And while we're talking politics
A great op-ed from John D. Dingell, the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, on the current health-care debate in the United States. Well worth reading the whole thing, but here's how it ends:
Let me close with a personal note. I make an effort to treat each class of Congressional interns to a lunch in the Member’s dinning room. During that lunch, I take questions about any topic they want to discuss. Almost every time, these interns – many of whom regard Ronald Reagan as ancient history – ask me about votes like the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In my more than 50 years here, I’ve cast ten to fifteen votes which are repeatedly revisited by the general public, both young and old, because they have such a dramatic impact on the world we live in today. And while public mood may color their sentiments or the way they ask the question, the basic premise behind the interns’ questions are always the same:
When history called, what did you do?
Without a doubt, the vote on this bill will join the list. I will tell my fellow members, when you explain a vote like this one to the generations that live with the consequences of these decisions there is no poll, not even an election result, that can justify your decision. You will be asked about this vote until the day you die. Years from now, none of these things we put so much stock in now will matter. All anyone will want to know is: did you do the right thing when history called on you? It is time for health care reform. We can’t afford to wait. We can’t afford to think small. We can’t afford to fail.