What Happened to Jon Tester?

This is a subject that saddens me.

Our American political system has deteriorated into such a polarized, intransigent mess that the only way legislation can be passed is when one party holds the house, the senate, and the presidency.

Now, I’m not saying that every issue should be negotiated, and the parties should always meet in the middle.  In any debate, one side usually is right, and the other is wrong.  If there is gray area the question at hand may be too broad, and should be refined until there is an obvious correct answer, or at least one that a thoughtful, bipartisan majority can agree upon.

In the US Capitol today independent thought, or at least the expression of it, is frowned upon – especially in the Democrat party, as evidenced by their fairly consistent party-line votes for the last many years, and the robotic talking points they recite.

It’s all about the money.  Congressmen are no longer citizen legislators.  Because of the enormous cost of getting elected, candidates must sell their souls to their parties and to their financial backers to even enter a race.  Once elected, they are part of the big money machine.  The federal government has become so huge (and in some cases corrupt) that top-down control is rigidly enforced.  A rebel in the ranks must be quickly brought into line or summarily dispatched.

Even if a legislator starts out well-intentioned, he or she soon finds out that failure to follow instructions is fatal; conversely, going with the party flow can be very rewarding for both careers and pocketbooks.  Isn’t it amazing how legislators become wealthy “one-percenters” so quickly on a civil servant’s salary?  And, once elected, staying in office is pretty easy with access to the big money and the political machine.

A case in point – I was one of Jon Tester’s high school teachers, and he impressed me.  I found him to be an outstanding young man in every way – honest, motivated, sincere, intelligent.  I expected great things from him.  On my return home to Montana after 25 years away, I was not surprised to learn that that he was a state legislator.  A Democrat?  Well, that was something of a surprise.

Senator Jon Tester – (D-Montana)

When he was elected to the US Senate, I really hoped that he would remain the straight-shooting small-town guy I knew from school.  But predictably, it was not to be.

Looking at his voting record, I know that Jon is forced by his party to support many positions that are against the best interests of his fellow Montanans.  If there were no parties, no personal financial interests, no rigid political hierarchies to maintain, I’m sure that Jon would vote quite differently – based on who he was, where he was raised, the values he grew up with, and the needs and wishes of his friends and neighbors.   Instead, he must cater to the government employee unions, the radical environmentalists, and the other special-interest supporters of his party.

So we can no longer vote for a Democrat for Congress based on his or her merits and expressed viewpoints.  We know that his or her personal convictions won’t matter.  Independent Republicans have become an endangered species.  Independent Democrats are now extinct.

I would love to support the guy Jon Tester was.  But because he is now in lock-step with the Democrat party leaders whose actions I can’t condone, I can’t support the senator he has become.  A vote for Jon is a vote for Obamacare, for Harry Reid’s refusal to present passed House bills to the floor or to write a budget, and for bigger government and more debt.  I’m not sure Jon supports any of that stuff in his heart.  But his future votes have already been bought and paid for.

And that’s sad.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I’m looking through you, where did you go?
I thought I knew you, what did I know?
You don’t look different, but you have changed
I’m looking through you, you’re not the same

I’m Looking Through You – the Beatles

4 thoughts on “What Happened to Jon Tester?

  1. People change. Maybe Jon was never the person you thought he was. How could anyone vote to strap their American citizens into unconstitutional Federal control of their healthcare. If you stand for anything as an American you think you would at least stand for FREEDOM. Barb (Education Lady)

  2. I’ve often wondered why Jon left the teaching profession after such a short period of time. Perhaps you have an explanation?

    • I have no idea – I wasn’t in Montana at the time. And I don’t want to give the impression that I know Tester personally, because I don’t. I have been getting offline reports that many Montanans, including his neighbors, were not too pleased with Tester when he was a state legislator.

  3. Maybe there is hope for him after all: http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2012/08/20/sen-jon-tester-keep-up-the-great-work/

    WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) joined thousands of other Americans in supporting the message of the American Energy Alliance (AEA), which is currently promoting affordable energy and manufacturing jobs in a nation-wide bus tour through major energy producing states. Stooping to sign his name on the AEA Products and Power bus, Sen. Tester encouraged AEA to “keep up the great work.” Tester’s name is now added alongside other leaders, including Michael Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan, Rep. Heather Wilson, Republican candidate for the seat of retiring New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman, Montana State Senator Jason Priest, and New Mexico State Senator Gay Kernan.

    “The American Energy Alliance welcomes Sen. Tester’s support of our effort to educate the American people about the promise of our affordable domestic energy sources. Montana’s oil and natural gas industries currently employ more than 40,000 residents, and the state is in the middle of a proposed path for the Keystone XL pipeline that President Obama’s policies have halted. The state is also home to more than a quarter of the country’s estimated coal reserves, which despite the EPA’s efforts to kill the coal industry keep thousands of Montanans employed and have made the state’s electricity prices about 25 percent lower than the national average,” AEA Director of Communications Benjamin Cole noted.

    “Affordable energy should not be a partisan issue. Next week, as we take the American Products and Power bus tour to Tampa for the Republican National Convention, I am proud that Jon Tester’s name will remain prominently displayed on our 45 foot, 51,000lb, 6mpg diesel-running bus.”

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