Saturday, May 25, 2013
We've been told that Angus King's victory speech on Tuesday night was inspiring, even moving.
Yeah, it was pretty good. The guy has a way with words.
But Andrew Ian Dodge's concession statement? That was pure poetry. (Notice we didn't say good poetry.)
We'll publish them both here for posterity.
From Dodge: A Concession verse
“Bested by Angus, Not that outrageous, A well-loved man, With a bi-partisan plan.
Fought the good-fight, For what was right, My head held high, Critics can try
Ran for right reasons, Liberty for all seasons, Happy to See, Some with me
An independent future, Democracy grows mature, Maine leads the way, A great place to be gay
No regrets never, The message we delivered, It was my pleasure, To follow that endeavor.”
From Sen.-elect King: The Acceptance Speech
Almost 200 years ago the sturdy souls who founded this state settled on a state slogan, "Dirigo", I Lead. But today, Maine gave it new meaning, for tonight, it isn't Dirigo, it's Dirigimus, "We lead."
Maine is leading by saying we're tired of the political divisions that are keeping us from solving real problems and we're tired of politicians whose main purpose seems to be to divide us instead of unite us.
Maine is leading by saying that what we want is listening instead of lecturing, compromise instead of confrontation, and solutions instead of slogans.
People don't care who gets the credit and they don't care who's winning and losing from year to year; what they want is a strong economy, a fair solution to the debt crisis, a strong defense, care for our veterans, and schools that work. And they're tired of the false choice that always seems to confront them.
As a guy said to me early on in this campaign, "I've always wanted the chance to vote for None of the Above, and you're it.:"
And I'm convinced that across this country, there are others who agree and want to follow Maine's lead.
I'm optimistic that today's vote and the message it sends can make a difference in the poisonous state of American politics-- because in the arc of human history and governments, there have always been times of differences and divisions but we know it doesn't have to be that way.
We know this because when a crisis comes, we find we're not that far apart after all.
In Maine's ice storm we reached out to neighbors we never knew; in the aftermath of the terrible morning of September 11, the entire country came together as seldom before, and in the last week, a hurricane and Nor'easter met in the north Atlantic and crashed ashore in New Jersey making improbable allies of an embattled governor and his politically opposite president.
Division is natural; we were all made with different needs, talents and attitudes. There is nothing wrong with this; indeed, it is a strength because it leads to debate and ultimately better solutions. But sometimes, debate can go too far and become difference for the sake of difference and argument for the sake of argument and -- when this happens, we are all the poorer for it. The people are the poorer for it.
And so tonight, the people of Maine have said enough; this far and no farther.
We respect political differences, but we want to move just a little closer--to the center, to solutions, to civility, to mutual respect.
And today, with the votes cast by the people of Maine, we got closer. There are good, honest, hardworking people in both parties, with good, productive and needed solutions to our problems.
Today, they got closer.
We've seen a lot of this campaign season focus on negatives, and what drives us apart.
But today, we got closer.
And the people of Maine and this country have been working for four years to escape this great recession, and find solutions to our common challenges.
Today, we got closer.
Today, Maine people showed that being fiercely independent doesn't require you to be fierce.
Tomorrow, and for the next six years, my simple goal is to keep proving that -- to be a bridge between my new colleagues on either side of the aisle, to bring people and our country closer to that more perfect union envisioned by the founders.
It may feel at times that we're far apart, that answers are just getting further out of reach. But the overwhelming message from this election is that we're close, and people want us to get closer.
My mandate is clear - listen to the best solutions from every corner, and help my colleagues find common ground in that fertile mix. It's sitting there right out in front of us, and we're ready to walk across, to get closer.
Tonight, Maine has sent a really important message; tonight, we truly lead.
At the moment of the worst divisions ever faced by our country, a young lawyer fresh from the plains spoke to his fellow countrymen of the ties that bind us and the urgent imperative that they not be allowed to break.
His words fell largely on deaf ears that day and it took a terrible war to prove him right for all time, but his eloquent vision can still speak to us today--and I fervently hope we can listen better this time.
Here is what he said, here is what Abraham Lincoln said--
"I am loathe to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.
"Though passion may have strained them, it must not break our bonds of affection.
"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."Tweet
Open Season targets all of Maine's political wildlife, from Portland city government to the donkeys, elephants and independents stalking the Statehouse and U.S. Capitol.
John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
John can be reached at 791-6324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jrichmaine
Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
Colin can be reached at 791-6317 or email@example.com
Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
Susan can be reached at 621-5643 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or email@example.com