One reason I enjoy the Olympics is that I see exemplars of character traits that are sorely lacking these days. Athletes work toward goals with patience and perseverance. These are attributes that used to be part of everyday life – sacrificing the quick fix for the delayed reward.

As we watch the Olympics we can only hope that these traits will be carried forward in our dealings with North Korea. With careful communication, we narrowly averted war during the Soviet missile crisis. We must create a gold medal diplomatic team to let North Korea know we’re willing to engage in serious negotiations. If a team like this is not up and running when the inevitable misunderstanding or mistake occurs, we cannot step in to rapidly straighten it out. You cannot avert war with a tweet, and bullying doesn’t lead to safety and security.

North Korea was willing to stand down their nuclear development, but they were called “an axis of evil,” and we have continued to rattle sabers on their border. Their human rights violations must be addressed, but now we are working with a nuclear power. This delicate situation requires patience and perseverance knowing that the goal of peace rewards us all. A war would take hundreds of thousands of civilian lives – likely mostly women and children.

Two pieces of legislation, S. 2047 and H.R. 4140, ask Congress to take back its constitutional duty. That task should not fall upon the shoulders of any one man, regardless of who he is.

Congress holds the constitutional responsibility to determine whether our country chooses war, and silence can be construed as consent.

I urge Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to endorse S. 2047 (the Preventing Pre-emptive War in North Korea Act), and I thank Rep. Chellie Pingree for supporting H.R. 4140 (the No Unconstitutional Strike against North Korea Act).

Deborah de Rivera


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