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Old 02-09-2019, 10:11 AM
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"John Dingell: My last words for America"


"John Dingell: My last words for America" (Italics in original)
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John D. Dingell, a Michigan Democrat who served in the U.S. House from 1955 to 2015, was the longest-serving member of Congress in American history. He dictated these reflections to his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), at their home in Dearborn, on Feb. 7, the day he died.

One of the advantages to knowing that your demise is imminent, and that reports of it will not be greatly exaggerated, is that you have a few moments to compose some parting thoughts.

In our modern political age, the presidential bully pulpit seems dedicated to sowing division and denigrating, often in the most irrelevant and infantile personal terms, the political opposition.

And much as I have found Twitter to be a useful means of expression, some occasions merit more than 280 characters.

My personal and political character was formed in a different era that was kinder, if not necessarily gentler. We observed modicums of respect even as we fought, often bitterly and savagely, over issues that were literally life and death to a degree that — fortunately – we see much less of today.
...

In democratic government, elected officials do not have power. They hold power — in trust for the people who elected them. If they misuse or abuse that public trust, it is quite properly revoked (the quicker the better).
....
Piece is not too long. Worth a read.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:30 AM
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I saw it yesterday and was disappointed. Another dying man doesn't have the courage to call Trump out by name? What am I supposed to be impressed by?
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:41 AM
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Not that impressive.

The elderly still go into bankruptcy due to medical bills.

America isn't the greatest nation on earth.

No mention of the rise of neo-fascism or how to combat it.

elected officials are reelected at about 99%. So it doesn't matter how they act, if the people don't care to hold them accountable.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 02-09-2019 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
I saw it yesterday and was disappointed. Another dying man doesn't have the courage to call Trump out by name? What am I supposed to be impressed by?
Could it possibly be that his many years on earth gave him the perspective on life to realize that hating Trump is not the be-all and end-all of the world? No, surely it is the dying elderly man who is wrong.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:06 PM
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Tough room.
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“Our government may at some time be in the hands of a bad man. When in the hands of a good man it is all well enough.” But “we ought to have our government so shaped that even when in the hands of a bad man we shall be safe.” Frederick Douglass
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:51 PM
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Tough room.
Really.

Those are fine words, but I suppose the problem is, that sentiment and that way of expressing it should be the default, it should be what would be expected. That it has become something to be remarked upon does leave people shaking their heads...
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:44 AM
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not a tough room, a thoughtless one.

After 60 years of doing the job, he has learned how to do the job well. Denigrating the opposition doesn't accomplish anything good. Opposing the opposition, as he said, is important and a critical part of the job. But one must perform that opposition with respect-even when the respect isn't earned. Especially when it isn't earned.

By this time one would hope that the entire country has learned that very few things lasting or good are accomplished by one-sided politics. ACA passed without any Repub. votes. And suffered an unending string of difficulties and limitations because of it. Trumps wall isn't getting any Dem. votes, and won't get built because of it.
Criminal justice reform recently passed because it had bipartisan support. While the D and R bases don't seem to be getting the message, the politicians and the rest of us should be. Dems are going to learn that extreme messages a) fail to become law and b) motivate the opposition. Reps are learning that extreme messages a) fail to become law and b) motivate the opposition. While each side energizes their base, the country is worse off because of it.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:24 AM
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So all that just to say, "Be nicer to each other."? Pompous windbag.

I liked Millard Fillmore's last words better. "The nourishment is palatable."
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
Tough room.
The problem is America has serious issues, and politicians just want to offer empty promises and pablum about 'America is the greatest country on earth'.

Income inequality is extremely high. Health care is unaffordable. Climate change is a serious issue. Neofascism is on the rise. The wealthy are buying up the houses and making real estate unaffordable. The banks are bigger than they were before the crisis. Resource depletion is an issue.

