and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
November #6

Day of Outrage
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Friday, November 25, 2005

I was thankful on Thanksgiving Day, and try to live in thankful mode all the time.

But before we get too deeply into this season of joy, I want to propose a "Day of Outrage," just to get it out of the way so we can relax for the rest of the holidays.

Remember, the proper phrase is not "peace on earth, good will to men"; it's "peace on earth to men of good will." It's not fair to treat everyone and everything the same, even at Christmas, as if there are no moral differences.

These are the things that are bothering me just this week. They range from the unimaginably horrible to the inexcusably silly to the simply annoying, so don't equate them with each other.

I'd had back problems most of my life, until I found a very gentle and skillful Marblehead chiropractor.

I visit Dr. Dennis O'Connor occasionally for an "adjustment," and this has prevented disability for many years. We sometimes talk a little politics and he told me, this week, about his mother, who died last June.

She was getting out of her car at 4 p.m., near her church in Springfield, when she was hit by a driver who left the scene. Another driver called 911, so the perpetrator was quickly caught and found to be both under the influence and a 28-year-old illegal alien from Guatemala.

How does one wrap one's outrage around this? He shouldn't have been here, shouldn't have been driving, shouldn't have been drunk, and shouldn't have left the scene. She was an American citizen, a widow recently remarried, 68 years old with much more life to enjoy. How do you explain this to her grandchildren?

Fortunately a high bond has been set and the Hampden County district attorney is prosecuting the case himself. Let's hope he gets a judge who also celebrates an occasional Day of Outrage.

Next, the silly but annoying subject.

Last week a friend gave me a flier that was sent home in her 12-year-old daughter's backpack. It was a notice of a PCO meeting for the Marblehead Veterans Middle School. (For those who, like me, grew up in a PTA world, the PCO is the Parent Council Organization.)

There was a drawing of a cute blue and pink turkey. So far, so good. And then the text: "It's November, so it is time to talk Turkey! No, not about President Bush ... but about what is happening at MVHS. So come to: PCO Meeting ... to discuss Washington D.C. trip, cultural enrichment programs ... Hope to see you there."

My friend's daughter thought it was rude. Good for her. Somehow, some kids' sense of propriety survives the public education system.

I think it was outrageous to use children to spread personal disdain of the president, an attitude which is so prevalent that I suppose some must think it culturally enriching. What do you think, veterans for whom the school was named?

I called the school and talked with the principal, who didn't see the flier before it went out and is planning to apologize for it in her December memo to parents.

The fault lies here with one foolish PCO leader who wrote the notice, whose name I don't know or I'd be happy to share it. But the principal told me she received only one phone call from my friend so the fault also lies with all the other parents, who read the notice but did not complain.

I've been critical of presidents myself, including President Bush on various subjects. But using kids to carry a gratuitous insult, well, that would be wrong.

More issues for my Day of Outrage.

I'm getting more e-mail from people every day who are just getting the notice that they owe a retroactive capital gains tax, with interest, on money they didn't even know they owed!

Most recently: "Just got my assessment in the mail yesterday $8,900 plus $1,400 interest for a total of $10,300. Disgusting. Hope the kids in Cambridge enjoy their new skateboard park."

He refers to the pork bill that is moving through the Legislature as legislators try to spend the state surplus before they run out of excuses for not rolling the income tax rate back to 5 percent as the voters ordered in 2000.

Pork is annoying. Disrespect to the voters is infuriating. But most outrageous are the bills raising pay and pensions for a variety of Beacon Hill cronies. All of us who will depend mostly on Social Security should be outraged as politicians refuse to protect it while protecting and increasing their own pensions to levels of which most of us can only dream.

I keep thinking that I will mellow with age, but it doesn't seem to be happening. The older I get, the more I abhor the things that make life unnecessarily stressful and the government is often responsible.

On Thanksgiving Day, I remembered to be thankful for those other citizens who speak out, fight back, and hunger after justice.

Perhaps the first Day of Outrage could be scheduled for Election Day, 2006.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem News, Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, (Lawrence) Eagle-Tribune, and Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Providence Journal and other newspapers.