The Daily Rant: The Arlen Specter Moment
On the evening of May 18th, this news item came across my desk…
"CNN projection: Sestak beats Specter in Pennsylvania," Posted: May 18th, 2010 10:24 PM ET
I was reminded of the moment this past summer when I knew that his political career was over. In August of 2009 I was watching the town hall meeting he was holding in Lebenon, PA. and the crowd had turned on him. I was watching the situation implode before my eyes and a politician unwilling to stop it. There was genuine anger and frustration in that room, people were showing their disrespect for Mr. Specter and disgust at how low partisan politics had sunk. There were people who were angry about the Health Care Bill H.R. 2300, the TARP and Automakers bail-outs. The were also angry at the tone of Washington and the other politicians. They were bitter about how they were labeled as “racists” simply because they were opponents of this current administrations. The crowd was rough, but the atmosphere became harsher with his responses. Nothing Arlen said won anyone over, his snide arrogance and his condescending tone with every answer and comment didn’t earn him any new supporters.
His trip was almost over, his final destination was metaphorically speaking, the ocean floor. On August 11th 2009 in Lebanon, PA., Arlen Specter lost the special primary that was held this week on May 18th, 2010. His campaign is dead on arrival. His ship came in alright… sadly it was the Lusitania. He was not torpedoed not by tea party goers or anti-incumbent mentality. The sinking of the S.S. Specter is an act of sabotage at the hands of her captain.
What’s happened to Arlen Specter is indicative of the fact that we’ve lost something in this country, the sense of awe and wonder in our leaders. These are cringe and wince filled moments not unlike horrible car accidents or catching your elderly parents naked. You can’t un-see those images any more then you can un-ring a cow bell. Most of the time, the person in the center of it all can’t recover when too much damage has been done.
There was a time in my life when I used to be in awe of people who were possessions of leadership or who were popular. Now that I’m older and I’ve met my share of big names and high ranking officials I now wonder why people seemed to prostate themselves in the presence of someone like elected officials and celebrities. They’re just like us, except they’re just a little luckier or more talented with the benefit of being in the right place at the right time and taking that opportunity to work hard and achieve something. The same thing goes for people who run big companies or organizations - with out people like us who use their products or services, who would they be? The time of respecting someone only because of their social status has long been over for me, and in greater frequency it's coming to an end for other people, too. It’s a good thing because our society is hopefully restoring itself to a meritocracy despite those moments of insanity when we momentary get caught up in a fad or celebrity movement.
It’s sad in a way because we lost people to admire and look up to. The number of people who can genuinely be called "role model" is quickly diminishing. It’s just a sad moment in our lives when people are disrespectful of others, especially when they’re our leaders. There’s something depressing about watching people who are enjoying tearing people down and commentary about our society. It’s even mournful when those leaders deserve to lose the respect of the constituency.
But seeing this happen to Mr. Specter, I can’t help think that it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.
What was the last time you watched a politician self-destruct?