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BY JESS KILBY
Who says one person canít make a difference? Democratic State Senator Peggy Pendleton single-handedly derailed the amended antiwar resolution brought before the Maine Senate on Tuesday, casting her vote with the party she once called home. (Yes folks, Pendleton was a Republican before she was a Democrat.) The Senate voted 18 to 17 against urging the President to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Iraq.
Pendleton had voted in favor of the resolution, introduced by Senator Ethan Strimling (D-Portland), when it was first approved by the Senate on February 4. But when the amended resolution was returned to the Senate after the House passed a slightly watered-down version, Pendleton announced that sheíd had a change of heart. She was concerned about what message the resolution might send to American troops.
" I donít want them to think for one second that I am not behind them, " Pendleton told the Portland Press Herald last week, citing the memory of her father, a WW2 veteran, as the reason for her decision.
The senator was apparently unmoved by the resolutionís explicit support for members of the US military. Nor, it would seem, was she attracted to the concept of supporting American troops by keeping them out of harmís way.
Strimling makes an important observation, though: Both the Senate and the House have approved versions of the resolution. So, while the Maine Legislature cannot formally claim to have passed the measure, the message has still been sent.
" Whatís most important is that we debate these issues from the village square to the White House, " he says. " And we are just a step along that ladder, and we must raise our voices. We canít ever go blindly into war. "