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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stop bitchin'

Glad to see Jon Keller is back up on his soapbox, telling Deval Patrick to rush right out and make televised public service announcements to encourage civility and respect in today's rough streets.

I thought Keller believes in limited government -- not to mention the fact that just about a week ago he lamented that Patrick is being unfairly asked to deal with problems beyond his job description.

Keller is right there is a problem in our communities if a culture of "stop snitchin' overwhelms the desire for crime-free, violence-free neighborhoods. The "culture in crisis" is real -- fueled by a political environment that promotes greed and hatred over every other value we should hold dear.

There is clearly no harm in Patrick producing a television spot -- and proclaiming from the pulpits -- that the code of silence that engulfs many communities is wrong. That would be a far better message than the one emanating from many pulpits today.

The question is: who will see it and how effective a message will it be? I doubt TV -- or even radio -- is a highly effective medium for reaching those who need to hear the message. Keller's messenger -- Suffolk DA Dan Conley -- would also be a lot more effective if he stopped playing political games.

And Patrick clearly has a host of problems on his plate -- like adjusting to the reality that he can't simply snap his fingers and expect things to happen. This administration has taken a long time to get up to speed -- but the fault must clearly be shared.

I would agree with him that the Legislature has been moving at a very leisurely pace -- even if the governor's office has been slow to file actual legislation to go with his vision.

(And while I was recently spun about the vision and accomplishments of the House to date, allow me to say I'm flattered that I matter, but I need more convincing!)

Sadly it appears the Legislature has made a habit of dawdling through the first year of the session, only to push things out by the time things wrap up 1 1/2 years later. Chapter 58, the health care reform law, is a prime example.

So here's the challenge to both sides. Stop bitchin' and get to work. The Patrick proposals spelled out in vision need a legislative framework -- and lawmakers need to step up the pace of their activity. It won't be acceptable to delay an up or down vote on casino gambling to 2009.

There are a lot of proposals on the table that could actually make a difference for this culture in crisis, a crisis being fueled by helplessness and despair that includes the inability and apparent unwillingness of leaders at the state and federal level to find any common ground to resolve the problems we face.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keller's smug self-righteousness really knows no bounds. If anyone knows about civility, it's him. According to david at BMG, here's a choice quote from pages 55-56 of his new book,

"The women with the multiple out-of-wedlock offspring pleading poverty when they clearly had never missed a high-calorie meal. The lone man in the group, apparently able-bodied, who told a reporter he couldn't get a job 'because I'm too busy running around getting welfare forms and attending rallies for the homeless.' These were stereotypical gimme girls and gimme guys...."

And let's not forget when he referred to then-candidate Patrick as "quota king" in print, if everyone aspired to be more like him and to remake our political and social climate in his image, what a wonderful world this would be.

October 20, 2007 10:05 PM  

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