Like a lot of us, I’m watching the Massachusetts special election for “The Kennedy Seat” with great interest. I grew up in the commonwealth, went to college there, got married there, went to seminary there, and worked there for a long time before moving to New York in 2005.  In some ways, I kind of wish I could sneak into the polls in West Stockbridge, just across the New York border, and cast a vote.

Many of my friends, family, and former high school buddies are seriously on the Scott Brown bandwagon. Most of them are on the South Shore (or grew up there), which is the only real Republican-leaning part of Massachusetts. Growing up, my parents joked that the South Shore should be its own state, since it does its own thing anyway. So I suspect that’s one reason for the Brown appeal for a lot of people I know who actually have a say in how it all turns out today.

As I see things, there are only two real issues that people really care much about in this election at the moment: Health Care and the Economy. (The Boston Globe has a little unofficial survey on the issues here.) Brown is repeatedly on record as being against health care reform, and has pledged to vote against it if he is elected. While this might not sound like much, if he follows through with this, it will be the 41st “nay” vote in the Senate, which will kill the bill at least as it is currently constituted. THIS, more than any other reason, is why the nation is so captivated with this election. It won’t just affect Massachusetts; it will impact the millions without coverage because they can’t afford it (which includes yours truly) nationwide. But this very issue is, I suspect, a very minor one for many who are voting for him, because Massachusetts has mandatory health coverage for every citizen anyway.  The most important Senate vote of our generation is coming down to this, and it’s in the hands of voters for whom this issue isn’t much of an issue.

Just for kicks, here’s the Globe’s take on where each candidate stands on issues that the candidates are stumping for in Massachusetts. If I still lived there, I’d have made a scorecard, which would look like this:  Coakley 3, Brown 1 (barely) and Undecided 1. I’d be in the booth for Coakley.

On behalf of all of us who have been screwed over by the current health care system, get out and vote. Preferably for Martha Coakley.

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