Monday, September 18, 2017

Although I spent a long time in government and politics, I have few political heroes. My idealism has been tempered by a healthy dose of skepticism.

Among the political figures that I admire is the late Margaret Chase Smith of Maine. Smith was the first woman elected to both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.  A new backbencher, she was one of the very few to take on fellow Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy early on--and she did it on June 1, 1950, four years before McCarthy was condemned by his peers.

Smith's Senate speech, "Declaration of Conscience," called out her Wisconsin colleague, and she experienced verbal abuse from a man who was a master at slinging it.  One of her passages:  "I do not want to see the Republican party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny--Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear."  The speech is worth reading.

She eventually went on to serve twenty-four years in the Senate.  In 1964 her name was placed in nomination at the Republican National Convention; she became the first woman so honored by a major political party.  Six years before she died in 1995 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I have Smith buttons and biographies in my political memorabilia collection.  Here's the news:  Today I received my Margaret Chase Smith bobblehead.  It has been placed in my library.

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