$(document).ready(function() { $(window).scroll(function() { if ($('body').height() <= ($(window).height() + $(window).scrollTop()+500)) { $('#upnext').css('display','block'); }else { $('#upnext').css('display','none'); } }); });
Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Voices / Column

Thanking a very great man

Dummerston

It was 2001. The northbound Vermonter pulled into the Bellows Falls station those many years ago, and a solitary man climbed down the stairs and onto the platform. He was pulling a small suitcase behind him.

As he went past me, I acknowledged him with a “Good evening, Senator, and thank you.”

He nodded, smiled as if he understood what I meant, and moved on to the parking lot to look for his car.

No limo. No driver. No aides. No sidekicks. No pomp. No circumstance. A U.S. Senator simply taking the train home for the weekend.

* * *

James Jeffords, who died Aug. 18 at the age of 80, was a very great man. A rock-ribbed Vermont Republican, in 2001 he moved across the aisle when George W. Bush and the radicals from whom he curried favor in exchange for power started tilting our country toward a far-right nightmare that continues to this day and from which we might never recover.

“At the heart of Jeffords’ decision was a belief that Republicans in general and President Bush in particular had become too conservative and that he could not remain in a party that favored tax breaks for the wealthy over full funding of education programs for the disabled,” Dave Gram of the Associated Press wrote in Jeffords’ obituary.

For a while — for a short while — he tipped the balance of power toward the people he loved and served and toward the values for which he stood.

He was a courageous man.

I was proud to come from the state he represented, and I am grateful that I had an opportunity to thank him when I could.

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

What do you think? Leave us a comment

Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.

Comments

We are currently reconfiguring our comments software. Please check back if you’d like to read or leave comments on this story. —The editors

Originally published in The Commons issue #269 (Wednesday, August 27, 2014). This story appeared on page D2.

Share this story

Links

Related stories

More by Joyce Marcel