I See Better Days Ahead

It’s been seven weeks since I wrote my last commentary for the NTD News.  – Wow, that time went by fast! — So now I will attempt to get back into my commentary groove. During those weeks I did enjoy taking a break from visiting Donald Trump’s psychotic incompetence, his MAGA followers’ inexplicable blindness and the Republican Party’s spineless acceptance of the President’s dangerous whims.

Of course, I was never completely relieved from thinking about all that stuff. Each day’s news made sure of that. Last night’s presidential address from the Oval Office was just the most recent event in a growing collection of bizarre presidential moments that will someday fill history’s embarrassing chapter about America’s 45th President.

But getting back to my involvement with the NTD News, I must say that although I have frequently used this newsletter to vent my frustration and anger over President Trump and his enablers, I have tried to keep that from being this newsletter’s purpose. Whenever possible, I’ve tried to present reasons for all of us to not turn our backs on the critically important struggle we progressives face — for the good of our country and the world.

Each week I’ve tried to remind every reader (as well as myself) that we can’t stop believing that a better government is possible if we all stick with it. Last November’s mid-term elections certainly bolstered my hopes for the future. And even though we’re only into the first few days of the Democratic Party’s House majority in the 116th Congress, I feel sure that in the coming months, writing about the ideas and legislation generated by the new Democrats in the U.S. House will be a welcome pleasure.

The reason for my optimism was sparked by what I saw this past Sunday as I watched four of those new House Democrats sit in a round-table interview with Face The Nation‘s Margaret Brennan: 

Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), age 32, is a graduate of Wesleyan University with an MS degree from the London School of Economics, University of Oxford. He is former Army Ranger officer, a veteran of Afghanistan, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient and an impressively reasonable and articulate young man.

Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), age 35, is a Baylor graduate and retired NFL Tennesee Titans linebacker who went on to earn a JD law degree from Berkeley. He defeated an incumbent Republican who had held his district’s congressional seat for 15 years. Allred was elected co-president of the 116th Congressional Freshman Class.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), 46 , is mother of four. She’s a Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who served 9 years in the Navy achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander. She holds an MS degree from the London School of Economics, and a JD degree from Georgetown University.

Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn), 45, is married, has four children and is the first black Democratic House member from Connecticut. She had a difficult upbringing where street violence was a fact of life. She holds a Masters Degree in curriculum and instruction from University of St. Joseph and in 2016 was named Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year.

“Thrilling” is the best word I can think of to describe the experience of watching these remarkable young congress members discuss national issues. What a wonderful change from so many past Sunday mornings that settled for the hollow mouthings of Paul Ryan’s mediocre crew.

And what is so encouraging about what I witnessed last Sunday is that there are dozens more bright, young congressional Democrats who will be adding fresh perspectives to the national dialogue. — That includes our region’s own impressive new additions to Washington, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and Congressman Sean Casten.

No doubt 2019 will be a tumultuous year. The 2020 presidential campaigns have already begun, and who knows what craziness may yet be generated by an insecure Donald Trump. Even so, the quality and fresh perspectives of the new Democratic majority in the House is a solid start for better days ahead.

I’m looking forward to it. Hope you are too.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973

P.S. If you’d like to view the Face The Nation interview with the new House Democrats mentioned above, go to the YouTube website and search for “Face the Nation, January 6, 2019.” You should get a choice of program segments. It’s worth viewing.