Coakley, Schmoakley: You’re Not Our Heroes Anymore

Dear Readers,

Here’s my take on tomorrow’s big U.S. Senate election, taken from the Huffington Post national Politics and Chicago pages. Go here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-sive.

Rebecca

http://www.rebeccasive.com/blogSubscribe.htm

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Here is the full text of my post, inspired by one of my favorite musicians, B.B. King, and doubly-inspired by thinking about Dr. King: Check-it-out.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley may or may not be elected to the U.S. Senate tomorrow. I ask you: What difference will it make–one way or the other?

Badly, the Democratic guns-for-hire, Coakley’s would-be colleagues, and the President want Martha Coakley elected because they, badly, want their sixtieth vote for a healthcare bill that presently renders American women unequal, second-class to the men around them.

Coakley can’t wait to vote for it: In thrall to Ted Kennedy’s legacy and desirous of keeping the “Kennedy seat,” talk about entitlement, she campaigns with Vicki Kennedy to make her case.

So, let’s say Martha Coakley pulls it out of the bag. Then what?

Well, at the same time Friday that the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee was pleading with me to send money to help get Martha Coakley elected, I received a call from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) fundraiser.

Now, Amy is a longtime and dear personal friend: A law school classmate of my husband’s, we have sent money to Amy since her first run for office back in the 90’s. So, when Amy decided to run for the U.S. Senate, I took it upon myself to introduce her to then Senator Obama’s donor-world: the world of big-money, progressive Chicago Democrats. The dividends (for her) have paid-off ever since.

But what about the dividends for me, for the rest of the women of Chicago, for the women of Minnesota, or for the rest of America?

Talk about the bag. Looks to me like we’ve all been left, holding the bag.

The reason for the formation of Emily’s List, say, and of other women’s organizations that raise money and work to elect pro-choice, Democratic women candidates, was crystal-clear: It was to increase the representation of Democratic women in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, so that these women would do what the Democratic men had failed to do: make the American world an equal one.

We were highly motivated; we worked really hard; we had a great interest in helping the interested women among us achieve this opportunity to serve—in order to serve our interests.

Instead, we find them serving their own.

As I’ve previously written in these pages, in lockstep with their male colleagues, the 13 Democratic women U.S. Senators voted for a healthcare “reform” bill that, tragically, takes millions of American women back to pre-Roe v. Wade days, i.e., to daily life in which they will, odds-are, be unable to obtain an abortion, in their very own state.

As to the Democratic women Members of the House of Representatives, well, yes, a group is fighting hard against the Stupak Amendment (talk about pre-Roe!), but their leader, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, birthed Stupak in the first place. Talk about failing to serve the interests of women.

You’re not my heroes anymore.



Your elections excited me. Your elections motivated me to (keep) helping you, because I believed that your election meant I would have representatives of me, fighting for me.

Well, as B.B. King would say: “The thrill is gone.”

Don’t come to me saying you represent me; don’t come to me saying that I owe you my financial support; don’t come to me saying that you are the defender of my rights; don’t come to me saying you matter to women, or, worse yet, for women.

For, right now, you don’t.

So, until further notice, my phone is on voicemail; my checkbook is closed; my e-mail contact list doesn’t include you; my living room chairs are empty of women donors; and my speeches for you won’t get written.

B. B. continues: “The thrill is gone away for good.”

Is it?

That’s up to you.

On this day of all days, on the day when we honor the work of a man assassinated for standing- up and acting on his belief in equal rights, the least you can do is:

· Stop making deals, stand-up to the enemy, and fight like Dr. King did.

· Stop thinking that being just a little bit better than the guys next-door is enough help for those who depend on you. Dr. King didn’t make this mistake, and neither should you.

· Stop thinking that being in proximity to power is sufficient (to our needs). The only thing that actually matters, on days like these, is having the power, and using it to do good.



· Stop thinking that fighting to “maintain the status quo” is a win, ‘cause, gee whiz, I tried really hard. It isn’t, not when women’s very lives are at-stake.

