Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kerry's farewell talk in Worcester

Our dear Senator Kerry managed to give a great farewell speech as Senator, summing up all the wonderful things he did and the glories of a life of service and the tasks ahead for America, without once mentioning the words "jobs" or "unemployment". Not even when members of the audience held up signs saying "JOBS!!" 

When questioned about this after the speech, he insisted he had talked about jobs, when the talked about competitiveness. 

When challenged that jobs and unemployment are huge issues and not the same thing as competitiveness, he insisted they were and said "See my speech from yesterday." 

It's been many years since I've had the pleasure of talking to him face to face, and probably be many more until I do again. My impression is that as time goes by he gets ever more out of touch with the world of regular people, and that he either doesn't know or doesn't care that he's out of touch. 


Another interesting moment in Kerry's speech: he was talking to a roomful of freshly-scrubbed college students about the joys of public service.  He shared about how the high point of his work was when someone would call his office saying they had a problem they couldn't fix. How this place said it wasn't their job  and that place wouldn't answer a question, another place quoted some rule about what couldn't be done  and the other place kept losing the paperwork   They were at their wit's end, hitting stone walls and dead ends.  And Kerry was able to solve their problem for them!  What a wonderful feeling that is!

So what's wrong with that picture?

There are millions of us living in a world full of stone walls and dead ends, struggling to get what we need in a game that's rigged against us.  Most of us have experienced giving up in frustration.  Some of us have turned to Senators, Congressmen, State Reps and City Councillors for help.  Sometimes they can.  But does that really change anything?

What a high, to be able to reach down from the mountain top, solve somebody's problem and earn their gratitude for life.  But when the system is so messed up that it takes the intervention of a US Senator to solve what should be ordinary problems of life, wouldn't a better thing to be bragging about be how he intervened, got people doing their jobs right and removed obstacles and hurdles so that the next person won't have such a hard time?

That's not apparently how the lofty divine ones on Olympus see their role in the lives of us mere mortals.
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