Sign in to follow this  
Sean

John Dingell: My last words for America

Recommended Posts

By John D. Dingell
February 8 at 4:03 PM

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.

Think about it:

Impoverishment of the elderly because of medical expenses was a common and often accepted occurrence. Opponents of the Medicare program that saved the elderly from that cruel fate called it “socialized medicine.” Remember that slander if there’s a sustained revival of silly red-baiting today.

 

Not five decades ago, much of the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth — our own Great Lakes — were closed to swimming and fishing and other recreational pursuits because of chemical and bacteriological contamination from untreated industrial and wastewater disposal. Today the Great Lakes are so hospitable to marine life that one of our biggest challenges is controlling the invasive species that have made them their new home.

We regularly used and consumed foods, drugs, chemicals and other things (cigarettes) that were legal, promoted and actively harmful. Hazardous wastes were dumped on empty plots in the dead of night. There were few if any restrictions on industrial emissions. We had only the barest scientific knowledge of the long-term consequences of any of this.

And there was a great stain on America, in the form of our legacy of racial discrimination. There were good people of all colors who banded together, risking and even losing their lives to erase the legal and other barriers that held Americans down. In their time they were often demonized and targeted, much like other vulnerable men and women today.

Please note: All of these challenges were addressed by Congress. Maybe not as fast as we wanted, or as perfectly as hoped. The work is certainly not finished. But we’ve made progress — and in every case, from the passage of Medicare through the passage of civil rights, we did it with the support of Democrats and Republicans who considered themselves first and foremost to be Americans.

I’m immensely proud, and eternally grateful, for having had the opportunity to play a part in all of these efforts during my service in Congress. And it’s simply not possible for me to adequately repay the love that my friends, neighbors and family have given me and shown me during my public service and retirement.

But I would be remiss in not acknowledging the forgiveness and sweetness of the woman who has essentially supported me for almost 40 years: my wife, Deborah. And it is a source of great satisfaction to know that she is among the largest group of women to have ever served in the Congress (as she busily recruits more).

In my life and career I have often heard it said that so-and-so has real power — as in, “the powerful Wile E. Coyote, chairman of the Capture the Road Runner Committee.”

It’s an expression that has always grated on me. In democratic government, elected officials do not have power. They holdpower — 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).

I never forgot the people who gave me the privilege of representing them. It was a lesson learned at home from my father and mother, and one I have tried to impart to the people I’ve served with and employed over the years.

As I prepare to leave this all behind, I now leave you in control of the greatest nation of mankind and pray God gives you the wisdom to understand the responsibility you hold in your hands.

May God bless you all, and may God bless America.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He was a good 'un...... Too bad his words will fall on deaf ears in this administration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I knew a guy who was a semi big shot in the local Dem party. At one time he ran and worked on a lot of campaigns. Ran the local party org for a while ... hated Dingell and his wife. Thought they were giant assholes who treated their campaign volunteer workers like shit.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, chinabald said:

I knew a guy who was a semi big shot in the local Dem party. At one time he ran and worked on a lot of campaigns. Ran the local party org for a while ... hated Dingell and his wife. Thought they were giant assholes who treated their campaign volunteer workers like shit.  

Maybe they were, at least sometimes. Steve Jobs was an enormous asshole sometimes but contributed anyway.

He's right that we bicker more loudly over issues of less consequence today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, chinabald said:

I knew a guy who was a semi big shot in the local Dem party. At one time he ran and worked on a lot of campaigns. Ran the local party org for a while ... hated Dingell and his wife. Thought they were giant assholes who treated their campaign volunteer workers like shit.  

Probably true - he only got re-elected 30 times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, chinabald said:

I knew a guy who was a semi big shot in the local Dem party. At one time he ran and worked on a lot of campaigns. Ran the local party org for a while ... hated Dingell and his wife. Thought they were giant assholes who treated their campaign volunteer workers like shit.  

Maybe? Probably?

I wonder if they really let giant assholes serve on the NRA Board?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Contumacious Tom said:

I wonder if they really let giant assholes serve on the NRA Board?

I think that would be mandatory.  

I liked Dingell and if you look at his tweets, he was more clever in his last week of life than most are at any point.  (and yes, he was my congressman from birth to a few years ago when his wife took over)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

4 hours ago, Contumacious Tom said:

Maybe? Probably?

I wonder if they really let giant assholes serve on the NRA Board?

I'm certain they do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Cal20sailor said:

I think that would be mandatory.  

I liked Dingell and if you look at his tweets, he was more clever in his last week of than most are at any point.  (and yes, he was my congressman from birth to a few years ago when his wife took over)

If you were older his Dad too. Family business since 1935. 

I never knew the man, I always thought he was the poster child for term limits. People vote for the name too often. I wonder in 1955 how many people realized they were voting for Junior and not Senior?

I'm sure a man, in hospice, on his death bed was writing his own tweets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, chinabald said:

If you were older his Dad too. Family business since 1935. 

I never knew the man, I always thought he was the poster child for term limits. People vote for the name too often. I wonder in 1955 how many people realized they were voting for Junior and not Senior?

I'm sure a man, in hospice, on his death bed was writing his own tweets.

He was dictating to his wife.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Mickey Rat said:

There needs to be term limits. 2 terms maximum. 

