The year 2008 might become the most important in our 232-year-old history. Both major political parties have historical positions that their members consider sacrosanct. It is this kind of rigidity that is unhealthy.
I received a rich Christmas gift: Congressional Anecdotes by Paul Boller (1991).
1. Davy Crockett was a two-term Congressman from Tennessee (1827-1831), who opposed his President and fellow Tennessean, Andrew Jackson, in removing the Cherokee Indians from their ancestral home in the southeastern U.S. For his courage, he was defeated for a third term and moved to Texas, where he was elected to Congress (1833-35) and died at The Alamo. “The Trail of Tears” in southern Missouri speaks loudly of this tragedy, where some 4,000 Cherokees died.
2. Jeannette Rankin,R-Mont., was the first woman elected to Congress (1917-19) and was defeated for the U.S. Senate in 1919 but came back to the House in 1941-43, and voted against U.S. involvement in both WWI and WWII (388-1). What courage!
Peter Peterson’s Running on Empty, is highly recommended by Sen. John McCain, former Sens. Warren Rudman, R-N.H.; Sam Nunn, D-Ga.; Bob Kerrey, D-Neb.; and Tom Brokaw. The author was Secretary of Commerce during the Nixon years and is a Republican from Nebraska. His book offers solutions in our increasingly polarized system of government.
Hopefully 2008 will bring us courageous candidates for public office, who will speak to the issues and offer possible solutions. If not, a third-party candidate might very well win. Get registered and vote. Bring on the elections!