Would pioneering Maine U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith shake her head at the state of national politics today?
The answer is: yes.
In the case of a likeness of the late senator that will be handed out in Portland later this summer, however, her head movements will be prompted by a spring in her neck.
As has been done with many sports stars and teams, Smith is being honored with a bobblehead giveaway at a Portland Sea Dogs game this season, the team announced this week. The first 1,000 fans through the gates at Hadlock Field on August 26 will get the free figure. The give-away will mark Women’s Equality Day.
Women’s Equality Day recognizes the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920. It granted women the constitutional right to vote.
The Sea Dogs are hosting the Binghamton Rumble Ponies that day at 6 p.m. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m.
Margaret Chase Smith was born in Skowhegan and served 32 years in Congress. She was a U.S Representative from 1940-49. Then Smith was a U.S. Senator from 1949-73.
She was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. Smith gained national attention in 1950. She was the first member of the Senate to speak out against McCarthyism with her “Declaration of Conscience” speech.
Presumably, those getting their hands on one of these toys will immediately go home, set it on the table, tap the head lightly (so it looks like she’s talking) and recite some of the words from her famous speech:
“The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak their minds lest they be politically smeared as ‘communists’ or ‘fascists’ by their opponents. Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America. It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others. The American people and sick and tired of seeing innocent people smeared and guilty people whitewashed.”
She was also the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president. That was at the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco.
“The Margaret Chase Smith Library is honored that the Portland Sea Dogs have commissioned a bobblehead of Senator Smith to commemorate Women’s Equality Day on August 26th,” said David Richards, director of the library, in a press release.
In 1950, Smith wrote in her nationally syndicated newspaper column, “Washington & You,” that “every time the Red Sox lose a game, we Red Sox fans die just a little.” A year later she added: “When I think of baseball, I think of the Red Sox.”
It’s not the first time the Sea Dogs have commissioned a non-sports related bobblehead.
“A couple years ago we had one of Irwin Gratz,” said Sea Dogs Assistant General Manager Chris Cameron.
Gratz is the local morning host on Maine Public Radio.