Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Last of the "Sewer Socialists"

Frank Zeidler passed away last week. A lot of people don't know about him, but was of an extremely rare breed - a successful American Socialist politician, mayor of Milwaukee from 1948-1960, and 1976 presidential candidate. Interestingly, Zeidler credited his activism to his religious beliefs, which refutes the notion that Socialism is strictly an atheistic pursuit. You can read more about him here, but this paragraph nicely highlights his achievements in government:
Zeidler was the repository of a Milwaukee Socialist tradition with German radical roots and a record of accomplishment -- grand parks along that city's lakefront, nationally recognized public health programs, pioneering open housing initiatives, and an unrivaled reputation for clean government -- that to his death filled the circumspect former mayor with an uncharacteristic measure of pride.
Contrast that with politicians concerned with what they can get for themselves and their friends, and pursuing policy decisions that are not in their constituents' interests. Zeidler was representative of a lost way of government by conscience and principle, one that cared what happened beyond the next election cycle.

I read this and it emphasizes that governing in the interest of your constituents matters, and being hopeful matters, and uniting for good public works matters. Decency matters, and so does the impact you have on where you live beyond the next election cycle. Maybe in a lousy week that's been really destructive for the world, we'd do well to reflect on what governing with respect for other people can accomplish.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

I think one of the most interesting things about Milwaukee is that it's the only American city to elect three Socialist mayors.

Does this guy know how to party, or what?!