In your editorial (“What Scott Brown can teach us,” Jan. 20), you lament the failures of the Obama administration, the missteps of the Democratic majority and the persistence of “change that never comes.” I share your concern. I too struggle every time leadership waters down the health care reform bill. I cringe at some of the candidates who now vie to represent my party. Your solution, however, is misguided and nearsighted.
You argue against the “elite” who control our government, calling for the rise of the common man. According to the piece, Scott Brown is that man—a “real” person who will eschew politics in favor of a quest for “the truth.” I find it difficult to see how a Tufts and Boston College Law educated state senator with a mansion, summer home, three Boston condos and a timeshare in Aruba qualifies as the anti-elite paragon, but we can leave that aside for the moment. The fundamental question remains, to what type of leader should America turn for real change?
You side with the Sarah Palin camp — the down-home, straight-talking figures represent a new wave of politics that rejects the worn and antiquated ways of the past in favor of shooting from the hip and following their gut. According to you, they will lead America into a new era of government where one’s “conscience” guides one’s decisions.
There is something to admire here. When special interests dominate so many, and leadership dictates votes on issues big and small, it would seem natural to sprint from the status quo. In your support for Brown and others of his mold, you turn away from the corruption, scandal and disgrace that have plagued our government for too long. But you turn in the wrong direction.
I side with the Ted Kennedy camp. Rather than look forward to the shallow emptiness of the new Right, I turn back to the politicians who have embodied American greatness. I look to the Kennedys, the Clays and the Websters. I look to the brilliant minds, the tireless public servants and the statesmen who made this nation the envy of the world. Their education did not hamper and narrow their abilities, but instead allowed them to champion their causes with the force of history bellowing behind them. Their eloquent words gave voice to our deepest national convictions. Their actions translated those words into the laws and institutions upon which we pride ourselves. Our nation rests upon their shoulders.
The choice becomes clear. For whom will we vote to shape American history, the Scott Browns or the Ted Kennedys? American government is ailing, but to mend it we cannot look to today’s quick fixes. We must turn back to our own history and rekindle the greatness of our forefathers once again. Above all, we must never forget that, “the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”
The writer is a junior in Pierson College and the President of the Yale College Democrats and the College Democrats of Connecticut.