TO THE EDITOR:
After thirty years of distinguished and honorable public service and serving as Rhode Island’s lone African-American State Senator, Senator Harold Metts, will not return to Smith Hill this January. On September 8, 2020, he fell victim to electoral defeat in the statewide Democrat primary.
Winston Churchill once remarked, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Harold Metts steadfastly stood up for something his entire career, and for that, all Rhode Islanders should thank him.
In the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he passionately speaks out on poverty, equality, racism, and justice. A prophetic voice for the sanctity of life and marriage, he is a Senator who sounds more like John the Baptist than John O. Pastore.
He never forsook his deep Christian faith but led by it. In the age of political expediency, he possesses the courage of his convictions. Senator Metts’ long tenure of honest and honorable public service was both productive and prophetic due to his deep convictions and gentle manner.
Amidst the angry, intolerant shouting so often heard at the R.I. Statehouse, this gentleman of integrity and civility, never dismissed or derided those he disagreed with, no matter the debate. His is a voice of Christian compassion and moral goodness amidst the din of demagoguery and denunciations so standard in politics today.
In serving his constituents, Senator Harold Metts always gave voice to the voiceless of our entire state. In him, the poor and marginalized, the unborn and the elderly, the refugee, and the immigrant have not only a loyal friend but a strong and powerful voice.
Over his many years in the Senate Chamber, he sat aside countless Catholic Senators. However, Harold Metts, a Deacon in the Baptist Church, not only genuinely understands but rightly exemplifies the words of the great Catholic saint and statesman, Thomas More: “I am the King’s good servant but God’s first.” In thanking him for his long and distinguished career of public service, may we echo the words of the Gospel of Matthew: “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Father Bernard A. Healey
Director of the Rhode Island Catholic Conference and Pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in East Greenwich