In two weeks of “Talking Politics” columns about Massachusetts politics, David S. Bernstein has left us bewildered about what candidates think. He says, “It’s not clear that voters are paying attention to the race” for Meehan’s seat. But even if they are paying attention, he provides no information about three of the Democratic candidates and nothing about the two Republicans.
He reveals the identity of the two female Democratic candidates — i.e., they are women — but little else. How does this help to educate voters?
Regarding Anthony Galluccio, Bernstein dwells on “his drunk-driving charges.” Then he states that “a clerk magistrate ruled in April 2006, that evidence was insufficient for a DUI charge.” So why is this an issue for Galluccio? If Bernstein does not believe what the clerk ruled, isn’t that an issue for the courts?
Bernstein also compares the degrees of Galluccio and Flaherty not to Ross or Nowicki, two other candidates, but to Tom Birmingham, who is not in the race.
He reveals Flaherty’s father’s conviction. Why? Does Bernstein hold the sins of the father against the son?
Furthermore, Bernstein confuses the import of two facts. Rent control was repealed. He appears to be unaware that the demographics of Cambridge changed. There is little opposition left in Cambridge to Harvard. Most of Galluccio’s supporters moved out due to increased rents and taxes.
For press-starved Massachusetts voters, these reports distort political information — “keeping the herd bewildered,” as Chomsky says. What a waste of good newsprint.
Fear and forget-me-nots
As I read the commentary on Sacco and Vanzetti, I couldn’t help but remember hearing about them and their alleged crimes.
I know an old Italian guy named Frank, who, along with my father, was at their wake on Hanover Street. To hear them tell it, there were so many people in the streets that it took hours to get into the funeral parlor. The pair was viewed by the Italian-American community as victims of anti-Italian racism from society at large.
Were Sacco and Vanzetti guilty, as the government said? Were they victims of the Red Scare, the flu epidemic of 1918, and Prohibition?
We know there were rampant xenophobic feelings toward immigrants and radicals at the time. Did those passions play into the 1921 conviction that eventually led to their execution at the Charlestown State Prison, on August 23, 1927, for a double murder committed during a robbery?
Were they innocent of the crimes? We may never know. Did they receive a fair trial? Probably not. Their politics played into the facts in the case. Back in the 1970s, Governor Michael Dukakis even issued a proclamation, declaring that the “high standards of justice, which we in Massachusetts take such pride in,” had failed both men. Though not a full pardon, he asked that any stigma be removed from their names.
History books sadly may forget about Sacco and Vanzetti, but the Italian-American community will not.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Mitt Romney. He was a decent governor. But the Mormon issue should not be ignored. “I shall be to this generation a new Mohammed,” said Joseph Smith. When our Islamic adversaries use the word “Prophet,” they do not mean Joseph Smith, as the “last of the prophets.” True, believing “Latter Day Saints” are convinced that the Book of Mormon supersedes the Koran as the final Revelation (as Islam superseded Christianity, and Christianity superseded Judaism). We do not need a man in the White House who harbors such beliefs. (I suggest your readers peruse God is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens.)