Thursday, September 26, 2002


        Sorry for this report's lateness...

        Well, I've recently finished my first political campaign as a volunteer... and we lost! I worked for Jim Rappaport, a GOP nominee for Lieutenant Governor. Sadly the handpicked (and inferior) candidate won. Now a lieutenant governorship on its face may look as if it is worth a bucket of warm spit, sans bucket, but GOP governors in the commonwealth tend to vanish with Blair Witch regularity. They get taken up by the inhabitants of the White House (both parties. Mass GOP is more liberal than Missouri Democrats. Except we would rather not let the dead run for office.)

        I stuffed envelopes and delivered signs. On election day, I spent the better part of the afternoon near my polling place with a sign. I waved to the passers-by while listening to Howie Carr on my walkman. Across the street were a couple of sullen campaigners for a Democrat candidate for State Treasurer. They had the typical snottiness of young people convinced of their moral superiority. One of them asked me how long I was staying around. I said "Until I get bored." Then I asked them the same question. "Until you get bored," was the snarky reply. They sat on a concrete wall that surrounded the elevated garden of the polling place (an apartment complex) far back from the street. The two chatted among themselves, ignoring the passers-by.

        In contrast, I stood on the opposite side of the fairly busy road, waving at passers-by in their cars, smiling and holding my sign prominently. I may not have influenced many votes, but the response was overwhelmingly positive, including the cyclist who swung by to give me five! A great many motorists waved or shouted encouragement. Of course there were a bout a half-dozen thumbs down and one or two derisive snorts and dirty looks, but that was a small percentage of the passers-by.

        Around 6 PM, I left. One of the slacker activists shouted 'Hey, Rappaport, Democrats don't quit!"

        I replied, "Yeah. They just steal the elections."

        Jerks. At least their candidate went down to defeat.

        Sadly, though, too many Democrats will win offices Massachusetts because there is no opposition. We have no Republican representative in the house (expelling the last two in 1994- talk about crappy timing) and the Republicans could not even get a senatorial candidate to run against Kerry. The state GOP may hold the corner office (There's no governor's mansion in MA) but they only have six of the forty state senate seats and 22 of the 160 representative districts. With no fear of retaliation, the power goes to the legislative bosses, Speaker of the House Thomas M. Finneran and Senate President Thomas Birmingham (who will, thankfully, be departing after a failed gubernatorial run). Ensconced in their rotten boroughs, the two terrible Toms are able to cow their party underlings into line, destroying any and all initiative. They trample on the rules to kill bills, or even debate on things they oppose, like campaign reform, the death penalty, opposition to gay marriage or domestic partner benefits and, most of all, term limits.

        As long as a disproportionate amount of power in the Commonwealth is held by a legislative leadership who need not worry about his constituents, let alone any other voters in the state, responsive representative democracy will be but a dream. Nevertheless, we will continue to fight for freedom and democracy.