Sunday, January 22, 2006

Letter to the Boston Globe

I was glancing at right-wing anti-liberty Jeff Jacoby's column in the Boston Globe last Sunday, called Mass. Exodus, about the population shrinkage of the Bay State.

He listed the usual reasons--lack of jobs, high housing costs, the weather--then promptly dismissed them. The reason people are leaving in droves?
Maybe fewer and fewer people want to call Massachusetts home not because of its oppressive winters but because of its oppressive and demoralizing political culture. In the state that produced Michael S. Dukakis and Sen. Kerry, the concerns of ordinary citizens are so often met with disdain, while the political class lets nothing get in the way of its own appetites and priorities. A state legislature that stays in session year-round? A supreme court that turns same-sex marriage into a constitutional right? Public ''authorities" that answer to no one? In most of America, no way. In Massachusetts, no problem.
That annoyed me. I wrote a letter to the Globe, and who'd'a thunk it, they printed it today. Not exactly how I wrote it--they deleted some snarkiness--but message intact.
Court's ruling a vote for liberty

JEFF JACOBY dismisses real reasons people are leaving -- lack of well-paying jobs, obscenely high home prices -- and cites the state court's turning ''same-sex marriage into a constitutional right."

The truth, however, doesn't support his position. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did not ''turn" same-sex marriage into a constitutional right. The question was whether it was constitutional for the Commonwealth to deny civil marriages to same-sex couples. The court found that limiting ''the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the basic premises of individual liberty and equality under law protected by the Massachusetts Constitution." In other words, the court found that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples equal rights.
The Globe omitted my describing Jacoby's column as being full of "dishonest neocon talking points," and I ended with the following sentence: "Given Mr. Jacoby's prejudices, it's a mystery to any rational person why he persists in staying in Massachusetts."

There were quite a few letters in the same vein, but also a few letters by clueless idiots, who think the Supreme Judicial Court "abused its power," and one by a true wingnut who couldn't see the irony in being Massachusetts born and raised, "Boston stock, dating back to 1637" whose ancestors have fought in all "American" wars and are listed on monuments in Bunker Hill and Lexington; she's moving "because of the crazy left-wing political agenda"--moving south, where "the political climate is truly democratic." Yeah, democratic like Strom Thurmond, Lindsey Graham, and Bill Frist; with governors like Mike Huckabee, and Jeb Bush. Good democratic values there.

As a very eloquent woman wrote in another letter: "If indeed people are driven away because of the state's commitment to fairness, let them go. There are plenty of other places where they can enjoy the unearned privileges of discrimination."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Democratic vision and leadership

While trying to sift for truth amidst the fool's gold that passes for news, I've become more and more worried that we will, in two words, um, screw up the mid-term elections. It seems we Democrats are more afraid of ourselves than we are of the Death Star that is the christo-fascist zombie brigade of the faux-Republican Administration. So for fun--if you can call exercises in futility fun--I wrote a sort of a wish list and sent it to the Democratic National Committee, to Howard Dean, to Harry Reid and several other Democratic leaders. It reads:
As a life-long Democrat, I am horrified to see the continuing slide towards Conservative mediocrity within this party. We are the party of FDR, of JFK. We are FOR the working person, the poor, the downtrodden. We are FOR protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. We are FOR civil rights for everyone.

I do not want a Democratic version of a Republican for president. I want someone who speaks clearly in favor of women's rights (someone who does NOT call the anti-choice movement "pro-life"), gay rights--including the right to marry, not the separate-but-not-equal "civil union", and the separation of church and state.

I want someone who will protect workers' rights, including the right to make a living wage under safe working conditions. Someone who will propose legislation to make companies put workers' pensions in accounts that cannot be touched for any reason other than pension payouts. Someone who will stop the outrageous growth in top management salaries at the expense of those at the bottom.

I want someone who will protect the environment against short-term capitalist greed.

I want someone who agrees that a good education is the key to a successful future--any future. That we need to spend more on education, particularly education that teaches children to THINK CRITICALLY and have an imagination, not just memorize facts.

I want the Fairness Doctrine reinstated, I want substantial campaign reform, I want the teaching of the meaning of the Constitution mandatory, I want the media to do their job, I want legislation to be about only one thing--not to be full of hidden riders and clauses.

I want to be able to believe in a candidate, to vote FOR someone rather than against someone else.

The mid-term elections, and the 2008 election, are ours to lose. And we will lose them if we don't have strong candidates that present a clear alternative to continued Republican lies, arrogance, and hypocrisy. Make no mistake, we will lose. If Hillary Clinton runs against John McCain, we will lose. Not because she is a woman (although that will certainly enter into it), but because she is just a moderate Republican dressed in Democrat clothes.

The regressive policies of this Administration call for nothing less than a return to progressive policies that could only be brought forth by a true Democratic candidate.
If anyone wants to add to this shopping list, please feel free.