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Taking Down the Flag
thomas earle 12 contributing writer
February 25, 2010

On January 19, 2010, Scott Brown, a Republican politician from Massachusetts, was elected to the United States Senate. Brown replaced Edward “Ted” Kennedy, an iconic Democratic Senator from Massachusetts who served for forty-seven years.

Brown’s election was the first election of a Republican senator in Massachusetts in thirty-eight years and represented the end of the Democrats “filibuster” in the Senate. This was a momentous day for the Republican Party and sad day for the Democratic Party.

Being a rather avid Democrat, Brown’s election was a big disappointment to me, especially because it was my own state that had elected a Republican to replace a beloved civil servant. Hearing of Ted Kennedy’ death after his yearlong battle with cancer, I was saddened at the loss of such a great man. Then Brown’s election came along, which seemed to be the end of any chance for healthcare reform. So with these disparaging thoughts I watched as the Republicans of Deerfield celebrated and my fellow Democrats walked about in anger.

The next day, as I walked into the Koch Center for my fourth period class, I caught sight of a flag hanging over the entrance. I was greeted by the site of a Republican flag taped to the Koch Center, just adding insult to injury.

Brown’s election ended the chance of the Senate passing a universal healthcare bill. Hundreds of thousands of people around the country were, and still are, depending on that bill for their livelihood. All around the globe, industrialized countries have implemented universal healthcare. The US will be the last industrialized country to introduce healthcare.

As I thought about all the people our current system is failing and how the politicians can’t solve this country’s problems, I was pissed. All around me, people were gloating that another Republican had been elected, but they didn’t seem to see the consequences! Brown’s election meant a complete stop to the healthcare bill in Congress; more compromises and changes would simply warp the bill until it was unrecognizable.

Some of my friends, who are Republicans, told me that they would rather have no bill passed than a bad or ineffective bill. I would rather have a flawed bill that helps thousands of people passed than no bill at all! I would rather have action now, rather than wait until it’s too late.

Brown’s election will also slow down the US’s response to climate change. Though he supports clean energy systems, Brown opposes laws curbing carbon emissions that would benefit not only the US, but the global community. Again I would like the current government to settle this issue before it’s too late and we are left trying to correct their mistakes.

I will admit that Martha Coakley, Brown’s primary opponent, ran a horrendous campaign and her attack ads did very little to help her cause. Scott Brown represents a great change in the American government. I cannot say for sure if it is a good change or a bad change, but I do not support it.
So as I walked to chemistry on that Wednesday I was angered by the cocky celebrations going on around me. I saw that flag and I immediately knew it was too much. It represented an ignorance of what Brown’s election meant. So with permission from my teacher I went up on the balcony and proceeded to remove the Republican flag from the glass. I was cheered on by a few passersby, and even more passersby were angered, but I was doing what I thought was right.

Besides, as I told myself, “It was their freedom of speech to put the flag up and it’s mine to take it down.”