Instead of addressing these problems (which would require making rich people angry, and neither party wants to do that) politicians just ignore them and tell us we're the greatest country on earth. It gets old.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 02-10-2019 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by skyr View Post
Could it possibly be that his many years on earth gave him the perspective on life to realize that hating Trump is not the be-all and end-all of the world? No, surely it is the dying elderly man who is wrong.
It's not about "hating Trump"; his letter isn't about hate at all. It's about calling out the one person who is spearheading this mess we are in. He meant Trump but he wouldn't say Trump. His final act comes across as cowardice, not of commitment. A man with nothing to lose still couldn't face his fear, is how it comes across to me.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 02-10-2019 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:53 PM
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I thought it was a good message and appropriate. I didn't post it to impress anyone. Maybe Dingell didn't want to spend his last minutes on earth down in the sewer with thump's name on his lips.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:07 PM
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I'm impressed that he worked in the name 'Wile E. Coyote'.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
It's not about "hating Trump"; his letter isn't about hate at all. It's about calling out the one person who is spearheading this mess we are in. He meant Trump but he wouldn't say Trump. His final act comes across as cowardice, not of commitment. A man with nothing to lose still couldn't face his fear, is how it comes across to me.
Do you know who John Dingell is? Have you followed him for the last few years? He called out Trump frequently, by name. Just last week, he responded to one of Trump's inane tweets gloating about the Virginia governor mess with "Buddy, I think you might want to sit this one out."

He retired before Trump was elected so he never had the chance to call him out while a member of Congress, but his tenure shows anything by cowardice. He held the gavel for the passage of Medicare in 1965, he was an advocate for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he helped write the Affordable Care Act, he coauthored the Clean Water Act, and helped with the creation of Medicaid. In honor of his father, he introduced a bill for single-payer healthcare every year he was in Congress.

The guy deserves a little more than, "yeah, but his final words didn't attack Trump by name."
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by TroutMan View Post
Do you know who John Dingell is? Have you followed him for the last few years? He called out Trump frequently, by name. Just last week, he responded to one of Trump's inane tweets gloating about the Virginia governor mess with "Buddy, I think you might want to sit this one out."

He retired before Trump was elected so he never had the chance to call him out while a member of Congress, but his tenure shows anything by cowardice. He held the gavel for the passage of Medicare in 1965, he was an advocate for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he helped write the Affordable Care Act, he coauthored the Clean Water Act, and helped with the creation of Medicaid. In honor of his father, he introduced a bill for single-payer healthcare every year he was in Congress.

The guy deserves a little more than, "yeah, but his final words didn't attack Trump by name."
Awesome; thanks for the info. No; I didn't really know much at all about him. But his final words didn't attack Trump by name. And this thread is specifically about his final words. /shrug
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
Awesome; thanks for the info. No; I didn't really know much at all about him. But his final words didn't attack Trump by name. And this thread is specifically about his final words. /shrug

Dude's done more for this country than you or most people could ever dream, yet his dying words didn't meet some arbitrary standard you established for true resistance.

Perhaps if you had bothered to learn a little more about him and his life, his final words would've had a bit more context. I worked with the Congressman, he was no fucking coward.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
Dude's done more for this country than you or most people could ever dream, yet his dying words didn't meet some arbitrary standard you established for true resistance.

Perhaps if you had bothered to learn a little more about him and his life, his final words would've had a bit more context. I worked with the Congressman, he was no fucking coward.
Good for you; I'm glad. I'm glad to know what TroutMan told me, too. I'm under no obligation to read his biography or in any way be an expert on his life in order to comment on his final words, which is what this thread is about.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:47 AM
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Dingell was born in 1926. He had seen the German American Bund, and the Silver Legion, and the John Birch Society, and McCarthy, and Nixon. He had seen them come, and he had seen them go. I don't believe he liked Trump, but I don't believe he obsessed over Trump.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:34 PM
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But his final words didn't attack Trump by name. And this thread is specifically about his final words. /shrug
It's just an odd complaint. It would be one thing to disagree with what he said. But complaining because he didn't say something you wanted to hear?

The list of things he didn't say is quite long. Why did his last words need to include Trump to satisfy you? He didn't mention global warming or climate change either - is that a problem?
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:54 PM
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It was a fine farewell. I'm not much of a politico, and really knew nothing about the man, but I believe that addressing Trump by name would be counter-productive. Talking about Twitter targeted the president just fine, without giving Donnie the honor of a name check.

I enjoyed the statement, and the reminders of how much progress we've made in the last 60 years, and how important it is not to let that progress slip away.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:10 PM
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Last December he wrote an excellent op-ed for The Atlantic, "I Served in Congress Longer Than Anyone. Here’s How to Fix It."

None of that will ever happen, but I really enjoyed reading it.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:40 PM
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One of Dingell's aides reminisced that, after every public appearance, afterwards in the car driving away, Dingell would always ask him, "how was I with the people? Was I kind?"

He sincerely desired input into how he presented himself, how he carried himself. He was caring and he was authentic.

Nothing to do with his last words, I know. But for those who did not know him, know that he was very highly regarded as a person.


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