Friday, September 28, 2007

Progressive Update--09/28/2007

Politics Still Stinks in DelawareJust when you thought that it was safe to feel good about living in Delaware

Crusty, conservative ‘Democrat’ James Vaughn announced on Wednesday the 26th that he was resigning his seat as the 14th district state Senator. He has worked with fellow crusty, conservative ‘Democrats’ Thurman Adams and Nancy Cook to prevent Delaware’s state senate from serving the people. The three ‘crust-kateers’ for years have ruled by iron fists. Adams assigns bills he dislikes to committees chaired by his two buddies, who issue a ‘desk drawer veto’, preventing them from being heard by their committee, and therefore preventing them from reaching the senate floor for a vote. Adams and his buddies continue to vote down a change to senate rules to stop this awful practice.

This oligarchy has permitted good progressive legislation to be held up by a Senate that on paper is in Democrat’s hands, including removing the legislature's exemption from FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act. The Senate isn’t really in Democratic hands, it is in the hands of Adams and his conservative cronies, who have corrupted the entire concept of democracy.

There was hope. Vaughn has been ill for many, many months. He was unable to campaign last fall, and he never made it a single day to work at Dover this year. While I am sorry for his medical problems, and the stress on him and his family and friends, this clearly brought hope that a more reasonable ‘replacement’ could be found. There is a parallel to China, where the population had to wait years until Mao’s generation of leaders had to die off before the next generation of leaders could emerge and offer an alternative vision of the future for the country.

We’re still waiting in Delaware. A few hours after Vaughn submitted his resignation, a joint meeting of the three Representative Districts making up the 14th senatorial district met and unanimously selected state representative Bruce Ennis to run for the vacated seat. Out of the fire, into the frying pan. Did I mention that Ennis was essentially hand-picked by Vaughn, that he is a good buddy to Thurman Adams? I criticized Wayne Smith, the Republican House Majority Leader who resigned to take a job (the next day) as a lobbyist, handpicked his neighbor to run for his seat. Fortunately, the voters of his district rejected this chutzpah and voted in Democrat Bryon Short. Vaughn and Adams have lowered themselves to Smith's level, and continued 'the Delaware way' of backdoor politics at its worst.

Why wasn’t there some public notice for this important meeting where a candidate would be selected, without a primary, to run as ‘the Democrat’ for this seat? The Democratic Party’s rules must be changed to open up this process. Go to your RD committee and push for this, or else we'll be stuck in this time warp for years to come!

I am incensed that Delaware’s state senate can be run by old-guard professional politicians arguably as bad as President Bush’s worst cronies. I had hoped that when Vaughn eventually resigned, a ‘real Democrat’, one who believes in representing the people, not his power brokers, would replace him, and would help tilt the Senate, finally, towards democracy. I had hoped that soon the state senate would truly reflect and represent today's Delaware. These hopes were dashed this week.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, stated that the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice. That was not the case this week in Delaware.

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