· Stop thinking “half a loaf is better than none.” Sometimes, some days, these days, this day,it’s not. We know that, and so should you.

On this day, of all days:

· Know that your male colleagues don’t understand what we need, in the way that you do. We need you to do what needs doing.

· Know that your sworn enemies won’t, ever, honor their word. The last few months of “healthcare reform” are ample proof of that, if any were ever needed. We need you to outflank our enemy, however you can manage to do that.

· Know that equal rights can’t be achieved by conducting business “as usual.” We need you to conduct the business that needs conducting, no matter the price you may personally pay for breaking away from the (male) norm.

· Know that you owe us a debt, and it’s time to pay it. We need you do what Dr. King did: Fight until you can’t fight anymore.



I close as B.B. closed: “I’m free, free now; I’m free from your spell, and now that it’s over, all I can do is wish you well.”

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The Purpose Driven Life

It’s hard to imagine Rick Warren had Ted Kennedy in-mind when he wrote The Purpose Driven Life,* but judging by all that was said at Kennedy’s Saturday funeral, including President Obama’s beautiful remarks, Ted Kennedy’s life seems to have been a case-in-point.**

Of course, Saturday’s most poignant reading of Ted Kennedy’s life, as a man who persevered (in pursuit of good for others), was in Ted Kennedy Jr.’s remarks, regarding walking up a snowy hill.***

“And I was trying to get used to my new artificial leg. And the hill was covered with ice and snow. And it wasn’t easy for me to walk. And the hill was very slick. And as I struggled to walk, I slipped and I fell on the ice. And I started to cry and I said, ‘I can’t do this.’ I said, ‘I’ll never be able to climb up that hill.’

And he lifted me up in his strong, gentle arms and said something I will never forget. He said, ‘I know you can do it. There is nothing that you can’t do. We’re going to climb that hill together, even if it takes us all day.’



“Sure enough, he held me around my waist and we slowly made it to the top. And you know, at age 12 losing your leg pretty much seems like the end of the world. But as I climbed on to his back and we flew down the hill that day, I knew he was right. I knew I was going to be OK.

“You see, my father taught me that even our most profound losses are survivable, and that is — it is what we do with that loss, our ability to transform it into a positive event, that is one of my father’s greatest lessons.”

But Ted Kennedy’s biggest lesson for me, albeit from his funeral, was this reminder: Ted Kennedy led a purpose-driven lifefor the biggest purposes in life: eliminating racism, sexism, and all other forms of injustice.



Though I was raised in a solidly Democratic family (for example, as a 36-year-old with four young children, my father ran for Congress on the Democratic ticket, in an overwhelmingly Republican district), my parents viewed (and, I think, still view), the Kennedy’s with some disapproval.

The Mary Jo Kopechne tragedy left a very bad taste, and, combined with an incident we experienced–when a Democratic-Party rally came to a crashing halt while everyone searched for then-Senate-candidate Bobby Kennedy’s lost (gold) cuff link–I was raised to view the Kennedy’s with some disdain.

But, then, I got to Saturday’s funeral service, albeit via CNN.

Saturday morning’s lesson about perseverance–in pursuit of a purpose beyond oneself, and, yes, even beyond one’s family–is exactly the lesson my sometimes-Kennedy-disapproving parents taught every day, including, I’m sure, on the day that gold cuff link was lost, and on the day Mary Jo Kopechne died.

I’ve tried to take their lesson to-heart. Truthfully, some days, it’s hard, especially when it’s a day at the end-of August.

But, this end-of-August day, and whether you liked and admired Ted Kennedy, or not, take-to-heart his last lesson for his children and for the rest-of-us: the purpose-driven life matters.

I close with the words of Wordsworth (a favorite of my father), said by the President Saturday:

“As tempted more; more able to endure,

” As more exposed to suffering and distress;

“Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.”

Rebecca

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*

http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/en-US/Home/home.htm

**

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/2009/08/president-obamas-eulogy-for-sen-ted-kennedy.php

***

http://blogs.reuters.com/frontrow/2009/08/29/ted-kennedy-jr-brings-self-others-to-tears/