Monday, February 24, 2014

John Dingell Retires--One Less Poet In The House

    The news today included an announcement that the Dean of the House of Representatives, John Dingell, Jr., the longest ever serving member of the Congress, House or Senate, since the founding of this nation, will not run for reelection. At 87, age and a desire to spend his remaining time with his family must have influenced his decision as he won his district in 2012 with almost 70% of the vote. A reelection campaign would have been a breeze even for a candidate with a motorized wheel chair scooter with a placard "the Dean". What is disturbing are his reasons for retiring stated in an interview with the Detroit Free Press:   “I find serving in the House to be obnoxious. It’s become very hard because of the acrimony and bitterness, both in Congress and in the streets.” Chilling words and evidence of the gridlock facing us.
     Anyone who has served under 11 Presidents and witnessed as a 15 year old page on the floor of Congress FDR's speech to Congress calling for war against the Empire of Japan must have developed a strong sense of the value of the Separation of Powers embodied in our Constitution. I would hope that value is passed on to his likely Blue successor and to all members of the House, Red or Blue. If he is to leave a farewell address, one hopes it attacks the lack of compromise and civility, the rhetoric, and the refusal of Reds and Blues to try to work together to find common ground and one especially hopes that, if delivered, Senator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi listen and take heed and release their members to their conscience to vote on what is right for this country. My muse comments follow as does the poem by Rep. Dingell delivered on the House Floor in 2005.  Thank you Rep. Dingell for your service to this nation and for your poem.
John Dingell, Jr. Retires--One Less Poet In The House
From 1955 John Dingell followed in his father’s deceased steps
Won his seat and set a longevity record in a series of safe election bets
From a Page in Congress at the age of 12 to his announcement today,
Other than two years in the army in WWII waiting to head into harm’s way,
He has been dependent on the public sector paycheck
In a safe Blue district almost impossible for a Red to elect
If on a career such as his, one were to reflect on the entries in his political log
It would be hard to confine him into a uniform box, and certainly not as an ideologue
From A+ from the NRA to moderation on fuel standards imposed by EPA
To support for organized labor and social welfare always in the fray
Save one issue on which you could set your clocks or take it to the bank
National Health Insurance for him was an issue in number one rank
A fervent supporter of Obamacare which may prove to be the pivotal issue in the fall
Maybe like fellow Blues, Waxman and Miller, he saw the broken “period” promises writings on the wall
His tenure in safe districts may make him at 88 for term limits the poster child
Of entrenchment in the House, not intended by the Founding Fathers, run wild
But anyone who on the floor of the House recited a poem to O’Reilly’s War on Christmas attack
Represents to this poet even though a parody of the Night Before Christmas ,kudos for a sense of humor and civility our politicians now completely lack
Before he leaves office, as longest ever serving Rep, one would hope he urges his fellow Blues they act like hawks
Matters not whether a President is Red or Blue, Imperial Presidents bypassing the House, you must unite to block!
Since his seat is almost as Blue as Pelosi’s, his replacement will be Blue
Unless the voting Wolverines, jobless, living at home, burdened with student debt reject the Obama stew
© February 24, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet   

                                         Dingell’s 2005 “War On Christmas Poem”
Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House
No bills were passed bout which Fox News could grouse;
Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,
So vacations in St. Barts soon would be near;
Katrina kids were nestled all snug in motel beds,
While visions of school and home danced in their heads;
In Iraq our soldiers needed supplies and a plan,
Plus nuclear weapons were being built in Iran;
Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell;
Americans feared we were on a fast track to well
Wait--- we need a distraction--- something divisive and wily;
A fabrication straight from the mouth of O’Reilly
We can pretend that Christmas is under attack
Hold a vote to save it--- then pat ourselves on the back;
Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger
Wake up Congress, they’re in no danger!
This time of year we see Christmas everywhere we go,
From churches, to homes, to schools, and yes even Costco;
What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy,
When this is the season to unite us with joy
At Christmas time we’re taught to unite,
We don’t need a made-up reason to fight
So on O’Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter, and those right wing blogs;
You should just sit back, relax, have a few egg nogs!
Tis the holiday season; enjoy it a pinch
With all our real problems, do we honestly need another Grinch?
So to my friends and my colleagues I say with delight,
A merry Christmas to all,
And to Bill O’Reilly--Happy Holidays.

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