Thursday, November 11, 2010

Send a Veteran to Congress


On this Veteran's Day, I find it remarkable that the Republican Party has finally found a military veteran to send to Congress. Most of the military veterans who are in Congress are Democrats. In a Southeastern district of Missouri, a veteran of the Iraq War and a Democrat, Tommy Sowers, tried to defeat the Republican incumbent, but he only managed to get around 29% of the vote. I was sad about his defeat, as I think he would have made a good member of Congress. In Illinois, though, a 32 year old who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan for supposedly five tours of duty, has defeated the Democratic member of Congress. Adam Kinzinger has a frat boy look to him (he looks as though he could be the long lost twin of Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly).

Kinzinger has a girlfriend who works in some non-profit organization and had left Haiti just hours before the earthquake struck the country in January. He will represent the citizens of Bloomington and Normal, Illinois. In nearby Peoria, a single, young Congressman has won his second term: Aaron Schock. I have a bad feeling that these two All-American frat boys are going to be workout buddies in the House gym. Kinzinger might want to be cautious, though, because of the constant rumours about Congressman Schock's sexuality. Hopefully, Kinzinger will marry his sweetheart soon, before the gorgeous interns of Capitol Hill tempt him into some after-hours liaisons. I can see Congressman Kinzinger being quite popular with all the young female interns crawling all over Capitol Hill.

Though I don't agree with a lot of Kinzinger's views (he, like many of the members of our generation who have won political office in the last few years, points to Ronald Reagan as a role model the way an earlier generation cited RFK as their political hero. I must be a Boomer born in the wrong generation, as RFK is my political inspiration), I think its actually great that more members of our generation are coming into power. The sooner we flush out the Baby Boomers, the better. Not that I'm confident that our generation will get it right. I know human nature all too well. People conform to the prevailing system, even when they believe that they won't. It happens in nearly every organization, because that is just the nature of someone with a conformist mindset and the strong desire to fit into the prevailing culture of an organization. Our country is one of the biggest conformist societies ever, though we pretend to value rugged Cowboy individualism. The truth is that truly independent thinkers and non-conformists are marginalized in organizations.

I expect that Adam Kinzinger is likely to become a shining star in the Republican Party. How could he not? He's the rare Republican politician who served in the military, in a combat zone as an Air Force pilot. The Republican Party desperately needs combat veterans in a high profile, to make up for all the chicken hawks who have strutted around in the past couple decades making bad policies.

Below, I have included both Kinzinger's political ad and a statement about why he is running for Congress. On this Veteran's Day, I salute him for his military service as well as his recent victory in last week's election. I hope he will serve honourably and not be swindled by the Teabaggers or the sinister forces within his party. If he plays his cards right, we might see him in higher political office someday (though it is highly unlikely that a Congressman is elevated to the presidency. Perhaps a future position as Senator, Governor, or Vice President will come about in the next decade). If he plays into the paranoid racism of the Teabagger, though, I hope his career goes nowhere. As an elected official, he represents his entire district, even those who voted for his opponent. Winning over supporters from the opposite party is possible when a politician is gracious, fair, and works in a non-partisan manner. Let's hope that he follows that principle.

Happy Veteran's Day!



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