Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing” drove compelling discussions about cultural and race in my circle of friends. In the book Lee wrote about making this movie and in interviews, he refused pointing the finger of blame at any one character for the riot that erupted in the plot. Film-making is an art and the viewers in this medium make their conclusions ultimately.
Danny Aiello’s character Sal owned a pizzeria in a transitioning neighborhood. While people in the community grew up on Sal’s slices, it was clear that the Sal’s family “tolerated” the area out of business necessitate.
When I think about the Blue Dog Democrats, I see a similar situation. I was proud of most Blue Dogs for taking the town hall meeting heat this month and slowing the rush to pass a massive health care reform bill before August recess. The protesters deserve some credit also but they need to understand that a member of congress who easily wins elections must defer to those ballot results first.
Long servicing Blue Dogs are starting to look like “I don’t need this juggling stuff in my life.” If the Blue Dogs helped conservatives with issues during the Bush years, some of those conservatives in their districts should reciprocate on some level now. Federal retirement could be looming for some members of congress and political observers should remember that the total number of years for retirement includes time in congress, the federal bureaucracy and military. As the possible full retirement year approaches, members (like school teachers) might decide to ride the wave without rocking the boat or tell it like it is.
Like retirees in barbershops, these public servants can finally speak their minds with secondary consideration for pensions. I had to smile pleasingly when I saw a few normally tactful Blue Dog show some bite when protesters questions did not give them the same respect conservatives received while supporting Bush/Cheney debatable policies. While voting the party line on the far-left and far-right is easy, Blue Dog Democrats and the few moderate Republicans must analysis every vote to make decisions that best serve their diverse districts or states.
Like Sal in “Do The Right Thing,” they must also decide when enough is enough and if closing shop would be better than continued conflict and aggravation—getting out before a riot jumps off. On the bright side, Sal could have moved his business to a suburban mall and moderates on both sides of the aisle could move to better situations in the executive branch, private sector or academia—President Obama’s White House seems to like Republicans more than Blue Dogs. While I am not the best person on faith matters, this situation makes me think of Luke 9:25:
For what is a man profited if he gains the whole word, and loses or forfeits himself?
Discussions about using the reconciliation process in congress to pass health care reform makes me think about those brave Democrats who voted for Bill Clinton’s Budget Reconciliation Act in the early 90s and were defeated by smirking Republicans in the mid-term elections. History has proven that Clinton was right but many Democrats in safe districts conveniently voted against that important legislation to save their seats.
“I am voting the wishes of my districts.” But what should a member do when his/her district has formulated opinions based on deliberate misinformation efforts. Like Georgia native and eulogizer of Malcolm X, Ossie Davis’s character said in the Spike Lee’s film, always try and do the right thing.