In a recent address to the National Press Club, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts revealed his vision for the the Democratic Party’s role in America’s future.
With quite wonderful rhetoric, he displays everything that is considered sacred to his party and makes some strong points about Medicare and education.
Anyone who agrees with him would be immediately drawn to his prose and hope for a place for Democrats in the future, which they see as a bleak America ruled by the Republican Party, after gaining majority in both houses of Congress and winning the Presidency.
His speech can be summed up with the words, “We as Democrats may be in the minority in Congress, but we speak for the majority of Americans.”
But I fear that Kennedy does not accurately describe the current political spectrum.
While he can support his claim that Democrats speak for the majority in the United States with polls that show Bush has a dropping approval rate, these polls have been shown to be very inaccurate from the outcome of the election.
The statement in itself ignores the fact that elections really do matter and that this election has not been challenged by the opposing candidates.
Simply put, if the Republican view did not represent the view of the majority of Americans then the Republicans would not have gained majority in government.
The outcome of any election in which a party has lost so much must be a horrible thought for anyone who is completely and totally convinced that the opposing side is wrong.
So, instead of reexamining the views of the Democrats, he blames other circumstances. He first claims that Americans are living in the memory of Sept. 11 and they fear terrorism.
But if they really feared terrorism and were convinced of the Democratic view that Bush was the cause of even more hatred of America in the world, then they should have voted Democrat.
Then he lists the “quagmire in Iraq” and the relentless attacks on the Democratic candidate as the cause of the loss.
If Iraq was so bad, then they could have at least nominated a candidate who voted consistently against the war.
Further, if you want to talk about relentless attacks, Bush has received more than his fair share of hits from just about everywhere and has had at least one film dedicated to the shortcomings of the war.
The point is that the American people knew these things going into the voting booth, and they decided pro-Republican.
To say that the Democrats still deserved to win because of underhandedness from the other side is just nonsense and they should move on.
The chief reason for public backlash against Bush has been the war in Iraq.
Yet Kennedy only mentions that the Democratic presidential candidate would have done a better job getting other countries to help out with the effort.
Other than that, he has no plan on how we can leave Iraq or better the situation.
So if people hate Bush mostly because of Iraq, they are truly at a loss because even the most liberal of the liberal democrats, Kennedy, does not support immediate withdrawal.
Kennedy also criticizes making the Democratic Party more conservative by saying that we do not need two Republican parties in this country.
While I agree with him on that, we also do not need two Democratic parties, which is more in line with his goals.
He talks about the “politics of hope and unity” while simultaneously bashing everything which Republicans stand for and which Democrats pretend Republicans stand for.
One would think that at the very least, people would learn from the presidential campaign that negative campaigning, especially while making up truths, does not work.
If there is one good thing about Bush, at least he does not spend his time muttering on and on about how the Democrats are wrong.
What is the hope and unity that Kennedy wants?
He wants to give everyone a decent education, make sure all people have good health care and that they will be kept above the poverty level from the time they are young to the day they die.
None of these goals are unworthy, and I look forward to seeing how the debate continues on these issues and the compromises that are made.
The debate is still on for how we should deal with the social issues of this country and the Democrats have an important role in it.
That is why, more than ever, they need to recognize the limitations of their policies because neither side of the aisle has solved the world’s problems.
If Kennedy really desires people to be more united in the future, then the first thing he should do is to live past this election defeat.
If he continues to attack what the American people have chosen, then he is just pushing his party further away from ever gaining power again.
In this scenario, all his worse dreams will come true and the conservatives will have control of government unchecked.
The Democrats cannot continue working against the president and still hope for a better future, so they must work with him.
Bush’s plan to help the poor is centered around faith-based initiatives that have been known to spend money more efficiently than government.
His plan to help education is the No Child Left Behind Act, which was at first a cooperation between the parties but has since turned sour.
These are things that Democrats can work on with Republicans and there is no reason why they should not. Kennedy can do a lot of good right now and stop this senseless blame game.
I pray that he does.
Because, despite all the rhetoric, Bush is not an evil man and he is able to listen to people who disagree with him.
In some cases, he does act without consideration, but that is what a leader should do if he absolutely believes he is right.
If Kennedy understands this and really wants to help people, then some good work can be done in Washington.