Letter to Senator Susan Collins

The Bell, Gotts Island, Maine

Dear Senator Collins,

I wrote you several times this year after never writing to a politician. I am 60 this year and it wasn’t until now that I felt I needed to write to my representatives in the House and the Senate.

I write a lot. I am a poet, novelist, stories. But I never felt driven to write as I am now. You said recently, after the election, that the special prosecutor and his work must be protected. Every week I think surely, now, voices will come forward. People of reason and decency will stand up for the true ideals of our nation. But each week there is more. The attack on the judicial branch, the America First Doctrine which not only read embarrassingly but is an embarrassment for any American who dared to believe that our country stood for some something bold and new and worthy. Instead the proclamation puts money and oil above life, liberty, and justice.

Senator, when will you take a stand? I see your tweets about the Belfast Boatyard and Bath Iron Works. And yes, jobs are important, growth and development are important. But you know that unbridled ambition, unchecked growth, is a cancer. What will it take for the members of the Senate to find their spines and speak up instead of leaving it up to a very few to carry the load. I do not want to hear about back room discussions, and concerns, and voicing through the channels. We are so past that point Senator and somewhere in your heart you know this.

I am an educator. I have worked as a special education teacher in rural Maine. Now I am the head of school at the American School of Madrid. The kids I work with dare to dream. They need examples. They need to see adults act like adults and call total bull and bullying for what it is. Are you not embarrassed by what our nation’s capital has become? I still believe in you but I have to admit it is getting harder every day and if you had run for re-election recently, I would not have voted for you.

Step up Senator. We truly need you. Out on Gotts Island, an old bell stands by the shore. Long ago it was in the Methodist Church but it was moved after the island was abandoned. The church burnt years ago but the bell sits by the shore, ready to be rung in case of an emergency. An old cast iron window sash weight hangs instead of the original clapper but she is still serviceable. She still has a voice. She can rally the islanders if there is a fire or someone in need. She has not been rung many times since she tolled the Sunday service but when the need arose she called. We need those we elect to find their voices, this is a time when the call must go out, when truth must be told, when falsehood and arrogant greed must be exposed. Will you find your voice Senator. Will you be ready when called. Wait too long and even the most able may find themselves too rusted to respond in the hour of need. And make no mistake, this is an hour of great need.

Respectfully but increasingly impatiently,

Ben Weinberg

Writer, walker, poet, educator. Commercial fisherman, builder, donut maker, organic grower. Boston, U. City, Maine, South Africa, Madrid.

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