Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Politics is the name we give to the things we decide to do together"

For better than thirty years, I've been proud to say that Barney Frank is my congressman.  I'm still proud to say that, but now that he has announced he shall not run next year, I--like many of my Fourth District compatriots--am feeling bereft already.

It's too soon to say who will run for Barney's seat, although there will almost certainly be a gaggle.  It's also as close to certain as it can be that whoever succeeds Barney will never be able to fill his shoes.  If we are fortunate, his successor will follow in his footsteps.

Although known for his outsize personality, his quips and his often abrasive argument for positions he believes in, I suspect that Barney's star will shine brighter after he steps aside and we can observe his work from some distance.  Although deprived of the chance for stardom that the Senate provides some of its less-numerous denizens, Barney's work in the House has been of immense value to his constituents, his fellows, and his country.   The title of this post sums up his approach to government--one that is all too rare today. 

We'll always remember you fondly, Barney.

(For those who might think I am suggesting a close relationship with the congressman by using his first name, let it be known that everyone in the Fourth calls him Barney.  I have been at events where he has been introduced as "Congressman Frank," and I find myself starting to look around the room to see who is being referred to. I'm sure I'm not alone in that.)