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Fri Feb 8, 2019, 04:37 PM

John Dingell: My last words for America


By John D. Dingell February 8 at 4:03 PM

John D. Dingell, a Michigan Democrat who served in the U.S. House from 1955 to 2015, was the longest-serving member of Congress in American history. He dictated these reflections to his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), at their home in Dearborn, on Feb. 7, the day he died.

One of the advantages to knowing that your demise is imminent, and that reports of it will not be greatly exaggerated, is that you have a few moments to compose some parting thoughts.

In our modern political age, the presidential bully pulpit seems dedicated to sowing division and denigrating, often in the most irrelevant and infantile personal terms, the political opposition.

And much as I have found Twitter to be a useful means of expression, some occasions merit more than 280 characters.

My personal and political character was formed in a different era that was kinder, if not necessarily gentler. We observed modicums of respect even as we fought, often bitterly and savagely, over issues that were literally life and death to a degree that — fortunately – we see much less of today.

Think about it:

Impoverishment of the elderly because of medical expenses was a common and often accepted occurrence. Opponents of the Medicare program that saved the elderly from that cruel fate called it “socialized medicine.” Remember that slander if there’s a sustained revival of silly red-baiting today.

Not five decades ago, much of the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth — our own Great Lakes — were closed to swimming and fishing and other recreational pursuits because of chemical and bacteriological contamination from untreated industrial and wastewater disposal. Today the Great Lakes are so hospitable to marine life that one of our biggest challenges is controlling the invasive species that have made them their new home.

We regularly used and consumed foods, drugs, chemicals and other things (cigarettes) that were legal, promoted and actively harmful. Hazardous wastes were dumped on empty plots in the dead of night. There were few if any restrictions on industrial emissions. We had only the barest scientific knowledge of the long-term consequences of any of this.

And there was a great stain on America, in the form of our legacy of racial discrimination. There were good people of all colors who banded together, risking and even losing their lives to erase the legal and other barriers that held Americans down. In their time they were often demonized and targeted, much like other vulnerable men and women today.

Please note: All of these challenges were addressed by Congress. Maybe not as fast as we wanted, or as perfectly as hoped. The work is certainly not finished. But we’ve made progress — and in every case, from the passage of Medicare through the passage of civil rights, we did it with the support of Democrats and Republicans who considered themselves first and foremost to be Americans.

I’m immensely proud, and eternally grateful, for having had the opportunity to play a part in all of these efforts during my service in Congress. And it’s simply not possible for me to adequately repay the love that my friends, neighbors and family have given me and shown me during my public service and retirement.

But I would be remiss in not acknowledging the forgiveness and sweetness of the woman who has essentially supported me for almost 40 years: my wife, Deborah. And it is a source of great satisfaction to know that she is among the largest group of women to have ever served in the Congress (as she busily recruits more).

In my life and career I have often heard it said that so-and-so has real power — as in, “the powerful Wile E. Coyote, chairman of the Capture the Road Runner Committee.”

It’s an expression that has always grated on me. In democratic government, elected officials do not have power. They hold power — in trust for the people who elected them. If they misuse or abuse that public trust, it is quite properly revoked (the quicker the better).

I never forgot the people who gave me the privilege of representing them. It was a lesson learned at home from my father and mother, and one I have tried to impart to the people I’ve served with and employed over the years.

As I prepare to leave this all behind, I now leave you in control of the greatest nation of mankind and pray God gives you the wisdom to understand the responsibility you hold in your hands.

May God bless you all, and may God bless America.

###

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/john-dingell-my-last-words-for-america/2019/02/08/99220186-2bd3-11e9-984d-9b8fba003e81_story.html

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Reply John Dingell: My last words for America (Original post)
DonViejo Feb 8 OP
dalton99a Feb 8 #1
JHan Feb 8 #2
WheelWalker Feb 8 #3
UpInArms Feb 8 #4
madamesilverspurs Feb 8 #5
essme Feb 8 #6
malaise Feb 8 #7
spanone Feb 8 #8
LovingA2andMI Feb 8 #9
TygrBright Feb 8 #10
yonder Feb 8 #34
DirtEdonE Feb 9 #46
Jarqui Feb 8 #11
Ferrets are Cool Feb 8 #12
mcar Feb 8 #13
NurseJackie Feb 8 #14
smirkymonkey Feb 8 #15
Dem2theMax Feb 8 #16
sellitman Feb 8 #17
kentuck Feb 8 #18
Hekate Feb 8 #19
SCantiGOP Feb 8 #20
Duppers Feb 8 #21
demmiblue Feb 8 #22
Blue_true Feb 8 #29
keithbvadu2 Feb 8 #23
riverwalker Feb 8 #24
FakeNoose Feb 8 #25
Fresh_Start Feb 8 #26
WestLosAngelesGal Feb 8 #27
Blue_true Feb 8 #32
pazzyanne Feb 8 #28
ZeroSomeBrains Feb 8 #30
2naSalit Feb 8 #31
hay rick Feb 8 #33
k8conant Feb 8 #35
DownriverDem Feb 8 #36
MaryMagdaline Feb 8 #37
Honeycombe8 Feb 8 #38
Judi Lynn Feb 8 #39
murielm99 Feb 9 #40
xxqqqzme Feb 9 #41
c-rational Feb 9 #42
SWBTATTReg Feb 9 #43
Power 2 the People Feb 9 #44
UniteFightBack Feb 9 #45
kentuck Feb 9 #47

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 04:39 PM

1. Kick

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 04:41 PM

2. K&R

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 04:42 PM

3. Kick

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:06 PM

4. Rest well, brave and good sir

You will be missed

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:07 PM

5. We can but hope

that he was not the last of his kind.


