who continue to engage in politics as usual.
Mary Nicholson Grice lives in Maple Grove; she welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.