What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mississippi Dems: Thank you, Mike Moore. Next?

by Ana Maria

I recall a lecture I attended years ago in which the lecturer discussed what activists can learn from nuns in a convent when they decide to retire from service after many years of devotion in a particular arena. In the secular world, we mourn the loss of a great leader when she or he decides to turn their attention to other endeavors. We also attempt to chide them or guilt trip them into retaining their position.

However, the lecturer informed us, in a convent, the nun retiring from service is afforded a well-deserved respect for their service. Ironic as it may be, guilt tripping the nun into abandoning their wishes to move into another direction is a sign of disrespect. The nuns have given the community a gift, the woman informed us, and it is time to allow others the opportunity to step into the role, to invest their talents, and to provide us the gift of their investment’s harvest.

Having grown up in a strong Catholic household complete with a Catholic education from kindergarten until I graduated from high school, I remember thinking how ironic that a Catholic institution would NOT guilt trip and would find it disrespectful. Nevertheless, the lesson took hold, forever changing how I responded when folks decided to change the direction of their lives. After all, it is their lives, their talent and time.

When it comes to elected office, the one thing that we, the public, don’t really get until we see things up close and personal is the enormous sacrifice to one’s personal life and one’s privacy once in elected office. To be in public office—whether one is a Democrat or Republican, Blue Dog, Yellow Dog, and some other kind of dog—requires a desire, a fire in the belly, a conscious decision to embrace the 24/7 life that public office demands. A sacrifice that every member of the politician's family endures.

After having learned about then read Mike Moore’s decision not to run for the U.S. Senate seat here in Mississippi, I thought of the lecture I had attended over 20 years ago. It is time to thank Mike Moore for the fruits of his labor over nearly three decades of his public service. It is time to be grateful that Mike Moore considered running for the office of U.S. Senate and to respect his decision not to run.

Thank you, Mike Moore.

Obviously, it is perfect time to implement the lessons I learned in that lecture of over 20 years ago. It is time to open our minds to look around to see who desires to step up to the plate and run for this important public office. Who wants it? Who is going to run? Who can give us the leadership we need? Who will actually make South Mississippi’s vibrant recovery—including insurance reform—a priority when they take the oath of office? When it comes to the political arena, I’m a pragmatic progressive. So the next question is who else can actually win the election.

Democrats still have a golden opportunity to win this U.S. Senate seat. We need to make this about winning the seat. Period. We’ve not a moment to lose. We must quickly settle on one candidate, push hard, and win the special election. The forces that would have supported a Mike Moore campaign must make the same commitment to support to the same degree whomever this next person is that will emerge.

Politically-speaking, we need to suit up, exploit our strengths, and shore up the areas that need more resources so that we can have a gloriously celebratory election night victory and one hell of a party once our candidate is formally sworn into office.

The goal remains the same. What is at stake remains the same. We must make our commitment the same. Whoever this Democratic soul is that will emerge to carry forth the Democratic mantle, I intend to leverage all of my resources, talents, expertise, and experience so we can be victorious come election night.

My hope is that Democrats realize that that is the smart, pragmatic thing to do. EAft er all, elections matter. The public policies created (multiple perils insurance legislation) or not (insurance industry exemption from anti trust laws) matter. Checks and balances between the executive branch (i.e. FEMA) and the legislative branch (i.e. House and Senate) matter. Who is sitting in an elected position matters.

We in South Mississippi know that our recovery depends on our ability to have the strongest possible advocates we can elect to federal office. We already have the strongest advocate possible in the House of Representatives—Congressman Gene Taylor. Now we need to elect the strongest possible advocate in the U.S. Senate. That will be whomever emerges next from the Democratic camp.

When it comes to heart, brains, and compassion, Republicans talk the talk. Historically, though, Democrats walk the walk. To ensure South Mississippi’s vibrant recovery, we need to elect someone with well worn walking shoes.

© 2007 Ana Maria Rosato. All rights reserved.
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