.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:11 PM

6. He was a good person and decent representative.

He will be missed dearly in this age of stupidity.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:12 PM

7. What a great man

Wonderful

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:14 PM

8. K&R...👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

Thank You Sir. RIP

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:36 PM

9. KICK INDEED....

RIP Dean Dingell.....

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:37 PM

10. "elected officials do not have power. They hold power -- in trust for the people who elected them."

THIS is the essence of democracy.

Thank you, Sir.

respectfully,
Bright

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:34 PM

34. Yes, that distinction stood out for me too. Wise words from a wise man.

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 9, 2019, 02:29 PM

46. When they abuse that trust

They MUST be held accountable or there is no reason to honor that trust.

pubicans are rarely held accountable. That's why we're in the shape we're in today. I'm all for bipartisanship but a famous pubican so-called braintrust, Grover Norquist of no-tax fame, once famously said, "Bipartisanship is another name for date rape."

How many times are we Democrats going to be date raped before we realize there is NO such thing as bipartisanship with these traitors?

I feel terrible having to put this into these terms in light of the inspiring, brilliant, inclusive words of Rep. Dingell but we can't be lulled into thinking the pubicans will EVER be worth dealing with.

They've shown their true face and it's an ugly face that will never be forgotten. Or forgotten only at our own peril.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:42 PM

11. Kick

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:54 PM

12. K and R

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:57 PM

13. What a beautiful last message

Godspeed, John Dingell.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:01 PM

14. Beautiful! What a wonderful man.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:01 PM

15. Thank you John Dingell, for your service and your words of wisdom.

They don't make many like that anymore.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:03 PM

16. Giving us everything he had, right to the end.

What an incredible human being. We were so lucky to have him.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:05 PM

17. We will all miss him

His like is scarce.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:15 PM

18. What great parting words from a great Congressman !

"In democratic government, elected officials do not have power. They hold power — in trust for the people who elected them."

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:15 PM

19. The Honorable John Dingle -- thank you for your service, and Rest in Peace, sir

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:16 PM

20. Take a minute to read through his Twitter feed

His Dad, who held the seat before him, introduced a universal single-payer health care bill every year, and it became the core of the Medicare law that passed in 1965.

I just hope the next generation of radical progressives is as true to the cause as he was for almost a century.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:23 PM

21. What great wisdom and humility.

He was a great, great person.


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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:27 PM

22. Kicking to read later, because I just can't right now.

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Response to demmiblue (Reply #22)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:08 PM

29. It is a powerful, inspirational message. I felt much better after reading it. nt

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:38 PM

23. But he never loved America enough to give a free trillion dollar gift to the rich, did he?

But he never loved America enough to give a free trillion dollar gift to the rich, did he?

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:42 PM

24. Most moving thing I've ever read

😢. What a loss for our country when we need people like him the most. 🙏.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:51 PM

25. What a wonderful inspiring message from a great American



Sir, I salute you and thank you for your service!

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 06:54 PM

26. K&R

A model of what we should hope for in government.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:03 PM

27. Wise and inspiring words

I got choked up reading this. What a meaningful farewell.

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Response to WestLosAngelesGal (Reply #27)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:11 PM

32. Sure was, a model of how a public servant should go out. nt

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:04 PM

28. Great man and patriot right up to the end of his life.

He was one of my first political heroes. His legacy is amazing!
Rest in peace, John!

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:09 PM

30. K&R

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:11 PM

31. K&R!

Thank you!

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:24 PM

33. K&R

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:36 PM

35. John Dingell was my representative for about 25 years.

May his memory be eternal!

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Response to k8conant (Reply #35)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:41 PM

36. Mine too

Now his very capable wife, Debbie, is my rep. When my Mom retired, she volunteered 3 days a week in Mr. Dingell's Dearborn office. So many memories... I am planning on going to his funeral.

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Response to DownriverDem (Reply #36)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 09:00 PM

37. I will have cousins there as well from Livonia and Taylor

He was much loved in our family

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 09:06 PM

38. Very moving. Very wise. Very motivating. May he rest in peace.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 09:21 PM

39. May he rest in peace. People of honor are in short supply. He will be missed.

Thank you.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2019, 12:26 AM

40. Michigan was so lucky to have him,

his father, and now his wife.

Don't tell me there is something wrong with political "dynasties." Some families are born to and dedicated to public service.

RIP, sir.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2019, 03:34 AM

41. What a lovely, thoughtful

man. If you were fortunate to have him as your representative, what a gift you enjoyed.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2019, 09:51 AM

42. Thank you John Dingell and Godspeed. We need more like you.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2019, 10:53 AM

43. An amazing person. RIP.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2019, 02:10 PM

44. K&R

RIP Congressman.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2019, 02:16 PM

45. "Elected officials do not have power, they hold power - IN TRUST for the people that elected them"

Worth repeating often. Thank you Sir. You are a fine example of why there IS more good than bad in America.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2019, 03:29 PM

47. Bookmarked!

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