Richard (Dick) Lugar (b. April 4, 1932) was the senior United States Senator from Indiana and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1977, he was the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and was its chairman from 1985 to 1987 and again from 2003 to 2007. Much of Lugar’s work in the Senate was toward the dismantling of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons around the world. Before his election to the United States Senate, Lugar served as mayor of Indianapolis. Lugar is the longest-serving senator in Indiana’s history. He was unseated in the 2012 Indiana Republican primary.
I watched the wheels of surprise turn behind Lugar’s aide’s
white-male-mask of gate-keeping power. Even I was thinking
of Gabbie Gifford, recently head-shot on a hot Arizona morning.
I had knelt on the thin airline aisle, as Lugar and his aide sat behind me
in coach, all of us flying from Hartford to D.C. Leaning microscopically forward,
I asked: I’m one of the senator’s constituents; would you swap seats so I could speak to him?
I looked to the window seat and saw Lugar wilt small into his small frame.
He started to look at me and then stopped, rabbit-scared, and looked down
into the darkness around his shiny black shoes.
Watching him squirm, my stomach churned
at his touchable cowardice.
I stood up and turned away,
retaking my seat, feeling nauseous.