Politics Big and Small

Many of you know that I am a bit of a political junkie and I am fortunate enough everyday to go to work and talk about it with kids. I am struck lately by the similarities I see between my classroom and the national political stage. We're involved in a Legislative Simulation now that has divided the class into Republicans and Democrats and they are trying to pass legislation out of the Senate. What I see is a Republican party that is led by an very strong student and is very, very organized. Despite being in the minority they are incredibly aggressive and they play hard ball with everything. On the Democratic side I have another very strong student who is doing everything she can to cajole and threaten her side into doing something, anything to play the game even a little bit. Needless to say when we go to the Floor tomorrow I expect the Republicans to tear it up and the Democrats to whine about how they're the majority and they're supposed to win stuff.

This got me thinking about whether this is the problem with Democrats in general right now. We spent so long in the weeds that now that we're out of them we feel like we're owed stuff (like a Senate seat in MA) and we don't want to fight for it anymore. We're tired and we want someone else to do the heavy lifting. I think what I'm seeing in my classroom and what we're seeing in our country is that the Republicans are happy to lift and if we don't like the direction they're going we have no choice but to get off our butts and keep fighting. Or you know, not, but when the blame game starts again I hope we'll be a little more introspective and start with ourselves.


Albert said...

The parallel is interesting. What decided which party each student would end up in? Is the beligerent minority just a coincidence?

I know your second paragraph is likely using "We" to mean Democrats and I'm not one. But I've voted for plenty of them so let me say this: as a country we've given the Democrats the presidency and both houses in congress. If they're unable to put their platform in place it's not my fault, it's theirs and when they fall back out of power because they failed to accomplish what they said they would, failed to focus the media story on what they did accomplish and failed in general to show any resolve, backbone, common sense or identity with the people who elected them, it's nobody's fault but their own. I do want someone else to do the heavy lifting. I want the representatives that I'm paying to do the heavy lifting to do the heavy lifting or at least put a good effort into it.

Sorry, this health care thing has really affected me.

Adrienne said...

The kids chose thier own parties based on the politics they felt most passionate about expressing. So the beligerent minority is true blue not my creation.

I totally agree with what you're saying Albert, but I think that this is the problem with our current system. We want results, we elect people for resultes but our system is not designed for results (at least not fast ones). Civil Rights legislation was proposed in Congress in 1957, 1960 and finally in 1963. It was a big part of Kennedy's campaign and he sent a bill to Congress in June of 1963. It was passed by the House in February of '64 and then was filibustered (for 54 days) in the Senate and dramatically watered down before finally passing in June of '64. The House was forced to take the Senate version and it finally becoming law July 2, 1964. When it did Johnson told an aide that the Democratic Party had lost the south for a generation. And this was with the March on Washington, the sit ins, the freedom riders, and everything else going on convincing people to support it.

I don't think health care is any less passionately felt and in this case what the bill actually does matters because it's spending a lot of money somewhere--either your pocket, the state's pocket, or the federal government's pocket. I don't know if it's realistic to expect that would pass quickly, especially if those of us who support it got quiet right as the tea party got loud. It might still pass, it might end up passing in a terrible form, but I do think that we need to be more vocal to our members and to our families and friends to be vocal about it. The Party needs to step up, no doubt, but governing is a messy, often disgusting process and that was by the Founders design.

Jonas and Janelle said...

Preach it sister.

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