Today we are witness to something that is rare - True Leadership.
Maine Senator Olympia Snowe became the sole GOP supporter as the Senate Finance Committee voted health care reform out of committee today.
It will now move to debate by both houses, and each of our elected representatives will have to take a stand by vote - one we can judge them by. There will be no hemming and hawing, no details to stand behind - they will have to vote one way or the other. And they will have to be responsible for how they vote. Do they vote for reform that, overwhelmingly in polls from both sides, the public says they want? Or do they vote for the interests of lobbyists and individuals others than their general constituents?
Much credit must go to Max Baucus, a democrat from Montana, who crafted this measure to garner some support from both sides. In the last few weeks he has been criticized by his own party, but in the way a true leader does, he moved forward with what he knew was right.
And Senator Snowe did the same. Her comment at the time of the vote sums it up, "...when history calls, history calls."
Is everyone happy with this bill? No. In fact, I'm not sure anyone is happy with it. But we have to start somewhere. And today we start with real leaders who have chosen to make a stand for what they believe is right, to insist that we move forward in some fashion, to take a stand for the future instead of being mired in the past. Legislation is often about the future - people who aren't yet born, and systems that don't yet exist. We have to be willing to move ahead or we are, by definition, moving backwards.
Thank heavens that today True Leaders have stepped forward to lead the way.