A letter to a Senator by Christopher Benz
Sept 29, 2010
Dear Senator Begich,
Jim DeMint has announced that he plans to filibuster all Senate business until January, so that the government will shut down until Republicans are back in power.
This fact should be an enormous gift. Republicans have said, again and again, that they want America to fail during this administration. Republicans have made a record number of filibusters. They have stalled an unprecedented number of appointments.
Americans hate the partisan poison that has infected this country. Republicans have deliberately created it. The media feeds off it. Pundits are afraid to blame anyone for it (except for Fox News, who create it and then blame Democrats.) Using their own statements, you can prove that Republicans are responsible for stalling the machinery that keeps this country working. In our darkest hour, Republicans put partisanship first, and discarded their countrymen.
As long as people understand politics as a fight between big government and small government, Democrats and ordinary Americans will lose—and as our economy fails, all Americans will lose. It must be about results vs. partisanship, reality-based pragmatism vs. utopian daydreams.
Republican partisanship is a danger to all Americans. Make no mistake, Republicans do not care if our economy is robust, as much as they care that the powerful stay powerful. They would prefer stagnation to losing their status. A tea partier worries that he might count a Mexican as an equal in the job market. A corporate donor worries that he may have to improve performance to compete with small businesses, rather than just buying competitors. Our economy suffers as corporations manipulate laws to smother their competition.
You’re an Alaskan. We’re tougher up here. I urge you to rally your party to grow a spine. If you don’t hold Republicans accountable for the poison they inject into the campaign system, if you don’t make partisan obstruction a political liability, then it you reward it. If Democrats tolerate this poison, they encourage it, perhaps paralyzing America in the process.
In 1976, hockey in the NHL was a dirty game, led by the Broad Street Bullies, from Philly. Once the Flyers had some rings on their fingers, teams stocked up on goons, to emulate the Stanley Cup winners. But one team resisted. The Montreal Canadians were fast and talented, and size was not their first priority. They still had enforcers, though. In game two of the 1976 Stanley Cup Semis, Philadelphia’s Gary Doernhorfer raced over the Montreal blue line with the puck, bearing down on the goal. He thought he had enough space to score. Montreal’s Larry Robinson hammered him into the boards so hard the wood broke. That one hit changed hockey forever. Montreal won the Stanley Cup for the next few years, and teams emulated their fast style of play, paving the way for Wayne Gretzky and the early 1980s Islanders. Had Philadelphia won the ‘76 Stanley Cup, the age of skilled, fast hockey might not have emerged, and goons would have ruled. Wayne Gretzky, a skinny 17 year old kid, would have looked dubious, and he might have lacked a team to compliment his playing style. Instead, two decades of the most exciting hockey in history followed, all because when it counted, Robinson hit hard. Continue reading →