There seems to be constant clamoring for more moderation in Washington, D.C., and yet when we have someone who actually embodies this ideal, like Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, as soon as they’re up for re-election, we criticize them. Scott Brown is the type of politician that I can admire, which is why I truly hope that he is re-elected to the United States Senate.
Brown is currently serving a partial term in the Senate after being elected in a special election to fill the seat held by long-time Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, the younger brother of former President John F. Kennedy. He is a Republican and the seat has traditionally been held by Democrats, making this election a particularly competitive one.
Politics has always been a dirty game, but the current polarization has become a serious problem. We complain about the lack of moderation in politics, but we’re voting out all of the moderates. That’s not a sustainable path to be on if we want a government that will continue to be effective. I don’t think that our government can continue on the path it is currently on; when someone like Brown comes along and tries to be a bit more moderate, that’s something we need to praise.
As we have never seen her seated in the Senate, it’s difficult to say what kind of legislator Elizabeth Warren, Brown’s opponent, will end up being. She may very well turn out to be a moderate senator from Massachusetts in the same way that Brown currently is. If so, then the country will be stronger for it. However, if she ends up being an extremist, the country will have replaced one of its few moderate voices in Congress. With so few moderates remaining, that’s simply not an option for us.
Brown has been an independent thinker in a country that desperately needs one. On Jan. 17 of this year, Brown posted on Twitter, “I’m going to vote NO on #PIPA and #SOPA. The Internet is too important to our economy.” This was the day before the Jan. 18 blackout of Wikipedia and Reddit that inspired many other legislators to announce their opposition to the legislation, which I consider to be one of the more poorly-thought out works to be proposed in Congress. Brown was willing to vote against it before many others were and for that he deserves praise.
We need more legislators who are independent thinkers like Brown, not fewer. This is not a partisan issue, necessarily. Brown happens to be a relatively liberal Republican, but I would just as easily be able to support a relatively conservative Democrat. These are the types of people we need in Congress – people who are willing to vote the way their constituency actually feels, not just down the party line.
I hope that when this election comes around, the people of Massachusetts will vote Brown into office once more in order to set an example for the rest of the country to follow. If we can no longer respect people for moderate views, we will be in serious trouble in the next few decades.
Joshua Madden is a non-degree seeking graduate student. Please send comments to email@example.com.