So there I was on a
beautiful October Sunday at the Marblehead Jewish Community Center,
with a dramatic autumn view from the meeting room. The JCC had
invited the three candidates for the 6th Congressional District;
each was given an hour to speak and take questions.
This was my first
chance to hear Christopher Stockwell whom —
despite the impression given by the headline above his photo in last
week’s column — I have not endorsed as
“a voice of fiscal sanity.”
I was hoping to learn
how he justifies his late arrival in the political arena and this
vital race. His tardy presence can only confuse the important
decision to be made on our representation in Congress; he may get
votes just by being an independent in a year when many people are
angry or disappointed with the two parties.
Some of what he
advocates makes sense: e.g., his ABC system of setting priorities.
But when he calls it “easy as ABC,” that’s where he disappears into
his own delusion. If it were easy, someone would have done it by now
because prioritization is a concept on which most normal people
agree; but politicians find it less fun than just recklessly
throwing money around.
He does want a balanced
budget, but deplores divisive strategies. Both the real candidates
also talk about their ability to reach across the aisle, to
negotiate with opponents, to get things done.
Politics is tough, governing is tougher, and the reason we have
separations in our state and federal constitutions is that they’re
not supposed to “just all get along” when some of them are wrong and
others must stop them before they take us too far down the road to
I was favorably
impressed with Seth Moulton’s presentation on his Iraq experience
and found myself agreeing with him on the foreign policy issues. But
he lost credibility when, as he had earlier that day in a televised
debate on “Keller at Large,” he insisted that the gay, pro-choice
Richard Tisei is “one more vote to empower the far right that is
controlled by tea party extremists” and Republicans who fight
against women’s rights.
When questioned, he
denied calling Tisei a tea party extremist, as if an audience can’t
recognize a cynical attempt at guilt by association; besides, most
Republicans in Congress, and tea party members in general, aren’t
extremists. Despite what Moulton and other Democrats assert,
Republicans didn’t shut down the government; they’re a minority in
the government whose majority party and president refuse to be
responsible and prefer to let the government pause until they get
So the tea party has
tried to control the national debt; the president manipulates public
outcry, which somehow blames Republicans; Obama gets his way, and
here we are, heading down that road to disaster.
Tisei has been trying
to distance himself from the misrepresented tea party, but he can’t;
the Democrats don’t have anything else but an attempt to tie all
Republican candidates to some imaginary “war on women” by right-wing
extremists, most of whom don’t get elected anywhere. Even if a
moderate Republican is gay and pro-choice, he’s accused of
“empowering the far right.”
Or, the Democrats do
direct character assassination. In the case of Charlie Baker, they
keep saying he is mean and angry. I’ve known him for decades, and
he’s the last person on earth to whom I’d apply that description.
It doesn’t matter; they
will say it even as Charlie is, in my opinion, ridiculously nice to
Martha Coakley. In the WBZ debate, he went out of his way to praise
her “work as a child advocate,” apparently thinking no one will
remember the ongoing persecution of the innocent Amirault family
during her tenure in the Middlesex County DA’s office.
L-R, Gerry's wife Patti Amirault,
Barbara, and Gerald Amirault
at his release celebration (April 30, 2004)
Well, I remember
because the Amiraults became my friends during
the battle to free
them. Late in the last century, Massachusetts updated the Salem
witch trials by joining in the national hysteria about supposed sex
offenders in day care centers, with which ambitious prosecutors
hoped to make reputations for themselves. In the case of the Amirault family — mother Violet, her daughter Cheryl and son Gerald
who worked at Fells Acre Day Care in Malden with her — small
children were coaxed into false accusations by social workers, and
the innocent family was sent to prison. Violet and Cheryl were
eventually released, soon before Violet died.
Coakley was forced by
some indignant judges, attorneys and public opinion to release
Gerald Amirault after almost 18 years in prison; but he is still
wearing an ankle bracelet, while she refuses to acknowledge what any
rational person should know, that once again Massachusetts had
indulged in irrational hysteria. Just what we need, a governor who
can’t admit she made a mistake.
After reading Arthur
Crucible,” I often wondered what I’d do if I’d lived near Salem
during the witch trials, if I’d have fought that horrible
miscarriage of justice. Not sure if I’d have risked being hanged
myself at that time, but there was no risk to my support for the
Amiraults. I’m just hoping voters won’t reward one of their
persecutors with the governorship of our commonwealth.
I’m a nonpartisan
loather: Republican acting-Gov. Jane Swift refused to commute
Gerald’s sentence, and the next day I called Mitt Romney in Utah and
begged him to come back to run against her. When he did, she dropped
out, never to return to politics.
Maybe I should be
getting mellow with age. Instead, I’m politically angrier than I’ve
ever been, at foolish delusion, at guilt by association, at lying,
by injustice. This election is too important to indulge these
things, as we try to fix the future that is being created for our