 

You mean in Congress?  POTUS already has that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to think term limits were a good idea but if intellectual giants like The Rat are in favour of them I may have to re-think my position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Sean said:

:D

 

IMG_4877.PNG

 

From John Dingell's lipt to God's ear!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

From John Dingell's lipt to God's ear!

 In some ways, yes. ;)

 

1 hour ago, Ishmael said:

He was dictating to his wife.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Noting an honorable man's passing, Walter Jones.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/walter-jones-freedom-fries-congressman-who-became-iraq-war-critic-dies-at-76/2019/02/10/39aa38b6-232e-11e9-ad53-824486280311_story.html

He was the Freedom Fries guy who eventually became a prominent war critic, that all I knew, and spent the remaining days of his career writing a personal letter to the family of every soldier who was killed there, which I didn't.

The passage in the obituary where Jones figures things out will pull a tear from the driest eye.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Olsonist said:

Noting an honorable man's passing, Walter Jones.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/walter-jones-freedom-fries-congressman-who-became-iraq-war-critic-dies-at-76/2019/02/10/39aa38b6-232e-11e9-ad53-824486280311_story.html

He was the Freedom Fries guy who eventually became a prominent war critic, that all I knew, and spent the remaining days of his career writing a personal letter to the family of every soldier who was killed there, which I didn't.

The passage in the obituary where Jones figures things out will pull a tear from the driest eye.

He was my representative in Congress, and a good man. Wish I could vote for him again coming up.

-DSK

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

He was my representative in Congress, and a good man. Wish I could vote for him again coming up.

-DSK

Dingell and Jones inherited their father's office, like Gore and Murkowski and others.

Career politicians and political dynasties create a political class which not healthy for a nation.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Mister Minister, but Walter Jones Sr. (D-NC) announced his retirement in 1992 and died on September 15, 1992. Walter Jones Jr. ran as a Democrat in the 1992 but didn't win the runoff. He then re-ran as a Republican in 1994 and won.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Saorsa said:
30 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

He was my representative in Congress, and a good man. Wish I could vote for him again coming up.

-DSK

Dingell and Jones inherited their father's office, like Gore and Murkowski and others.

Career politicians and political dynasties create a political class which not healthy for a nation.

I can see where you would dislike Mr. Jones, since he was anathema to a lot of other Republicans. He was always his own man, not a party animal.

I've had the honor and pleasure of meeting him in person about a dozen times, and if more "career politicians" were like him in putting their interest in their constituents higher on their priority list, it would be far different. But you'd probably still hate them.

-DSK

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Olsonist said:

Sorry Mister Minister, but Walter Jones Sr. (D-NC) announced his retirement in 1992 and died on September 15, 1992. Walter Jones Jr. ran as a Democrat in the 1992 but didn't win the runoff. He then re-ran as a Republican in 1994 and won.

Same old shit, different day.

Did changing his label from D to R actually change him?  Or, was it just political expediency.

I mentioned to Steamer in the past that the Republicans he hates today were democrats in the past.  I doubt that the person changed when the label did.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Saorsa said:

Same old shit, different day.

Did changing his label from D to R actually change him?  Or, was it just political expediency.

I mentioned to Steamer in the past that the Republicans he hates today were democrats in the past.  I doubt that the person changed when the label did.

 

Do I hate Republicans?

Doesn't seem so to me, I just point out when they are hypocrits, or hold destructive policies, or support racism. Same would be true of Democrats if it were as common; but generally Democrats are prone to a large number of lesser failings (which I occasionally mock them for, too).

-DSK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/9/2019 at 9:18 AM, chinabald said:

If you were older his Dad too. Family business since 1935. 

I never knew the man, I always thought he was the poster child for term limits. People vote for the name too often. I wonder in 1955 how many people realized they were voting for Junior and not Senior?

I'm sure a man, in hospice, on his death bed was writing his own tweets.

So it is bad to come from good?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

... but generally Democrats are prone to a large number of lesser failings (which I occasionally mock them for, too).

And you should.

BTW, apropos dynasties, the Minister didn't put W on his list. Why is that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, hasher said:

So it is bad to come from good?

I think it’s bad in the Detroit area where for a long time half the politicians were qualified by having the same last name as some other politician. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Saorsa said:

Dingell and Jones inherited their father's office, like Gore and Murkowski and others.

Career politicians and political dynasties create a political class which not healthy for a nation.

Your examples are hugely preferable to the current "outsider".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Saorsa said:

Same old shit, different day.

Did changing his label from D to R actually change him? 

 

Merely highlighted the ignorance and/or stupidity of the voters in that district.

All he had to do was get that R behind his name and he was good to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Your examples are hugely preferable to the current "outsider".

Next time run a candidate who knows how to run a campaign.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Saorsa said:

Next time run a candidate who knows how to run a campaign.

 

Maybe she should have had Manafort?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Saorsa said:

Next time run a candidate who knows how to run a campaign.

She too is hugely preferable to the current “outsider” and isn’t known for kissing Putin’s ass as your boy Shitstain is wont to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Saorsa said:

Next time run a candidate who knows how to run a campaign.

Joe Trudeau did run a successful campaign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to a breakfast meeting in DC in the 80’s where John Dingell spoke to about 20 of us for about a half hour followed by some Q&A. An impressive individual to be sure, kind, dedicated, good sense of humor - and whip smart. That used to be reasonably typical of Congressional leaders IME, now rarer than hens teeth. We get what we deserve...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this