Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Responses from the Commonwealth

The cowardly and senseless bombing of the Boston Marathon continues to dominate our thoughts - the innocents killed, the many more innocents injured, the courageous response of the people of Boston and Massachusetts and of their government.

One of the best known residents of Massachusetts who is no longer in government, Barney Frank, responded like this:


"Let's be very grateful that we had a well-funded, functioning government...It is very fashionable in America and has been for some time to criticize government, belittle public employees, talk about their pensions, talk about what people think is their excessive health care, here we saw government in two ways perform very well...You know, I never was as a member of Congress, one of the cheerleaders for less government, lower taxes. No tax cut would have helped us deal with this — or will help us recover. This is very expensive."

"We're not asking people, 'Do you have have private health insurance or not? Can you afford this or not?' Maybe the government is going to have to pay for it. And this is an example of why we need — if we want to be a civilized people — to put some of our resources into a common pool so we are able to deal with this. And to deal with it, you can't simply be responsive once it happens...this is a terrible day for our society, but a day when I hope people will understand the centrality of having a government in place with the resources...At a time like this, no one thinks about saving pennies. But going forward, I hope people aren't going to think, you spent these tens and tens of millions of dollars — that would probably be a low estimate — let's just take that out of everything we have going forward. This is an example of why we need to provide the resources for our common good."

Barney never pulled his punches even when he was in Congress. No reason he should start now.

Meanwhile, Charles Pierce of Esquire wrote a proud defense of the people and the government in this most liberal of states in The Politics Blog:
I can speak for a great number of people up here when I tell you that we're just a little tired of being used as a heavy-bag workout for every third-rate radio gasbag, every shoeless Bible-banging preacher, and every pecker-wood politician from hell to breakfast just because we have good public schools, decent public parks, and places we all can walk for free in the woods or by the sea, and a semblance of a decent health-care system. (Thanks again, Mitt!)  We are tired of apologizing for having public servants and first-responders who make a decent wage and who work for us, and not for Fire Departments, Inc. in Tennessee. Not only that, but Michael Dukakis is a good and decent man and the country would be better off if it listened to him about high-speed rail.
We will not be embarrassed that we share these things in common just because, elsewhere, governors let children starve, and the sick get sicker, and preach of self-reliance while cashing checks from faceless millionaires. We will not be shamed by the yahoo creationism of the Louisiana public schools, or the cruel neglect of health-care in Texas, or the corporate chop-shop that is being created out of the state of Wisconsin these days. We will not feel slighted that there are more sweatshops elsewhere than there may be here. We will not join your race to the bottom. It has to stop somewhere. It might as well be here.
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We mourn now, because what happened Monday is still too close in time. We grieve, because it was only yesterday that we learned the names of the dead. We grieve and we mourn and we do all these things because that is what citizens of a political commonwealth do at times like this. But there are limits to grief and there are limits to mourning. We will go back to being what we were before. We will return to our good public schools and our decent public parks. We will walk again for free in the woods and along the sea. We will place ourselves in the care of our decent health-care system. (Thanks again, Mitt!) We will pay again for our public servants and our first-responders, and some of them will game our systems, and we'll raise a great howl, and mock the suckers who got caught, but we will not be conned by the grifters who are trying to make a Mississippi of us all.
We are not what they think we are. We are not the myths they've made of us. We are what we are, the Commonwealth Of Massachusetts, God save it, goddammit.
Yeah, what Barney and Charlie said. God save the Commonwealth. It provides a bright and shining example which the rest of us can only hope to follow and some day, in a more enlightened time, emulate.



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