has been dead since 1943, the references in his poem seemed relevant to
me in 1980, when Citizens for Limited Taxation (CLT) was hoping to
convince the Massachusetts High Technology Council (MHTC) to help fund
its Proposition 2½ ballot campaign.
property tax limit was opposed by the public employee unions,
Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, and almost every politician in the
state, so MHTC's president, Howard Foley, wondered if it had any chance
might have grown when I took over as CLT's executive director that
summer: I wore pigtails and jeans to our first meeting. Howard was a
former IBM executive who looked and dressed the part, but had little
unlikely that the two of us could lead a revolution to save the
commonwealth from the Taxachusetts label, which was making it hard for
MHTC to recruit technology talent to move here.
returned to my office, I sent him the above poem. He got the point (In
the long run, so what? We exist to earn badges.) and raised enough money
to make us competitive in the ballot campaign. We beat the same
coalition that just defeated Question 1.
It could be
argued that we had a more "reasonable' ballot question, which is true;
but the "end of civilization" arguments against it were the same. Our
approach and our few business allies did get us, along with television
ads, editorial support from some of the commonwealth's newspapers. But
the real difference that year was timing. At the end of the disastrous
Carter presidency, we had Ronald Reagan at the top of the ballot.
Massachusetts, in fact, was saved, for a few decades at least.
As for the
western world, it also did well for a while. General Motors was one of
the largest producers of cars, and more and more Americans owned homes,
prefab and other kinds. Reagan ended the Cold War against dialectic
materialism (the philosophical base of Marxism), and the Lambeth
Conference encouraged birth control and ended segregation in Anglican
churches. Sunbathing Caucasians got lots of Vitamin D, and the Hubble
telescope was launched to study the expanding universe.
started to fall apart. Today, the government is actually considering a
bailout of General Motors, following the banking bailout caused by the
housing bubble's collapse. People began to hide in fear from the
cancer-causing sun, so Vitamin D deficiencies are making a comeback in
the world of disease. The ongoing Lambeth Conference has failed to bring
And I never
understood how the expanding universe was going to save us from
anything, but the Hubble photos certainly give us humans a sense of
perspective regarding our importance — which should help us deal with
both concerns about and unrealistic expectations regarding Barack
with those who say we should give him a chance, and not immediately
attack — the way Democrats did with both Reagan and George Bush, and
Republicans did with Bill Clinton. But then I saw the proposal on
Obama's official transition Web page to "require 50 hours of community
service in middle school and high school" and I imagined my
grandchildren working on fraudulent voter registration with ACORN in
four years to keep him in office!
the word "require" was just removed from the official transition site,
so Obama is now just "setting a goal" for mandatory volunteerism (sic).
his team must have realized that a vote against John McCain (and George
Bush) wasn't a vote to create a communist youth corps — so the drafting
of our children must wait.
opponents take comfort from knowing that the Democrats now have the
whole enchilada and will be responsible for anything that goes wrong.
Maybe, but I predict they'll be blaming Bush for at least two more
election, I started removing campaign bumper stickers from my car. But
when I heard the "enemies of Sarah" still attacking her, I cut a McCain/Palin
sticker in half and now have "Palin" on my bumper, just to annoy them.
election result that really bothers me is Question 3, which closes
Massachusetts dog tracks. I can't remember any previous ballot campaign
winning on lies.
about the greyhounds, which could be moved to states that don't have
Massachusetts' legal protections for their welfare.
As for state
politics: Question 1 was the last chance for change here. Nothing to do
but watch with interest, and try to be as annoying as possible.
not be saved by Deval's new ethics commission, or his "property tax
not be saved by a two-party system, or another House leadership
not be saved by initiative petitions, or public employee pension
you will not be saved.