Sunday, October 05, 2008

Oh How The Gun-Toting Liberal Loves Free Speech!

I sent a modified version of one of my recent posts about the bailout package to the local newspaper as a letter to the editor. I was gratified that they printed it, although they didn't notify me in advance and I had no idea it was there until my pharmacist mentioned it a day or two later. I never got to see it on paper.

An odd thing happened when I went online to see it: there were comments! I read some and of course they were the usual angry paranoid mudslinging rants and so forth. Well, what could I do? I leaped right on in and braved the insults to keep my level head and cheerful love of my fellow man well-represented.

Then a marvelous thing happened. As the days passed, commenters showed a little rationality, calmed down, ceased the name-calling, and actually apologized to each other!

I felt like Nelson Mandela! Or Oprah Winfrey! Or Martin Luther King, Jr.!

(And I don't mean I felt black, all you race - baiters! You can see I'm joking around, giddy with humor this fine Sunday morning, can you not?)

I would love it if you took a look for yourselves. This really perked me up.

it also brings me to another political crisis here in Massachusetts I feel passionate about avoiding.

Read it.

The GTL loves you, America.

The following appears as my response to the comment stream generated by my letter to the editor of the Lowell Sun on Friday, September 26, 2008. I've cleaned it up a little, removed a typo or two):

Now this is what I like to see -- my letter to the editor sparked some heated, I would argue turgid - mud-slinging, and now, a week or so later, people in my comment stream are behaving like decent human beings to one another.

I feel so proud!

Now, please hear me on my new concern:

Please vote NO on Question 1, the push to eliminate the Massachusetts personal income tax. It would decrease state revenue by 40% over two years.

"You never miss your water 'till your well runs dry."

There is an article in today's Sun about the dire need for child protection social workers -- DSS has changed its name to DCF, by the way -- as cases have skyrocketed and social workers cannot keep up unless they inject their own time and resources, nights, weekends, to cover the explosion, which they do. It soon will not be enough to meet demand.

Sports figures and hotel heiresses are not heroes. Social workers are. Find a couple and buy them dinner.

Here in our beloved Lowell, DCF social workers' caseloads are exploding and are approaching the point of being unmanageable. Thankfully, there is a rescue plan to inject 5 million dollars into the DCF budget.

However, due to the sudden economic crisis, Governor Patrick may have to scuttle this rescue of the most sacred, most important element of any society or government, the protection of children from rape, murder, physical abuse and torture.

Imagine if we lost 40% of the revenue which is already not enough to cover basic services across the state.

I am donating my time to making calls and canvassing against this reckless proposal, which, by the way is supported by neither the Republican nor Democratic state party. It originated with Carla Howell, our loopy libertarian ideologue. Did you vote for her? Well, don't now.

I will end with a list of services our taxes pay for, but before I do remember this: If this turd of a proposal passes, the pain will be immediate and will hit you, your family, and all of us (well, not you New Hampshire-ites).

More Massachusetts children will be beaten, raped, and murdered, or at the very least, neglected. Schools and firehouses will close. Gangs will proliferate, even in comfy suburbia. Police budgets will go down.

It will be immediately apparent that Question 1 was a fool's errand based on hostility to taxes, even as they directly benefit and protect our communities.

Remember this: if Question 1 passes, it will hurt. BAD. And no politician, and I mean NONE, will ever be willing to stand up and say, "it was a bad idea, let's re-introduce a 5% income tax." Such a move would be political suicide and would never win.

Some things your tax dollars do which will be reduced by 40% :

Pothole repair
Keeping schools open
Snow removal
Highway safety
Police protection
Streetlights (some towns are turning theirs off even now)
Student/teacher ratios in schools
Special education services
Services for the mentally ill
Day care for the working poor
Gang reduction initiatives
Firefighting (has your town closed any firehouses? Mine has - imagine 40% more closures)
Services for the blind
Ambulance service
Flood control
Monitoring elections
Health insurance for the poor and elderly

I could go on and on but it's Sunday and I've got things to do.

Once again, this comment stream does my heart so much good, as I sit in my chilly house, my heart strings are warm and plucked.

Stand with me and your neighbors. Vote NO on Question 1.

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