Scot Lehigh’s column in today’s Boston Globe, “In GOP’s incipient civil war, who is standing up and who is toadying up,” we’re invited to take stock of Republican members of Congress. Near the end of his accounting, Lehigh offers this about Senator Rob Portman who just announced he will not seek reelection when his term is up in two years because the polarization in Washington makes it difficult, if not impossible, to get anything of importance done. Lehigh then offers this: “And so, as Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander just did, Portman will depart the Senate in two years having fallen far short of his potential. Which raises the question: Why keep quiet during your tenure, only to lament the sorry political situation upon your departure?”
Ouch. Why indeed?
A good, painful and important question for me and, I would suggest, for anyone undertaking the sacred work of governance in a democracy. What’s the price – personal, societal, and to our democracy - of failing to stand up, to speak out?