Saturday, November 11, 2006

For Chafee - after the Vote

Now that the mid-term elections are over, I feel a certain sorrow for our beloved Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, who was defeated simply for being a Republican.

This was a heart-wrenching decision for many of us. I know, because I am one of the ones who voted for his opponent Sheldon Whitehouse: the balance of power issue was that important. I am satisfied that Whitehouse is a good man, and that Rhode Island will still be well served by its senators. But as a citizen, I did and do love Chafee and what he stood for: courage to make the unpopular votes against enormous pressure from his own party, protecting our beautiful environment, speaking truth to power, setting an example of reasonableness and straightforward common sense.

These qualities are not Republican or Democrat, they are honorable human qualities, regardless of party. To me, Lincoln Chafee is the Independent Man he so identified with on the state house dome. He doesn't rush his decisions, he thinks them through. Having worked as a farrier as a young man, he wasn't dismayed by the political mudslinging around him, but kept at his task. I often thought what a great preparation this nitty-gritty work around horses was for a career in politics.

I sincerely hope Lincoln Chafee continues his honorable efforts on behalf of all Rhode Islanders, in whatever way he finds most fruitful. And that we all can benefit from his example of service.

Gail Murray