Looking back across many eventful years, this commentator can attest that life is an apt vehicle for learning but not without exemplary teachers. In this respect, no one could have been luckier than I. The eventful year was 1986 and my nonpareil mentor was an indomitable New York State Assembly-person. Louise Slaughter was elected several years earlier, as a democrat in a habitually conservative suburb of Rochester. She’d espoused an interest in the arts and legislative leaders decided the Arts Committee was just the spot to keep her involved in diversionary limbo, away from the attraction of more potentially combustible issues. They were unaware that previous family hardships, in unsafe Kentucky coal mines and a hard-scrabble farm life had impelled her to become a Graduate Micro-biologist and Public Health advocate.
Though fully engaged in efforts to support and promote more intensive Arts program activity in New York State, Louise still found time and energy for spirited involvement in issues to kindle greater support for programs to expand rights and services for women and for other, still neglected minorities. By the time she’d decided to extend her energies to the Congressional arena, her combustible capabilities had made her name synonymous with progressive causes, nationwide. As the newly installed Executive Director of New York State Common Cause, I was a galvanized ‘New Broom,’ impatient to spur throngs of uninvolved New Yorkers into new awakenings, as torch-bearers for open and objective government at every level, especially legislative. Most Assembly members I approached sought to quell my ardor with well-worn platitudes. Not Louise Slaughter. She took the time to indoctrinate me and effectively focus my efforts. Her credo? Don’t urge anyone to fight for your issues, until you really know the weight of the personal problems, with which they’re already dealing. It’s a principle that’s impelled her own rise to one of the most powerful posts in the U.S. Congress; that of Chairperson of the House Rules Committee, a position she’s used to benefit the most deserving issues and neglected recipients. Most recent of these, a victory for Police, Fire-fighters, Nurses, EMT’s and other First-Responders to catastrophic events, for which vital funds were excised by Tea-Party spooked G.O.P. budget cutters. Funds she used her still-tensile congressional muscle to restore.
Now, aided by rulings of a partisan and pusillanimous High Court that’s ignored the canons of its own ethics, to allow unlimited and unaccounted for spending, by prejudiced patrons, Super-PAC supported congressional liquidators are out to strip Louise Slaughter of the Samaritan sinews she’s flexed, for those deprived of the Constitutional promise of equal justice, by ousting her completely. This appreciative proponent adds his voice to those he now urges to join the chorus of support, this exceptional Congressperson has unselfishly and courageously earned and hopes that many will add their voices to it.
This is a time, that standing up to support SLAUGHTER is not only the right but absolutely necessary thing to do.
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