Gelzinis: Show of faith in newcomer Seth Moulton
‘THANK YOU’: U.S. Rep.-elect Seth Moulton greets travelers yesterday at the Lynn commuter rail station.
He was the brightest star to emerge from Tuesday’s election, and Seth Moulton stood pretty much alone on a train platform in Lynn last night, looking to say hello to a burly kid, clad in black.
When the kid made eye contact, Moulton held out his hand. “Just want to say hi, I’m Seth Moulton, your new …”
Suddenly, Robert Douglas’ face lit up. “Wow! I voted for you!” he said, grabbing Moulton’s hand. “I researched all your positions online, man. I read all about you. You are a cool dude.”
“Thank you, thanks so much,” the congressman-elect from the 6th District said somewhat shyly, as he shook Douglas’ hand.
For a 36-year-old political neophyte who knocked off a veteran congressman and a seasoned State House pol, Seth Moulton has a humility that borders on the spiritual.
Perhaps that’s because the man he credits with influencing the course of his adult life was the late Rev. Peter Gomes, the Harvard minister and theologian.
“I am not someone who grew up wanting to be a politician, or a congressman,” Moulton said last night, between trains rumbling in.
But it was Gomes, Moulton said, who stressed the importance of service. “He told us it was not enough to believe in service, or support those who serve, you ought to find a way yourself to serve.”
Moulton joined the Marine Corps three months before 9/11 and was among the first Marines to roll into Baghdad. Four combat tours in Iraq convinced him that, “Washington didn’t know what it was doing when it got us into Iraq and they didn’t have our backs when we were there.”
But the notion of jumping into the Washington circus otherwise known as Congress never entered his mind until 2004, when a young Marine in his platoon put it there.
“He just looked at me one day,” Moulton recalled, “and he said, ‘You know, Sir, you really oughta think about running for Congress one day, so this doesn’t happen again.’”
Moulton didn’t act on the suggestion when he was done with war. But he said that what was missing in his civilian forays “was that sense of purpose that came with knowing that every single day, my work impacted the lives of other people.”
On that train platform in Lynn last night, Seth Moulton made the words “public servant” sound more like a vocation than a D.C. gig.
“People probably get into politics for a wide variety of reasons,” Moulton said.
“Sometimes I think people stay in politics just because it turns into a career. But I just truly want to serve this country and help the people of this district,” he said.
In Lynn last night, commuters could feel that faith.