Well folks, I know what I’m about to talk about isn’t front page news any more, but unglue your eyeballs from the single-payer Titanic for a minute and think about something you can actually change, and that is your state government.
Three. In a row.
What am I talking about? Strikes at Fenway? $10,000 donations for our campaign? My bouts of genital warts in a month?
No, I’m talking about the Speaker of the House of Massachusetts. You know, that elected official who draws a six-figure salary to lead* the rest of his cohorts in shaping our collective future?
Yes. Three. In a row. On our watch.
You know how leadership often “sets the tone” in an organization? Well, welcome to your state government folks, where millions of your tax dollars goes to politicians’ friends companies for services to the state, regardless of their companies’ competence or bloated price-tags. Go ahead and pull up a chair, butter up the popcorn, shave off some of your paycheck and throw it to the wolves.
This House Speaker crisis is merely a symbol for a long history of public abuse in Massachusetts. Many before me have written and shouted about it, about this “culture of corruption,” where elected officials treat the public sphere as if it is the private sector. They give their friends and family special jobs and handouts. They protect one another from the court punishment and law enforcement. They not only ignore but also outright thwart and undermine government reform efforts. All on your dime.
So, with the situation as it is, I ask you friends…
How tall does the pile of evidence have to tower in order for us citizens to realize that we cannot allow our own officials to self-correct?
How rancid does the stench from Beacon Hill have to get before we citizens themselves, on their own initiative, have to grab some mops and get mopping?
And how hard must we cackle at this parade of our state’s limp, uncompetitive elections before we realize that our public servants will never change the game because the game serves them so comfortably and they know, THEY KNOW, that there’s no one out there that gets angry enough to shake them up?
I know that this hand-wringing over our crooked politicians is an old story. But here’s what’s different about my message here: we can change it, swiftly and directly, through the democratic channels that are already written into the State Constitution: the Initiative Petition process. This law is a rare example of direct democracy. The beauty of it is that does not require millions of dollars to succeed. It simply requires citizens who recognize a sense of purpose to act collectively to get something done on behalf of a weary, frustrated public.
That’s why we need you to get involved in Voter Choice now, while we push to get a question on the ballot which, if passed by the voters of Massachusetts, will change the way that we self-govern forever and will set such an important precedent for the rest of the country.
Please explore www.voterchoiceMA.org for more information.
* Well, “dictates” might be more accurate, according to MA legislative procedural rules. Read Lobbying on a Shoestring for more on that.