July 2004 #4
© by Barbara Anderson
The Salem News
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Democrats of the United States: Welcome to Massachusetts.
You may feel at home with the commonwealth's reputation, if not with its reality.
Yes, a very long time ago Massachusetts voted for George McGovern in his race against Richard Nixon. But since then it voted for Ronald Reagan twice.
Yes, our congressional delegation and most of our Legislature are Democrats, but our governor and lieutenant governor have been Republican since 1991, and the voters are more independent than loyal to either party. We independents, not being party animals by definition, will tend to be less tolerant of your inconveniencing so many of us for your party's party.
Yes, we gave you Michael Dukakis and are now giving you John Kerry. You're welcome.
Yes, they call us "Taxachusetts," and in fact we still have a high per capita tax burden; but not, you would notice if you visited at any other time, high per capita services. Hard to tell right now what kind of services you, as our guests, will be getting. Many of our working people, in both the public and private sectors, have been told by Boston's mayor and Chamber of Commerce to stay home and out of your way.
This does not include the Boston police, who wanted to be in your way, giving you a chance to show the mostly nonunion country just who calls your shots as you refuse to cross picket lines. You can hope all the city labor issues have been settled so your party is not "hoist on its own petard."
Of course, some of you might decide, as most red-blooded Americans would, that no union is coming between you and the free food. If you have to miss the speeches, well, you already know what everyone is going to say: Bad George Bush stole the last election, blah, blah, blah.
You can still hang out with other delegates and talk privately about real things, like how to spin the issue of missing classified <9/11> documents that your last president's security adviser misplaced, stole or maybe even ate when no one was looking. So far, the professional Democratic spin machine isn't doing too well on its own, pretending that the expose is a dastardly plot by the personnel who reported seeing Sandy Berger slip documents into his clothing, and blaming the media for reporting what was obviously just "sloppiness" in handling sensitive material that could show the Clinton administration mishandled terrorist issues.
You can try to come up with a plan for Kerry, who has complained that President Bush doesn't care about suffering Africans in the Sudan. He needs to tell us how he is going to save them without going to war with their country's corrupt leaders and then spending a few eons on African nation-building.
Welcome to Massachusetts. No matter where you originate, you will recognize the real estate adage: Location, location, location. You should have thought of this before choosing the FleetCenter, which backs up not only to the central city, but to its harbor and major roadways.
Don't worry, we have lots of security to make up for this location disadvantage. But be aware that not only have local children had their swimming pools closed, your own visiting families may miss out on tourist attractions that decided to let their employees leave early. Of course, they won't be going far, since we've been told that extra commuter trains won't be running until the regular rush hour.
If you take the T, carry only a small purse, and prepare to be asked for your papers; unless you look like a terrorist, in which case the authorities may have to let you pass so they don't offend the ACLU.
Prepare to put your trash in the purse or your pocket since trash barrels have been removed from the convention area.
For the same security reasons, no Port-A-Potties have been rented. Not only could terrorists use them to plant bombs, but students from Boston University might tip them over while they demonstrate for a better world. But please discourage both demonstrators and fellow delegates from relieving themselves on Boston streets and parks; use the restrooms at the FleetCenter, restaurant or bar before you head back to your hotel, whose employees you hope didn't listen to the mayor or Chamber.
If the locals really do stay home, as asked, you will find a pleasantly uncrowded city. Those of you from the open-space states will feel right at home.
Be sure to express compassion for all the working people who have lost money because they didn't get to work. If the locals don't stay home, prepare for traffic gridlock if you drive or take a cab. Watch out for road-raged Boston drivers when you walk - do not step into traffic assuming that the cars will stop, as they do in some of your home states. If you have an accident, hope that the ambulance can get there and then get you to the hospital whose employees, with any luck, did not take the week off, and thus will still be around to help you.
Welcome to Massachusetts, Democrats. You all come back real soon.
Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem
News and Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Providence
Journal and other newspapers.