I was dismayed to read Joan Vennochi’s Sept. 8 column on Senator Edward Markey (“Senator Courageous? Not Markey”). The overall gist of the piece suggests that substantive positions on the burning issue of Syria come down to matters like having John Kerry’s back and manning up.
Markey was not elected by Kerry. He is answerable only to his conscience and to the electorate. His central concern should be for the good of the state and the nation (but always, as the Declaration of Independence says, with “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind”).
While I have had issues with some of the positions Markey took as a congressman, I was encouraged by his recent vote of “present” in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I see no lack of courage in his insisting on more information, especially given the disastrous example of the United States in Iraq.
A test of courage does, however, appear to be in the offing, with the anticipated Senate vote regarding Syria. I only hope that Markey, Elizabeth Warren, and others will have enough to resist being hectored into voting for yet another unwarranted Middle East war.
The question of whether that would constitute “manning up” I leave to those who reduce grave matters to cliches.