Here’s the kind of senator you want, America

May 2, 2017 Originally published on SFGate

For nearly a quarter century here in the world’s finest progressive bubble, we’ve had Boxer and Feinstein, California’s legendary, stalwart progressives who have been, with some bumpy caveats (DiFi, in particular), largely excellent and enormously effective for upwards of 25 years, AKA since your average neighborhood Millennial was knee-high to an iPod. With freshly minted badass Kamala Harris replacing Boxer, CA’s status shows no signs of changing anytime soon.

You might even say that we have, as a state, become downright comfortable with the idea that we’ve got, all told, the best army of resistance fighters in the land – including a rather incredible governor, who somehow manages to lead our massively complex state’s Democratic supermajority, which in turn guides the most successful, wholly liberal political agenda in the country – if not, considering CA’s status as global economic titan, in the world.

So comfy, so relieved we are by our home state’s relentless, vociferous anti-Trump status, we can forget to notice the cavalry is all around us. Like, just to the north.

Which is to say: All praise to Oregon, which made a wholly fantastic choice in Senator Jeff Merkley, a man who, at the time if this writing, is fresh off a staggering 15.5-hour (!) all-nighter of a speech on the Senate floor, delaying the forced-appointment of one Neal Gorsuch, Trump’s ultra-conservative, anti-choice, anti-civil rights Supreme Court nominee, a man (and a party) who stole said slot from Merrick Garland and who’s appointment is about to be rammed through, quite inelegantly and hitched to a truly gross abuse of power, by Mitch McConnell’s drunk-on-blood GOP.

To the point: Got 10 minutes? Read the inspiring, plain-spoken, sharply intelligent interview Merkley gave to the editors of Vox late last month, prior to the epic speech he just wrapped up on the Senate floor – now officially the eighth longest on record.

“The majority team in this chamber decided to steal a Supreme Court seat. The majority said, ‘We intend to pack the court of the United States of America.’ It was a warfare tactic of partisanship.”

By the way? Dude is 60 years old and has completed two Ironman triathlons, which helps explain how he could stand and deliver all night long, sipping only water, never sitting down and never letting up on Gorsuch’s – and the vicious GOP’s – plethoric shortcomings.

Thank you for your support as I held the floor for the past 15.5 hours. I won’t stop fighting for our #WeThePeople democracy. #StopGorsuch

— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) April 5, 2017

Merkley joins Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie, the increasingly fearless CA Rep. Ted Leiu, NM’s Tom Udall, Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Cory Booker, Tammy Duckworth, Kirsten Gillibrand and a number of other impressive, increasingly vociferous Dems in uniting and igniting the progressive resistance to the Trump nightmare.

.@SenJeffMerkley @DunkinDonuts .@SenJeffMerkley is one of the best, and I’m very glad to fight side-by-side with him. #StopGorsuch #holdthefloor

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 5, 2017

And with any luck, more and more D’s will follow Merkeley’s lead, perhaps even gaining sufficient momentum to get a bit, well, radical themselves, to the point of joining with other newfound armies of the resistance – such as this new, BLM-centered coalition called, quite appropriately, The Majority (we are that, after all). Check them out, too.

Oh and, by the way? Thank you, Oregon.

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Mark Morford

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