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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Profiles in courage

  • Author: Barbara Hendricksen
    | Opinion
  • Updated: February 11
  • Published February 11

Shall we take a moment to remember how Sen. Mark Begich lost his job as our senator in Washington, D.C.? If ever there was a week to reflect on tough votes, wouldn’t this be the one? Facing a difficult vote that he knew could cost him his seat — imagine this — he did it anyway. He voted for the health of his country and his constituents, and against his political interests. He voted to pass the Affordable Care Act. He lost re-election and now we are represented by Sen. Dan Sullivan.

Fast-forward to another difficult vote. Both of our senators voted no on the question of allowing witnesses and documents to be part of the president’s impeachment proceedings — let’s not call it a trial. I always knew that Sen. Sullivan would draft behind whatever parade McConnell was leading. Where I went wrong was believing that Sen. Lisa Murkowski was a person of guts and principles, thought she might follow Sen. Begich’s example and engage her moral courage for the common good. Instead she fell seamlessly in line, waving to the crowd from the parade line, mouthing an explanation for her vote that was insulting to my intelligence. Lesson learned.

History called on our senators, and our senators routed those calls directly to voicemail, while answering Sen. Mitch McConnell’s call on the first ring. He knows their numbers by heart. He knows he can gamble on their lack of political courage with horrible success. And now so do I. Some votes risk reputation and some votes risk retirement. This was both. Their reputations are their problem. Their certain retirements are mine. Hurry, November, hurry.

— Barbara Hendricksen

Eagle River

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