Despite the fact that I don't agree with his position or his tactics, I admire Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky) for his display of courage and integrity; something that, on face value, appears in short supply in some of our elected officials. Bunning, a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher, believed enough in his position on paying as you go, to take a stand, even against members of his own party. The fact that that position may have left people without unemployment benefits is less the result of him standing up for what he believed in, and more the result of poor planning by others. He just refused to bail them out. You don't get into any hall of fame without guts and committment. And while there are those who will point to the fact that, since he isn't running for re-election, he has less to lose, he has a history of making his feelings known, regardless of who's listening. A team player in sports, who became an individualist in politics.
On the flip side, we have 36 members of the Minnesota House of Representatives, who two weeks ago felt strongly enough about General Assistance Medical Care, to vote in favor of its continuation. All that changed with the stroke of a pen. Following the Governor's veto, not one maintained their original position. I'm sure each of the people in question, along with all the others who hold office, sought their positions because they believed they had something to offer, and were committed to making things better. So which was their belief, their first vote, or their second?
It begs the question, "what's more important, solidarity or individualism?" Do you vote for you someone who can think on their own, and then stand by it, or for those who rely on others to tell them how to think?
Both in Washington, and now in Minnesota, the norm has become votes along party lines. If that's what we want, then it begs the second question, "why do we need so many legislators?"