Barack Obama has promised that Ted Kennedy's death would not be exploited for political purposes, according to an article in today's New York Post, which reports as follows.
"Despite several calls from prominent Democrats to use Ted Kennedy's death as a rallying cry for health-care reform, President Obama yesterday said now is not the time to politicize the senator's legacy.
"Our country lost a beloved leader, and the politics and implications of that are the last thing on the president's mind right now," said White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton."
If you think that this signals a new era of fair play, then think again. Whenever anything is just too tacky or undignified to do or say, just call in Nancy Pelosi, who was quoted by the Post as follows.
"Ted Kennedy's dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration," vowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)."
Whatever Obama may say, there will always be someone who will attempt to squeeze some points out of Ted Kennedy's passing. I won't get all sanctimonious and say how awful that is. But there are a few points would like to make.
Everyone's gotta go sooner or later. Passing away doesn't automatically render sacrosanct everything the person ever said. If you quote or invoke Ted Kennedy, his merits and those of his life and ideas will be fair game for discussion. Most people won't pull their brass knuckles on someone who has just died. It's common decency. But if you lay the praise on too thick and start embellishing and editing the person's life, there will be a backlash. Most people leave a mixed legacy. Ted Kennedy was a driving force in American politics. The debate will continue on whether or not that was a force for good or perhaps the opposite. Expect this debate about Ted Kennedy the man and Ted Kennedy the political figure to continue.
I'm concerned about health care from a personal point of view. I have seen health care rationing close up. And it was done by private insurance companies. I am very distrustful of having the US government making these decisions. It's hard enough to fight the insurance companies. Fighting the government will introduce a new array of problems.
There is another area where I part company with a lot of conservatives. When copper or wheat become so cheap that it does not pay to produce them, everyone agrees that there is a problem. Lobbyists meet with Congressmen, deals are made and the problem gets sorted out. Labor is as much a commodity as copper, wheat or anything else. When its real value erodes, then workers have to put in longer hours to bring home less. When mom and pop are putting in overtime to make ends meet, that cuts down on quality time with children. This creates social problems and social costs. I am not in favour of insanity like calling a union electrician to change a light bulb, but we need to take a good look at the value of labour. It is with the help of workers that entrepreneurs can prosper. Workers and bosses should have the attitude that they need each other. Class warfare hurts everyone.
Here is another area where I part company with liberals and conservatives. If you flood the market with a commodity, its price will drop. We are flooding America with legal and illegal immigration. It is depressing the value of labour. We need to seal our borders and tie legal immigration to the state of the economy. And don't hand me the story that there are some jobs Americans just won't do. I have known illegal immigrants who crammed into crowded houses and rented cubicles for a fraction of what Americans with families living with them must pay to keep a roof over their heads. The illegals are sending dollars to places where they are worth much more. They are also vulnerable due to language and legal problems. They tend to accept lower wages.
Speaking of dirty jobs that Americans won't do, countless Americans are plumbers. They handle excrement. They are paid well. So they keep doing their jobs. The same goes for garbage men. They are paid well and do distasteful work for good pay. Americans will handle garbage and excrement. What they can't handle is a garbage paycheck.
I consider myself to be pro labour, almost to the point of being biased towards workers. Ted Kennedy claims to be in favour of the working class. I find that there are a lot of problems with Kennedy's liberal agenda. A lot of working people would like to send their kids to private schools. It's easy for a Kennedy to pay taxes for schools and to pay private school tuition. For millions of Americans, that is a daunting proposition. Our founding fathers did not outlaw tax dollars going to private schools. That didn't happen until 1875, when James G. Blaine led a struggle to amend the constitution to outlaw government aid to private schools.
At that time, there was a wave of Irish and European immigration that was changing religious and ethnic demographics. The Blaine Amendment, eventually ratified in some form in 37 states was directed at Catholics and at immigrants to hamper them in the establishment of schools in which their values would be treated with respect. The Blaine Amendment is the cornerstone of the "Separation of Church and State as we know it today. It was a law conceived, crafted and implemented in a spirit of bigotry and intolerance. It is long past time for this barbaric legislative relic to be consigned to historic memory.
I grew up with Boston Irish. I heard from the older people the stories of the days in which the Irish endured poverty, disdain and discrimination. I am sure that Ted Kennedy heard far more of this historical narrative than did I. He took that history and went with it on a grand stage in a direction that many find puzzling. It is all fine and good to believe that the workers should eat well. But workers want to nourish their traditions, their heritage and their souls. Some of the causes Kennedy supported were not cognisant of that. It could be said that the liberal agenda feeds the body and stifles the soul. Inherent to modern liberalism is a deep seated distrust of the very people it purports to champion.
The debate will continue to rage about heath care, the economy and national security. Of Ted Kennedy the private man, I will speak as much as possible with dignity and with tact. But the debate about our nation's future will continue to unfold. The cold damp earth may settle on Ted Kennedy's grave. But it will not dampen the debate about the ideas he championed. Kennedy's friends and his opponents will lend a raucous immortality to Edward Kennedy's role in public life through heated debate. For the sake of our country, this is how it should be. Sphere: Related Content