A guest post from California teacher Kyle Redford, on the retirement of Senator Olympia Snowe
Goodbye, Senator Snowe. I am sad to see you go.
I will miss you as a woman and as a Democrat.
As a woman, I feel a private camaraderie with you every time you break with the male leadership in your party and refuse to be bullied into blind bloc voting. Your independent, pragmatic and thoughtful leadership feels feminine.
Even though I am on the “other side” politically, I will miss your presence in the Senate. Yes, I wince when you don’t vote with me and I am very upset when the issues are big ones. But you represent more than your ability to crossover to “my side”. You know how to cross over. We need more politicians like you.
When gleeful liberal email alerts, celebrating the opportunities offered by your vacancy, started rolling into my inbox, I felt a disconnect. They seemed to miss the point: your value as a centrist is more consequential than your individual votes on specific issues. Leaders like you keep the political discourse relevant, while modeling the importance of negotiation and collaboration in politics.
Apparently, Maine will likely replace you with a Democrat. Will that Democrat be a woman? Will that Democrat be someone as fiercely independent?
Regardless of the outcome, I will miss a powerful female role model and a politician I couldn’t predict.
Thank you for your service, Senator Snowe.
Kyle Redford, Teacher
Kyle is an elementary school teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area.