Citizens for Limited Taxation & Government
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CLT&G Insight
Saturday, February 14, 1998
Valentine’s Day

Greetings, on a lighter side!

Yeah, I’m blushing . . . but I thought this week’s column by Barbara would give you a view of the human side of us "tax-cut terrorists" and put us in a little perspective.  Yes, there is life outside of politics.

Chip Ford —

(PS. I’m still wrestling with whether to send this out or not!)

The (Quincy) Patriot Ledger
Saturday, February 14, 1998
Love led activist down political action path
By Barbara Anderson

Roses are red, violets are blue

I like cutting taxes, and my sweetheart does too.

So what does Valentine’s Day have to do with initiative petitions and the issues I usually write about?  Absolutely everything.

Love got me into this, and love keeps me here.  I was a normal, healthy American girl, with no interest in politics at all, until a college boyfriend gave me a book by Ayn Rand and a beginner’s political philosophy.

After philosophy came experience:  my first husband was a teacher, then a naval officer, who encouraged me to note the waste in local, then federal government.

Political activism came later.  My second husband brought me to live in Taxachusetts and suggested I do something about it in my spare time.  As his honesty and hard work were rewarded with higher property taxes and the threat of a graduated income tax, I considered it an act of devotion to start fighting back.  Twenty years after the divorce, I still think of him when small businessmen and their families are assaulted by the government.

If life were a movie, I’d eventually have fallen in love with a liberal, like Redford with Streisand in, "The Way We Were," but fortunately Chip Ford came along and saved me from the trauma of total incompatibility.  While I play the public role in our joint ventures, he works behind the scenes to make things happen.

Ayn Rand had a more permanent impact on my romantic attitude than on my politics.  In one of her essays, she describes the ideal man:  "his enjoyment of life is fed by his unceasing concern to grow in knowledge and ability—to think, to achieve, to move forward, to meet new challenges and overcome them—to earn the pride of a constantly expanding efficacy."

Chip was an artist turned sailor, dropping out of college just before graduation to sail with friends to the Florida Keys.  For five years he lived on a boat, painting signs for a living, enjoying what he calls his "retirement."  A friend who was there tells about a storm at sea when everyone on board was below decks praying, except for Chip and her small son who sailed the boat to safety.  When his partner sold the boat to a con man, Chip spent three years tracking down the con man and eventually sent him to jail.  When he returned to Massachusetts, he was in no mood to be told he had to wear a seatbelt.

He overcame his fear of public speaking, taught himself to use a computer, and won the first seatbelt law repeal in 1986.  The Legislature eventually restored it, and he lost that second repeal campaign.  But his computer skills improved, and while he wears a seatbelt, he still lives dangerously, surviving on cigarettes, coffee and donuts despite my efforts to disguise broccoli as forbidden food so that he’ll eat it.

Left to my own devices, I will take the easier, familiar path, but his example is changing my life:  he has me not only using a computer, but filling my car’s gas tank from the self-service pump.  While I only dreamed of a sunflower garden, he made it happen:  the sunflowers were eight feet tall.  While I only fantasized about an orderly house, he inspired me to order.  "Organization," he told me, "is in your head first, then becomes a habit."

He keeps receipts and paper trails for everything, in case there’s a dispute about a product he buys; when he goes to small claims court, he doesn’t lose.  Our first date was a gun show, followed by two hours target-shooting; he doesn’t miss.  When we go out, he drives, because that is what men do, and he is never lost.

You want my definition of love?  He goes to "Les Miserables" and Riverdance with me.  I go to a Jimmy Buffett concert with him.  We take turns reading the latest Dean Koontz novel first.  He’ll give up a Sunday morning to take me to a rally for the Amiraults.  He lets my cat eat off his plate.  When friends gave him a case of beer and a box of home-made fudge for Christmas, we divided them in half, but he saved part of his fudge to give me when I’d finished mine.

Chip also has a definition, sort of.  "We finally found someone," he explains, "who will put up with us."  Yes, and who likes to cut taxes.  Politics doesn’t always make strange Valentines at all.

Barbara Anderson is co-director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and Government. Her column appears bi-weekly.

Barbara and Chip exploring Ireland at The Burren, County Clare (1997)